Two weeks ago, Italy began lifting its strict lockdown. Before we were allowed outside, I had begun thinking about life after quarantine. I realized through our two-month lockdown what the most important things in my life are. So, would my life after quarantine allow me to enjoy those things again and if so, how long would it take? I was afraid life would feel empty if we weren’t allowed to return to normal.
This is what has happened, what I have learned and what I am still looking forward to.
Lockdown for me was not a difficult thing. Not that I love being inside-I don’t-but in perspective to what other people were facing, and losing my life was easy. J and I were able to move to our new apartment in Lucca right before the lockdown (with impending restrictions our move had to be donw by bicycle!) providing a fantastic distraction for a few weeks as we settled into our new home. We have a terrace so we were able to enjoy the outdoors even if we weren’t able to move around outside. Our new apartment is beautiful and everything we dreamt our new home in Lucca, Italy would be.
But things were missing. It felt empty without the family that was supposed to be visiting during the two months we were in lockdown, and without the laughter and companionship of our amazing friends. After weeks of not being able to pinpoint exactly what was bothering me, I began to understand that at the core of who I am there is an adventurer. All of you who follow my blog know by now I love to explore, to experience new places and cultures and find new adventures. This was obviously impossible as I wasn’t even allowed to take a walk through our town. But I am a patient person and I know Italy was doing what was necessary to keep us all safe.
So, what was the root of the root of the problem? It was the inability to plan, to dream and to look forward to what would be coming next.
Then our lockdown was eased. My bicycle was immediately put to use. J and I began riding along the river, exploring local nurseries and taking rides through small towns in our commune (county). It felt good-it felt great! Yet it was strange as we have to wear masks, stand in lines and can’t shop together. But no complaints. We were out of the house.
As our deck filled with flowers from our shopping excursions, I began to dream again about what it will be like to have our home filled with friends and family. I started planning trips through our stunning adopted country and to make plans with friends for our getaways. Life after quarantine began to look like we may be back to what is most important to me. Friends, family, travel and exploring.
I realize now that as long as I still have the ability to dream, to think of a future filled with the things that are the most important to me it is all I need (okay, a hair cut would be really fantastic after 3 months but…). Today as I sat in the piazza at our favorite coffee shop life behind our masks, at a social distance started to feel like the best of the life I had before. Once again, I have a travel list, once again I have plans with friends and I know it will only be a matter of time before I can see my family and show them around this beautiful country, I now call home. Does it matter that it is lived behind a mask or at a distance-not really, because as with everything in life this is only temporary.
To read more about my quarantine experience you can check out my post on In Africa And Beyond (there are other interesting stories about Life In Lockdown as well!)