Quarantine Day 1 3/15
At 12 AM Sunday morning, the Spanish government announced we could no longer go outside. Hearing this was no surprise as restaurants, bars, and other public gatherings were already shut down. For a country that thrives so much on “cafe culture,” it was hard to believe the plazas and ramblas, popular meeting points for locals and tourists, would be barren. Luckily my husband Jeff and I had seen the writing on the wall, and headed to the grocery store on Friday before the masses had obliterated the shelves. To be fair, Sunday is our normal lazy day, where we catch up on chores, cook in, and watch shows together.
It didn’t seem that much different than our usual routine, but knowing that the following two weeks would be spent inside was heavy. I feel like the hardest part is thinking about what comes after this? Life can’t just return to completely normal after two weeks. It doesn’t seem like there will be a clear end to the quarantine. As Sunday rolled to an end, we decided it might be good to make a to-do list and keep to a somewhat normal schedule. Jeff’s work from home space has been set up to his liking, and I will do my best to keep up with my Spanish practice and will learn on the the fly how to teach English from my zoom app. Wish us luck!
Quarantine Day 2 3/16
Hello Monday. New week and a new routine. We woke up at 7 and filled our mugs with steaming coffee and smiled looking outside. It’s POURING. Nothing like a rainstorm to make you feel OK about being stuck inside all day. Since moving to Barcelona, we walk, bike, and take public transportation everywhere. This means we have zero protection from the occasional thunderstorm that hits. Today, it was actually a comfort being in our apartment.
Normally, I would be heading to Spanish class from 930-12, and Jeff would leave around the same time for work. After my Spanish class ends, I usually go to the gym and teach English immediately after. Today presents a new challenge for us, Jeff working from home, and me figuring out how to teach virtual English to 5 year olds. Jeff settled into his home office, and I planned out a lesson for my students. After a few hours, we decided it was time to get a workout in. We are very active people, ex college athletes who dabble in triathlons and Crossfit. Losing the gym was a blow to us both. Luckily, Jeff had purchased an in home bike trainer about a month ago, and that is saving us from the “quarantine 15.” We are making it a point to get at least a half hour a day on the bike. Our Crossfit gym is also sending us daily at home workouts which we can do on our terrace or roof. There truly is no excuse to not get a sweat in daily.
Afterwards, we made lunch and I somewhat successfully taught via video chat. As we winded down for the evening, a glass of wine and whiskey brought us some relaxation. I truly have been worried about the way the United States is handling the pandemic. All our family and friends back home have been continuing to go out to shops and restaurants, and travel is not restricted. Before we moved here, I was a nurse and worked in one of the largest hospital systems in Northern Virginia. Being short staffed was a normal occurrence. Imagining thousands if not millions of extra people needing treatment is not fathomable. I am hoping more drastic measures are taken. We finished up a disgusting dinner of frozen veggies and shrimp, and I decided tomorrow I would venture to the grocery store to get a few more things.
Quarantine Day 3 3/17
We are keeping to our schedule and woke up at 7. It’s not pouring rain anymore, but drizzly and gray. I am satisfied with that. We are dedicating the hour between 7-8 to coffee and reading the news or our kindles. I made Jeff oatmeal for breakfast because apparently the way I make it is “better and different.” I’m not sure this is true since making oatmeal requires mixing two ingredients together, but I am happy to do it for him. I put on my rain boots and headed outside to the local grocery store, Mercadona.
I approached and saw a line. I filed in, all of us keeping our distance from one another. Mercadona opened their doors at 9 am sharp and a security guard wearing a mask shuffled us in. It really wasn’t as crowded or crazy as I was expecting. I have to think that the guard was counting us as we entered, only allowing a certain amount of people in at a time. While there, I stocked up on protein sources and some veggies. I felt like I had hit the jackpot when I scored a whole chicken that we will be able to roast later. Our only item on the list that hasn’t been restocked is our beloved Greek yogurt. Every night without fail we have it for dessert with frozen berries and peanut butter. I guess this will have to be modified with a sub optimal yogurt substitute. I feel pretty lucky that this is my biggest problem so far during this madness.
