Long time no see… or how does the saying go? Although, I am sure some of you have never even seen me to begin with. The last (and first) time I wrote to you was seemingly centuries ago, because so much has happened. This tends to be the case when you are living in a foreign country and every new pasta dish or a weird body language gesture is like discovering a completely different world. In many ways I feel like a grown-up child! And if you are wondering… YES, I LOVE IT!
The time really does move slower and faster at the same time, because if someone asks me: ,,How long have you been here?“ I am tempted to answer 2,5 months and 10 years at once. In fact it has been almost 7 months now. So neither of these automatic responses would be true…
The last time I talked a lot about the people (yes, they are still amazing!), the food (yes, I have gained weight!), the weather (yes, it is a never-ending summer!) and the language (yes, there are still times when I am saying ,,Ho capito!“ although it was actually a question about Estonian flag colours…). So to not get repetitive, I would touch another topic which is surely very refreshing and new and rhymes with words like Verona, Barcelona, Arizona… All the places most of us cannot travel to right now, because of dingdingding we have a winner – CORONA!
To give you a little insight of what is happening in Italy (at least in my region Marche) I will explain the situation. For a week now Italy has been quarantined. This means that you are still allowed to go to the grocery store and to the pharmacy, but you have to follow hygiene rules with the utmost accuracy, you cannot travel, cough (God forbid!), maintain eye contact with a stranger or buy toilet paper without feeling guilty (if you know, you know). I am not going to lie… the first few days were difficult, because you feel like being imprisoned in a cage of confusion. A place where the only thing certain about the ,,tomorrows“ is that they are coming.
For some of you the next thing might sound weird, misplaced or even offensive, but I am going to say it anyway (click away now if you are not ready to hear strange opinions!). I am enjoying my time in quarantine with all my heart and soul! Before anyone starts making rash judgements I would like to clear the air (as the corona has done with parts of China and northern Italy, so there you go! Something positive already!). Of course I understand that this is not a situation we should take lightly or carelessly, but at the same time I think I am very blessed of being a volunteer in the Croce Rossa Marotta right now.
First of all we do live in THE SAME BUILDING of Red Cross Local Committee, with ambulance parking around it. What we do have is an amazing tutor, funny colleagues, huge terrace, a garden, a quiet city and alarming amounts of free ITALIAN food (spoiler alert: this is not usual, but is an extension of the virus situation in Italy). Second of all, even though we cannot move as freely as we would like, the weather is absolutely gorgeous! Your only company is the fresh air, turquoise blue sea in the background and blooming cherrie trees which make the scenery almost breathtaking.
As the activities of us volunteers are quite reduced, and mostly online, at the moment you do have more free time to use. Of course it is everyone’s own decision how to spend it, but I would say that try not to waste it completely. I have been keeping myself active by studying and practicing Italian, reading, being outdoors as much as possible (even if in my house’s spaces like garden and terrace), doing sports and of course eating. I think it is hard to find another country that thinks, speaks and spends that much time on food in general. Not that I am complaining obviously, but I think my ,,summer physique“ was lost on the second week after I arrived here.
So what I want to say in general, is that the situation is exactly as terrible or as amazing as we make it to be. There are many ways to phrase it, but I love how Barry Neil Kaufman has put it into words: ,,The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.“ Whether you found this piece of writing useful or not you have made it to the end! The only thing left to say is a calm and never-before-said advice: ,,WASH YOUR HANDS AND PLEASE STOP BUYING TOILET PAPER FOR THE WHOLE COUNTRY!“ We will make it to the other side sooner or later and until then I wish you lots of health, love, patience and laughter! Ci vediamo ragazzi!
PS: All of the pictures have been taken while in the quarantine… 😀