It's hard to believe what has happened in these last weeks, how things have changed - and also how we have adapted. This is the biggest challenge we are facing since WWII and we are sitting it out, literally and globally, in our homes. It's surreal. It's without precedents, it's unbelievable. But it is our new reality, our new life.
Some of you are quarantining all alone, others with your partners or families, some in lay-off, some of you are taking care of your children or managing work from home, many of you are struggling to survive over the next few months, some already lost their jobs, some are terrified because of the disease and its consequences, are afraid to get infected. Some of us know people who have had it, others have had it or have even lost someone due to Covid-19. One thing we all have in common: we want things to go back to normal again. And while we say these words we inevitably wonder if things will ever be normal again... what will change and what have we learned from all of this?
The meaning of the word Solidarity has grown, so it seems. We ask, we care, we connect. Truly. The feeling that we are all in the same boat, struggling against a common enemy, seems to have connected us in a way we could have not imagined. So many people were talking ill against social media and how it cuts off "real" relationships. Me included. Now, in our current situation, it is our main communication channel, our way to connect. On the other side, I've noticed how although this is a global issue, each country has to decide for itself, and the lack of coherence between the measures adopted by the different countries is, to say the least, concerning. On a smaller scale, even in a small country like Portugal, you notice how different regions try to protect themselves. Here, for example, the Algarve which is a smaller tourist region where many families have their holiday houses, the authorities tried to hinder those families to quarantine in their holiday houses cause they were afraid they'd bring more cases to that region. Germany is divided by states, similar to the US and each State adopted different regulations. Some states are more infected, others less, some more have stricter regulations, others softer regulations.
The concept of hygiene has changed. Well, not really changed, we were already aware that masks prevent spreading and that alcohol kills germs, and in Asia, it was already normal for people to use masks, but for most of the western countries, this is a big change. Portuguese normally greet each other with two kisses, one on each cheek. Germans handshake. Will we easily go back to these rituals or will we start with the elbow greetings, or will we just stand in an appropriate distance from each other and it will take some time until we're prepared to touch and kiss random communication partners in our daily lives? And what about the masks? Will they be part of our new wardrobe? Shall we include them, reserve them some extra space, just by the socks and underwear, one in each color, matching the outfit? Is it just me or do you also feel like looking at "old" footages of packed stadiums with 100.000 people a bit outlandish, everyone so close to each other, so worry-free, not waisting one single thought about contamination, about germs or spreading diseases. It already feels like it was in another lifetime. Do you also get this feeling? When will we be able to live like that again, so inhibitedly?
The online experience will change. Who is now enrolling in online sports classes probably knows this. New concepts will arise in the digital reality. I am not saying that normal gym classes will cease to exist, no way, I love going to a good old-school presential yoga class. But the possibility of enrolling in a chair dance class directly from Berlin or in a Vinyasa Yoga Class from New York - without leaving your apartment - is simply incredible. Everything online will strive. We will probably be able to live our lives more and more digital. And I cannot help but remembering the movie Surrogates, where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots. I am a country girl, nature is my grounding energy, so this is definetly not my idea of the perfect vision of the future, but I somehow get the feeling this is where we are heading, eventually.
These are just some thoughts that I've been having. We're all living one day at a time. A few days ago, the Portuguese government declared that the State of Emergency will be prolonged for another 2 weeks - until the 2nd of May 2020. Schools will not reopen this year. I am at home with three kids, so we are having online classes until the end of this school year and then return (hopefully) in September 2020. And nevertheless, after the even stricter Easter Lockdown, there are already some signs of a softer lockdown. According to statistics, the isolations in Portugal decreased a bit these last days, people are slowly lurking outside again. Also in other European countries, the governments are debating how to gradually start the economy again, how to bring life back into life.
I can't wait.
With love from Lisbon,