Quarantine Diary: Part 5 – The End?

Well, here we are… two months later, today marks day 57 in our “state of alarm” / stay at home order / official quarantine, etc. here in Barcelona, Spain. I don’t know about you, but I certainly never thought it would actually last this long. I remember back to early-mid March meeting with my friend Charlotte here at one of our favorite coffee shops, talking about how maybe the Spanish version of the lockdown would go for two-three weeks max… never 2 months like in China. Little did we know! The other night I was talking to Charlotte again and we discussed how, funnily enough, this season (now almost in hindsight) has seemed to fly by like most others. Even in quarantine, the “the days are long but the years are short” saying holds.

Grocery store chic

So, what’s new? It’s been a minute since my last post in this diary series, because honestly I had tired of the subject matter. Bored in the house and I’m in the house bored wasn’t giving me much in terms of writing fodder. That being said, I do have very exciting news that I have started my new job (!!!!!!): Employer Branding at PepsiCo Europe. I am thrilled to be on this team, to have started from home a few weeks ago and to be able to start adding value to this organization (which has over 260K employees worldwide). Aside from going to the headquarters to get my laptop in person and see the offices, my onboarding has been wholly online and via virtual meetings. I’m incredibly grateful for the new opportunity and excited for this new chapter!

I think we can see light at the end of this pandemic tunnel. Spain has begun its “de-escalation process” since April 27th, when kids in Spain started to be allowed to go out one hour per day with one parent in a 1km radius of their home. They can’t go to parks, beaches, stores, etc., but out in fresh air was a huge step up from prior conditions! (below is an infographic showing the de-escalation process here).

Then as of May 2nd, huge progress for adults – we started being able to go out for one hour a day for individual exercise during specified time periods (6-10am or 8-11pm). Damian and I went out for our first run in two months the evening of Saturday, May 2nd and it was glorious. We ran from our house to the beach and Port Forum, then home and I could not stop smiling. I hadn’t seen the beach in months and I live less than an 8 min walk from it!

As of May 4th, establishments that do business with appointments made in advance could start re-opening (basically non-emergency medical clinics of all sorts, as well as hair and beauty salons). As of this coming Monday, May 11th supposedly places of business could re-open if they follow strict safety measures, though I’ve already seen lots of places (like restaurants, ice cream shops and cafés re-opening offering only takeaway orders).

Nowadays, everyone who can is still working from home, kids can go out for a bit during the day with one parent, and adults can get outside for individual exercise. And recently they did remove the tape blocking off the beaches in our area, so now people can walk on the sand and take a dip or swim, though of course loitering/relaxing/ sun-bathing is still prohibited. Otherwise everything is still closed (gyms, malls, movie theaters, bars, etc). We’re still not sure if Barcelona metropolitan area will be able to follow the plans for de-escalation of the stay at home order due to the numbers of infection and deaths not decreasing consistently enough, but we’ll see.

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Maybe after May 25th all bars and restaurants will be able to re-open, though they can only fill their outdoor seating areas to up to 30% occupancy (a rule to which many restaurants have protested because that means they’ll be re-opening to guaranteed losses financially). As of June 8th, malls and shopping centers hopefully can open, but only to 50% max occupancy, and beaches will re-open. The final stage of our “new normal” is set to start June 25th, which includes finally being able to travel to different provinces (or regions) of Spain, provided everyone continues social distancing. That is definitely light at the end of this tunnel… but what concerns me is that we still don’t know any idea of when there will be a green light for international travel. Since my March trip to the States got cancelled unexpectedly, I had since been hoping to at least be able to visit in July/August, but now that’s still looking quite risky/unsure.

Like so many things in life though, I have no control over the above concern so I’m trying not to worry about it. One day (hopefully soon) we will be able to travel internationally again and that will be wonderful! As of late I have been reading (or rather listening on Audible) great books that I thought I’d highlight here. First I listened to Rebecca Serle’s In Five Years – quick, effortless read that makes for a great early summer page turner. The characters felt relatable and the age old story of female friendship was heartwarming and comforting to me.

Now, I’m currently listening to Laurie Frankel’s This is how it always is – so far, very good. The witty, touching story of a family and their transgender son, I’m about half-way through and loving it. Highly recommend!

In closing, a bit of Spanish humor on this whole situation… IYKYK!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to comment, like or share with your online community. Until next time!

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