After the store run, I made my own breakfast and began writing. About an hour later I figured it was time to get on the bike trainer. I started a new Spanish series on Netflix called Cable Girls and watched (with subtitles of course) as I rode. My concentration was definitely on trying to figure out everything that was being said. It helped pass the time on the bike. After that I did a quick 15 minute full body workout and made some lunch for myself and Jeff. He was significantly more busy today working, so I am positive that helped with any boredom. I geared up to teach my second online lesson which went about as well as I expected. Teaching 5 year olds English in person is hard enough, but online is even more challenging.
As the day winded down, we decided another glass of wine and whiskey was in order. It is St. Patrick’s Day after all, right? It wouldn’t feel right not having a glass of something alcoholic. Pasta is on the menu for tonight and we are hoping for redemption from our dinner yesterday.
Quarantine Day 4 3/18
Tossed and turned all night. Starting to think that the lack of movement throughout the day is effecting my sleep. Sure, I am still working out but I am obviously not getting near the usual amount of steps in per day. Our apartment is only so big. Today I found out I am teaching a group of 11-12 year olds English tonight in addition to my 5 year olds. This is great news for two reasons; one being that I will have another thing on my to-do list, the other being that preteens have a better command with the English language. Lessons are easier because they can talk on a basic level and understand. I’m looking forward to opening my lesson with a discussion about what is happening right now. It will be interesting to hear the perspective of children. This must be a confusing and somewhat stressful time for them.
Looking back at my childhood, there are certain world events that I remember so vividly, and I wonder if they will have the same experience. September 11 and the shootings at Virginia Tech are days that I, and probably my entire generation can recall exactly. Obviously these events are very different than a nationwide quarantine, but I imagine my students will be able to remember this years down the line.
I finished up another workout on the bike and an episode of Cable Girls in Spanish. I am feeling a little frustrated because I am still struggling with understanding- I know that these next few weeks with little interaction will only hinder my progress more, but I can only do the best I can.
Later on, Jeff decided he was going to take his workout up to the roof. I brewed some tea and joined him to get some vitamin D. Today we finally had great weather, and we feel so lucky that we are able to go upstairs and feel the sunshine. I did a 20 minute walk, meaning I literally walked in circles on top of our building. It may not seem like a lot, but that walk got me an extra 119 calories burned and 2,000 extra steps according to my Fitbit. I tend to think that I have to be gasping for breath and covered in sweat to have had a sufficient workout, but I think I need to change my mindset a bit during this quarantine.
After our outdoor time, I settled in for my English lessons. It was very refreshing to teach my group of older kids. We chatted about the quarantine and the positives and the negatives of it. One of my students mom’s is actually sick with the virus which was upsetting to hear. He says he hasn’t seen his mom yet- I couldn’t quite make out what he was telling me because the English is a little bit broken, but nevertheless I felt for him. All of my students said they were happy they don’t have to go to school, but don’t like having the work at home to do with no teachers for help. They also all said a negative was they don’t get to see their friends. In Spain, most families are small- 1 or 2 kids per household. I can’t imagine being an only child during this quarantine with nobody to play with. Obviously learning math, science, and language is important, but I feel like the social interactions at school are just as crucial to development.
After class ended, Jeff and I had a “virtual happy hour” with two of our friends living in Israel. It was fun to connect with some people outside the apartment and see their smiling faces on the screen. Currently, they can still go outside but they believe that will change soon. We chatted for about an hour and then made dinner. Salmon, asparagus, and sweet potato on the menu tonight. We finished up dinner, and started a new series on Amazon called “Hunters.” Hopefully it entertains us! Goodnight for now.
Quarantine Day 5 3/19
What day is it? Woke up and started our new normal again. Coffee, breakfast, and a workout. I have an English class this afternoon who I already taught for a half hour this week, so I need to come up with a new lesson plan for them. I have resorted to using lots of video resources, which has worked well. It is a bit awkward teaching online, because parents are often listening in behind the scenes. I am not stressing about my lessons, but I don’t want to be sitting on the computer without a plan.
