Mirela, one of those special people I had written about, gave me a very good idea. “You have to write during these times, you have to write a lot”, she said – about what we are going through, how our lives change, about the wonderful heroes nearby, about what we learn and how we change during coronavirus pandemic, both as societies and individuals. After everything will be ok, these will remain and won’t let us forget – and she was so right! So, starting from this week, you will also find here such stories – of course I will keep on writing stories about special people and special places, but you will also find these experiences – people with different professions, living in different countries, sharing their personal experiences, from the measures taken by local authorities to the way their lives have changed, the lessons, new perspectives, new ways of understanding certain things.
I am one of those who didn’t take all this story seriously, at its beginnings –and when I say this I mean never have thought it would turn into a world pandemic. China seemed far away – that psychological stuff, it’s very sad, but it’s not something that directly affects me – and to be really honest, with ourselves first and then with the others, how many of us did not think this way?
Even after first few cases confirmed in Norway, where we are currently living, we were still talking about our spring holiday – convinced that we will be going, of course. In Romania, my native country, things were approximately the same – and this is my personal feeling now, that at the beginning not only us but also many national authorities did not take this as seriously as it was.
Of course things quickly changed. We canceled our reservations for spring holiday before the measures to limit travel have been taken. Understood what’s going on before the official announcements – yet, when the measures taken to limit pandemic had been announced it was a shock! I remembered going to the supermarket in the neighborhood, felt a stinging chlorine smell, saw the seller using disinfectants for the products strip, wearing surgical gloves. And people keeping distance – there were only few, anyway – but keeping distance, turning their heads – in a happy country, where people usually smile. The streets were empty, the town, the same. My friend left from a visit – back then – and told me let me hug you, who knows when we will see each other again.
Workshops, restaurants, all closed. At each pharmacy, big announcements – we don’t have disinfectants anymore, no surgical masks. We found surgical gloves – and use them when going to the supermarket, yes, also so so strange. We found some hand disinfectants few days later – but this weekend, when we wanted to buy for our elderly neighbors, also, could take only 2 small, that’s all – last time, limit was 5.
I’ve been working from home for many, many years – did this before moving to Norway, also – so this was not a problem for me. My husband keeps on going to work, but that’s all we do – he is going to work, we go to the supermarket or to the pharmacy – that’s all. Not going for our long walks, although we miss them – but you can read a book in your garden and it’s fresh air and it’s more than ok. Our grandparents passed through war, we are passing through this on the couch, in front of laptop and TV, having everything that’s necessary – so let’s be serious, this #stayhome is not something cruel, at all.
The fear? Of course it’s there – you never know where you can take the virus from, or how your body could react. Our family is 2.500 kilometers away, our best friends, also. We are thinking about them all the time – and pray for us all, to be ok.
The lessons? Well, here is another story – and it’s an exercise I think we should all do with ourselves, sincerely. I wasn’t a fan of going shopping – I think there’s no bigger waste of time – but now more than ever I realized that we need so little to be ok. That we don’t need expensive – but we need heart, arms around us, people who are thinking of us, whom we can rely on, that it’s so good to get a message– I’m thinking of you, stay safe. Then good books, long talks we never had time for “before”. We realize how precious a sunshine is – and enjoy it. Actually, we have time for a lot of small things and it’s a good time to realize that true happiness is there, nowhere else – in small joys, small things done with love, for and with the people you love.
And all those people working in the first line, health system mainly, but all others, gave me another extremely valuable lesson – to stay there knowing that something could happen to you, without knowing if you will come back to your beloved, but still being there with all your knowledge and all your heart, that’s the supreme form of altruism and the strongest proof that you must follow your mission.
Society’s reaction is another wonderful lesson – I have rarely seen such a wonderful, emotional solidarity, so many people offering their help, doing things for others although there are risks – or despite this.
I talked to a very good friend on the phone for three hours this evening and talked a lot about this, of course. And I realized something, while talking – that all this period, with so so many people unfortunately dying, could actually teach us to really live, not only to be alive. It can give us all a restart, teach us what really matters, what deserves to be valued. Teach us to be together again. To love.
#coronastories are opened for people of all ages, from different professions and different countries. If you want to talk about the way you feel and understand these times, please contact me. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can also talk on Whatsapp – +47 455 17 634 or on Skype – Ramona Sarac.
PS: I have intentionally chosen a picture with me smiling for this article – because I truly think we should never lose our faith this period, never give up optimism and always trust that it will be ok. And it will!