Each evening, at 8 o’clock the sirens of the ships in the port of Marseille are ringing, and people stay at their windows and balconies and applaud – it’s a sign of respect, solidarity and encouragement for all those fighting these days in the first line –doctors, nurses, staff in the healthcare system. Ada Teodorescu, resident in Marseille for 6 years, talks about the life during coronavirus pandemic in the second biggest city of France, about how we change and what we should learn these days.
Ada (37 years old) lives in France for six years already, with her family, her husband and two boys. Former educator at a kindergarten in Romania, her native country, Ada was working at a flower shop when pandemic began. She loved her job and her entire life, which was very active – with sports and many outdoor activities with her family.
Her husband works in the construction field, and keeps on doing his job – he was lucky to start working on an apartment exactly in their residence, when everything began. He is filling out a statement, every day – even if he is working nearby. Ada receives unemployment assistance money, and the authorities also promised help for the rent money, since april.
A completely different life
In a very short period, Ada’s life changed completely. She loved her job, the flowers, loved doing sports, had a very active life – so to suddenly stay all day in an apartment is not quite easy. But they adapt – I think this is what we are all doing, learning to live our lives differently, in so many ways.
First days of quarantine in France people emptied the shelves in the supermarkets – you couldn’t find macaroni, flour, oil. “Our neighbours have spent even 1.000 euro on food, a lot of money”, Ada says. They didn’t – “we were told on TV that we will have everything we need in supermarkets and they were right – in our shops nearby we found everything we needed”, Ada says.
Schools have been closed, children are doing online classes and homeworks. In the courtyard of the residence, Ada and her boys do some sport together, every day. They are allowed to leave the residence only for necessary shopping, going to pharmacy or to the doctor, with a statement completed. You are not allowed to go very far – only to the supermarkets in your area, 2-3 kilometers around your residence. Only supermarkets, pharmacies and tobacco shops are opened. In the supermarkets maximum 10 persons are allowed, must be kept at least one meter between them, you enter one door and get out on another. The sellers are surrounded by a protective foil. Elderly people are not allowed to get out – their neighbours do shopping for them. “Disinfectant gel and masks can not be found ever since the crisis began”, Ada says.
If you don’t follow the restrictions, you get a fine – which is bigger if you are caught many times a day.
The difference between life “before” and “now” is huge – in a city of almost 1 million inhabitants. “You rarely see a car passing by”, Ada says, remembering the image of the road full of cars, seen from her window “before”.
But good things happen, also – spending more time together is one of them. Another is the lesson we learn now – if we want to, of course, not everyone does this. “I was a very joyful person, I loved my life, going to the flower shop, to the gym, people were asking me why I was joyful all the time and I answered – because I am healthy. I lost my father when I was 17, we are healthy and we appreciate this. We learn to appreciate everything we have, not to complain anymore, to help each other and to value the life because it’s too short, you never know when it ends.
After all this passes by, I think we should keep on helping each other, respect each other, not to be wicked, to be patient and to take care of what we have. It’s a life lesson. I hope people will learn to buy only as much as they need, not to buy a lot of food and throw away half of it while others don’t have what to eat”, Ada says.
Of course we will keep some of our fears, also, after everything comes back to normal – at least for a while. “I think that, for a while, I will be afraid to get out, when someone coughs you are looking at him, it’s like after a car accident, we will be afraid to get out of the country, to go on holiday on crowded places. I think this trauma will stay for some time – because it is a trauma”, Ada thinks.
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#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.