Tonight the highlight of our day was dinner. Jeff has perfected the roast chicken recipe, and it is my favorite thing he makes. We settled in with our dinner and decided to watch the movie “Contagion.” After about 15 minutes we decided that this was a horrible idea. The plot is eerily similar to our situation now, and honestly I couldn’t handle it.
Tonight we FaceTimed with both Jeff’s mom and dad. All are working from home. They seem to be doing well despite the circumstances. Still having the freedom to go outside is a big plus. Jeff’s mom in NY told us that their neighborhood had a live music night on their decks the night of St. Patty’s Day to keep spirits up. It is always nice to hear stories like this. Jeff’s dad in TX has a nice set up with a pool, so he will definitely enjoy that the next few weeks.
I chatted with my mom on the phone before bed who is extremely worried about us. It is beginning to get really difficult being this far away from our families. The unknown still looms, and to be honest I just really want to be home right now. The fact that we are in Spain is really hitting me hard, and I would honestly leave tomorrow if things were different. I am going to try and keep up with exercise and get on the roof tomorrow to hopefully boost my spirits. Goodnight for now.
Quarantine Day 6 3/20
Having a really hard morning. I am super anxious and worried about our families and their health. I feel helpless. I have been texting with my friend Emily who lives in Amsterdam with her husband, Ben. We are all friends from college, and happened to get married the same weekend and move abroad the same month for work. We both are feeling the same way, and are planning a video chat tonight so we don’t feel so alone. I really don’t know what to think right now. The US put out a level 4 travel advisory yesterday. This basically means “do not travel.” If you do travel abroad from the US, you must be prepared to shelter in place there for an indefinite period. Who knows when we will be able to leave here.
After working out I feel much better. Again, I taught in the evening and then we enjoyed our FaceTime session with Emily and Ben. Then we made dinner and watched some Netflix Hunters to finish the night. We have been going to bed around 1030 and getting up around 7- we are hoping we can sleep in a little bit later tomorrow to help pass some of the time!
Quarantine Day 7 3/21
Couldn’t sleep in, but that’s no surprise. Once we get into a schedule and rhythm it is hard to break. Also, we aren’t going out at night to interfere with early morning wake ups. Today we decided to eat breakfast and clean the entire apartment. I took on the kitchen and Jeff handled the bathrooms. After about an hour and half, we finished up and feel so much better being in a super clean house. Of course this will only last a few days before we cook again, but it’s worth it. We then got a workout in on the bike. I also went up to the roof to get some sun and complete a body weight workout. It was such a nice spring day, and such a shame we weren’t able to enjoy it outside. After that we made some lunch and I chatted a bit with my friend Deanna from back home.
Later on we decided to make turkey burgers and French fries for dinner. We had a bag of fries in the freezer for months, and felt like it was finally time to use it. They were amazing. It kind of feels like our meals are the thing we look forward to most. After dinner we watched Ford v. Ferrari. It was ok, both of us aren’t into car racing so that made it a little difficult to fully get into. Our Amazon bill for renting movies is going to be way higher than usual! Luckily, Disney plus comes to Spain in a few days, so we will have some new material to watch soon. Night for now.
Quarantine Day 8 3/22
Just couldn’t bring myself to get onto the bike , so we decided to do a workout on the roof with some bands that I had. It wasn’t much, but enough to get a slight “pump” in. After, I decided to tackle our drawers and cabinets. It seems like as an adult you tend to accumulate all sorts of papers that you can’t bring yourself to throw out. Time to get rid of some extra baggage. I also did some organizing of miscellaneous items like electrical cords, headphones, and other random things. It is kind of nice to have the time to do this stuff, especially when we are supposed to move back home in less than 6 months. It will be such a relief when we are packing up that basically everything is already organized, and we only have to throw our clothes into suitcases.
