07 April 2020

Alone Together: Coronavirus Around the World (Catalonia, Spain)

Intro Copy

The world has never been so united, even if that uniting force is isolation. This post is the first in a series created by CultureGrams editors that features first-hand accounts of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on individuals in different countries.  Today's installment is written by Neus, a woman who lives in a small town called La Garriga, outside of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain.  In Catalonia we have officially been confined since Friday, March 13th. In our home we are four adults and one dog confined. It took us a week to come up with a protocol that would make us feel as safe as possible. It includes a lot of cleaning and disinfecting and minimum physical contact with the outside world. Everything that comes from the outside is thoroughly washed, everything. Even though we are allowed to walk our dog, we decided to take her out only once a day, leashed at all times and avoiding contact with other dogs and people. We wash her paws and tail after every walk. We try to keep her busy in the house at other times and we are so grateful that she is so peaceful and sleeps so much. Also, to avoid going out to the stores, we decided to buy our food from local businesses that make home deliveries and an online supermarket. So far this is working out and we enjoy very healthy and satisfying meals. We have discovered a few interesting local businesses that we didn’t know previously. We continue as much as we can with our jobs from home, although one family member has seen most of her business stop because of the confinement. We all have different exercise routines that we do at home and try to stay healthy by also spend a little time every day on the patio or the terrace in the sun. We all have very busy days and are happy to be together, although we listen to the news with a mix of sorrow and hope. All in all, we are fine. A bit anxious but keeping a positive mindset. We hope that this is over soon and that we can go back to our lives and projects. As far as a larger community perspective goes, there are shared fears and annoyances. People are afraid of this unknown, silent and invisible threat. For some, home confinement is very annoying, as many people live in small apartments. Everyone has someone to miss these days, and we all wonder how long we will have to be confined and whether life will be different forever. Many people are losing their jobs and wondering when they will get them back. People wonder why there isn't an international body to coordinate a global emergency response. What is the role of the WHO? And the EU? But on a positive note, people are responding very well, keeping confined at home and following the government's recommendations. They are grateful to medical workers, who are now considered heroes. Thousands of grassroots initiatives have arisen to fulfill medical needs at hospitals and homes for the elderly. These include making masks and protective gear. Lots of volunteers are helping at medical facilities. Finally, a lot of people are taking home confinement as an opportunity to learn new skills. There are many online options. Cooking, yoga, gymnastics, board games, reading, and music are some of the activities people are enjoying. Also, parents are enjoying quality time with their children. Homeschooling and online classes are common.