Today our province (Cadiz), began baby steps out of quarantine.
We’re entering Phase 1 (soft opening) after one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe.
Not all of Spain has graduated to this phase. Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, and Granada are still in Phase 0. Where they will remain for an additional two weeks (possibly longer). The country is still in a State of Emergency.
Southern Spain (Andalusia) has been somewhat of an anomaly through all this. Cases have remained considerably low compared to more densely populated regions. Hence, the reason they’ve started lifting some of the stricter measures.
I wrote some posts during the last 8 weeks – I hope you found them useful.
- Surviving Quarantine
- SOBREVIVIR A LA CUARENTENA
- Surviving Quarantine – Part 2
- Surviving Quarantine – Part 3
- Surviving Quarantine – Part 4
But I’ve said little about our day-to-day life and our journey.
On the first of March we returned from a ski break in Switzerland. We go to a small unheard of part of the country – near to the Italian border.
Italy was at the beginning of the Corona crisis. Small towns in the northern parts of the country were entering lockdowns. Whole villages were literally sealed off from the rest of the country.
Shit was starting to get real and very close to home. Our school was sending notices about new protocols i.e. morning temperature checks, etc. I remember wondering if they might close, and considered hiding out in Switzerland – there were only 7 reported cases and the snow was really good. It was super tempting.
Instead, I travelled with the boys from Geneva to Malaga, and my husband flew to Amsterdam to kick off a 14 day travel schedule.
We took some extra precautions in the way of hand sanitising. Once onboard, I wiped down our trays and seat area. Something I often do anyway. Nothing was unusual about the flight, or our arrival to Malaga. No one in masks, etc.
That week, I started to dooms day prep a bit. Nothing crazy, just stocking up on dry goods: rice, pasta, etc. Living in a hurricane belt for ten years taught me a thing or two. Only this time the impending hurricane was Covid-19. The writing was on the wall:
Get Ready to Hunker Down.
Hand sanitizer was already sold out but everything else (even toilet paper) was readily available.
The following week – cases were on the rise all over Europe. News from Italy was grim as their numbers spiralled out of control. I’d already stopped going to the gym but I now pulled the kids out of gym based activities.
When Madrid closed their schools on March 10th after a drastic jump in cases; I decided to pull the boys.
By the end of the week – our school also announced their closure and a shift to online learning.
Spain declared a state of emergency to begin on March 15th.
Differing protocols were updated by the hour. Borders were closing rapidly; flights were being turned around mid air. Our friends arrived from Canada and basically turned around and headed back.
On the 14th of March, my husband flew in from London. He seemed fine. Bit tired from his travels but well enough. I even took his temperature as that was our new normal – 36.4 (all good).
He took a long walk that evening, had dinner, and went to bed – saying he was tired from travelling. Nothing out of the ordinary. When I joined him a few hours later – he was on fire with a temperature of 39 Celsius.
I promptly moved to the couch, and thus began his 14 days of self isolation.
Living with Covid
The next day he still had a high temperature, ¨bad¨ headache, and was really sleepy.
He slept the better part of 24 hours, ate very little, and took paracetamol to control his fever.
We contacted the Spanish Covid Line and were told:
To keep an eye on him. But he wouldn’t be tested for Covid-19 without respiratory symptoms.
The following day his fever broke but the headache and malaise lingered. After three days he was out of bed and pretty much symptom free.
Even in the absence of respiratory symptoms – we had to assume it was Covid-19 and continue his self isolation. The rest of the house also had to quarantine. Which meant – no grocery shopping for at least 14 days.
Even though Housekeepers aren’t permitted through lockdown – our lady could still do our weekly shopping. Very lucky.
And thus began the next two months.
Rob stayed to himself for the first 14 days – sleeping in his own room, and using one toilet. He had his own chair in the living room well away from the rest of us. He moved through the house but didn’t touch anything or anyone. It was weird for all of us. Especially since he now seemed quite well.
About a week after he’d recovered. He told me:
He couldn’t taste anything.
We learned a few weeks later – loss of taste is a telltale sign of the Corona Virus.
The rest of us never developed symptoms; his isolation ended.
After being out of the stores for two weeks – we decided to let our housekeeper continue with our shopping. Figuring the less people out – the better.
I still haven’t been to the store, or the pharmacy. We haven’t driven our cars.
Our kids didn’t leave the yard for nearly 50 days. My eleven year proudly boasts he was:
47 Days Shoe Free
We took turns walking the dog – twice a day. Until last week – only one adult could walk at a time.
The streets were always eerily empty.
On Easter Sunday – I went for my allotted dog walk and never passed a soul. Not even the Guardia who often patrol the streets. It was creepy AF, and felt a little too close to a dystopian world.
We try really hard to stay on a routine. Some days we do well and others not so much.
The kids online classes are a lifesaver and make the weeks bearable. Is it ideal? Hell no. But it’s as good as it can be.
On top of our regular daily schlepp. We’ve done a lot of jigsaw puzzles, and loads of workouts in the garden.
Don’t laugh. But my husband and I recently took up bridge. We’ve been playing and doing our lessons online. It’s been a great way to melt away the hours and keep connected with friends.
Kids have been doing online Spanish classes. In short – we stay busy.
The time passes. We are well and we are grateful.
Last week we were able to get an antibody test. The local Home Doctor Service came to our house and drew blood (at our request).
The results came back the next day:
- My husband tested positive
- I tested negative
Good to have confirmation. My husband likely has immunity. How much and for how long is still unknown.
So my friends – that’s our Covid story. For those tiring of quarantine – hang in there. It works. For now, Spain has managed to lower the curve. I really hope it lasts – it might not.
The lowered curve has allowed front line workers to catch their breath while Governments order PPE and testing kits. Without mass testing – the scale of the pandemic will continue to be grossly underreported and hard to fight.
We aren’t going to eradicate this thing quickly, but countries need this time to figure a few things out. We will get through this one way or the other. The world is at least united on that front.
I know it’s hard to plan for the future but we’re still trying. We’ve booked tickets to Canada for the end of June. Knowing we’ll have to isolate for 14 days when we get there. That’s okay – we’re getting good at it.
I hope the kids will be back in a classroom by September. There are certainly no guarantees.
I’m cautiously optimistic about my Girl’s Trip in 2021. Again no guarantees. But I will plan anyway and hope for the best.
It’s important to keep looking ahead.
Plans that were cancelled, should be adapted, and rescheduled.
There are many lessons to be pulled from this fiasco. Hopefully we emerge from this wiser, kinder, and happier than before.
For now – keep well, be smart.
This too shall pass.