As the day went on, boredom grew. Luckily, we chatted with tons of friends and family throughout the day. Even though this situation sucks, we’ve had hour long + conversations through FaceTime and have been connecting with a lot of people. If we weren’t quarantined, I’m sure our conversations would be much shorter. We chatted a while with our friends Chris and Kara from back home, who are supposed to come visit us here in June. We are really hoping they will still be able to make it. There is just no certainty as to when this will clear up. We saw on the news today that the Spanish prime minister is proposing an additional 2 weeks of quarantine to the congress. They vote on it March 25th. Another two weeks will bring us to April 12. This is kind of hard to imagine, but I have a feeling this will be the case. A full month inside. Here’s to hoping we stay sane.
Quarantine Day 9 3/23
Woke up to another rainy day. We began our day with breakfast and reading. It is not looking great for Spain. The rise in deaths from this illness is high and it’s only getting worse. There is really nothing we can do except for stay indoors and limit our trips outside. Our fridge is looking a bit barren, so I made a list for groceries for tomorrow.
After a session on the bike and a body weight workout, we made some lunch and I planned my lesson for my students. The rain cleared up throughout the afternoon. Jeff had a pretty boring day with work, so he did some yoga and stretching around 2pm. I successfully taught my class, and then I chatted with my dad via FaceTime and my friend Rachel who lives in New Hampshire. Everyone is in the same boat, bored and looking for entertainment. We made dinner- frozen veggies and shrimp. It was alright, but I am looking forward to getting some more fresh vegetables at the market tomorrow. We watched an action movie on Netflix starring Mark Wahlberg. It was mindless but entertaining. After the movie we headed to sleep and tried to mentally prepare for the next day.
Quarantine Day 10 3/24
We both tossed and turned all night. It has to be from lack of activity throughout the day. I got ready to head to Mercadona for the second time since the lockdown. I had read in a local facebook group that I belong to that it was now mandatory to wear gloves inside the supermarket. I approached the market and didn’t know what to expect. Lucky for me, I was third in line to enter. The one great thing about being a North American here is that we operate on the exact opposite schedule as Spaniards. In general, I wake up early and show up on time. The Spanish clock is different, and this works to my advantage right now. Once 9 o’clock hit, the security guards set up the makeshift barriers and put out a box for gloves and a hand sanitizing station. Upon entering, you had to sanitize and don a pair of plastic gloves to be able to shop. I weirdly felt like crying when I walked inside. Even though it wasn’t that big of a deal to take these extra steps, it felt apocalyptic. I appreciated the security guards saying “Bon Dia” to the customers, because it brought me back to some normalcy. It’s hard because I already feel like I am not 100% a part of the community here due to the language barrier, and now I feel even more isolated. Luckily, the grocery store was well stocked and I was able to get everything we needed. The only thing still not available is my yogurt, but all in all I had a successful trip.
After, I had breakfast and got on the bike yet again for another workout. We then made lunch and I taught my English lesson. Today’s class was incredibly frustrating. The kids were not engaged, parents were next to them talking, and siblings were disrupting the class. Zoom is more or less working for the classes, but if your participants are talking you will absolutely hear it in the background. I found myself trying to talk over students and their parents, and I was more than happy to be finished when 430 rolled around.
Jeff then ended his workday and we continued watching the Netflix documentary “Tiger King.” You wouldn’t even believe these people on the show exist in society. We made homemade pizzas for dinner and then read before bed. Hoping for a better night’s sleep tonight!
Quarantine Day 11 3/25
Not much went on today. Same routine more or less. Jeff ordered a PlayStation on amazon a few days ago and it came in today. We both are excited about it, Jeff more so than I. Video games kind of annoy me, but I am not going to deprive Jeff of entertainment at a time like this. He’s not a big gamer, but this will give him another activity to do during the day. I again taught English and then we made pasta with meatballs for dinner which was amazing. I spoke with my parents for a little bit before we settled in for the evening. We watched a comedy special on Netflix and then went to sleep. It seems official that our quarantine is extended to April 11th. We are almost halfway there!
To read my final entry, after two months in quarantine, check it out here.