No one, not one person (I imagine) could have predicted we’d end up where we are now. Only three months from the end of our contracts here and many people are packing their suitcases and heading home.
The Coronavirus hit Spain not too long ago, with several minor cases popping up here and there. Months later and we are in a rapidly progressing pandemic. As of today, the Spanish government has declared the country in a State of Emergency.
The hustle and bustle of people out and about in bars and restaurants just a week ago has come to a grinding halt. Groceries are empty of necessities such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Some have shut down for several days to restock food. The bars, restaurants, stores, parks, and schools have been ordered to shut down. A walk down my street in Malasaña is reminiscent of a ghost town.
Europe has reached a sad state, one in which few people are seen on the street, and those that have masks and gloves to remind us all of the pandemic we’re a part of.
I chose to stay and to ride this craziness out. I didn’t believe my situation back in the United States would be any better, in fact, it may even be worse. On a daily basis, I still enjoy my morning run, my evening walk, my thoughtfully cooked dinners and movie nights alone or with friends. Little has changed apart from the absence of work (which is now done remotely from my bedroom) and the panic that seems to be ever-present in social media, news, and group chats.
While this is weird, wild and unexpected in so many ways, I have found that a ‘come what may’ attitude is the only way to approach it. Sure, travel is no longer an option, a night out at a club or a meet up with friends for a drink at a bar is no longer possible, but there are benefits to being here amid this crisis.
Take advantage of the time to read, to be outside (if you dare), to take a long walk, to talk to friends you haven’t spoken to in a long time due to dramatic time changes, to bake, to cook, to watch a new Netflix show, to draw, to paint, to write…
The Coronavirus may have changed the way we live our lives, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s made them drastically worse.
At the end of all of this, all I can say is stay safe, care for others, don’t be selfish, and focus on the light at the end of this dimly lit tunnel.