Milena, one of the members of the MH editorial team, shares her experience in the daily fight against what is now becoming our worst nightmare: the Coronavirus pandemic. She is Italian, a European citizen, and her story reflects what all of us are experiencing in this difficult moment. As she says, “we are all together in this.”
The whole of Italy has been on lockdown since the 9th of March, due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. At first we did not actually realise the importance of what the government was asking of us: stay at home, they said. But we kept going shopping, some people went out with friends in the evening, groups of young people gathered in parks to enjoy the first warm spring days. But the number of infected people rose, the number of deaths started to scare us, and stories from our intensive care units made us realise something very serious was happening.
By Milena Parotti / 21.03.2020
“Stay at home” quickly became the only thing that mattered, the answer to every question. It is scary, it is annoying, and it is frustrating – we had plans, like everyone else. I had my whole 2020 lined up: exams, an internship abroad, thesis, graduation. All at once, everything shattered. I felt powerless, I kept thinking “this is not fair”. It took me one or two days to convince myself that I had to put these plans on hold, for now I just had to give up and begin a new life: lockdown life.
Anger and frustration were soon replaced by hope. I am one of the lucky ones; doctors and nurses are working non-stop, risking their own health to save other people’s lives. They are the real heroes of the moment. I am neither the owner of a shop that had to close, nor a mom who has to take care of children at home while still working. I do not have elderly grandparents whose lives are at risk. All I have to do is stay home, it is not so bad after all!
The media and social media are bombarding us with numbers and figures, and despite my mind being constantly on this topic every hour of every day, I have managed to settle into life at home.
Technology is my best friend; I would not survive without the internet, I have to admit. Not only can I keep studying, preparing for exams, and writing my thesis, but there are tons of other things to do with a smartphone or a computer! We all know how easy it is to spend time watching Netflix, but that is not all. You have all the podcasts, the webinars, the MOOCs, the virtual museums, the e-books… I am also using this time to tackle the boring activities from which I always procrastinate, such as cleaning and categorizing my files and my inbox. And of course, I have worked on Meeting Halfway more than usual!
Being at home does not mean just spending all day long on technology, though. I have tidied my house, I am finally reading all the books that I always buy and never read, I am playing with my dog more (and luckily because of him I have an excuse to have a short walk everyday), and I have rediscovered the joy of playing cards with my family.
It is hard to stay positive, to focus on hope, to wait endlessly for better times. It is something you never get used to, especially when you really miss someone you cannot see, or when you cannot make any plans for your future. But staying home is the only way we can stop this invisible enemy, so I really want to send a message to all our readers in Europe: stay home, do not gather with friends, even if your government still allows you to do it! Wash your hands, do not touch your face, keep your distance from other people.
We are all together in this, we will overcome it.