I’m Shan, a South African girl living in Saudi Arabia, stuck in London.
I never could have imagined this situation that haunts us all daily in these past few weeks and weeks to come. I’m not writing this to inform people about the dangers of not self-isolating, or what Covid19 is, by now we all have basic knowledge on the subject from our government and the wonderful NHS. This is me, a girl trying to make the most of her time being stuck 3,894.2 miles away from her home, which she might only see again in May.
Taking it back four weeks, I hopped on two different planes from Dammam, Saudi Arabia, leaving my husband and two cats, to fly to London Heathrow to visit my family. This was a trip booked two months before my departure and was meant to be a two-week vacation and weekend trip to Rome, Italy. We were checking daily for updates on the virus— if it was in Rome, only proceeding with the trip when we were sure it was not. Much to my husband’s dismay, we still went to Italy and it was a great family getaway since the last time we had one twelve years ago.
It was also very hard to hear about the impact the virus created on businesses, especially in the tourism industry. On the last day, we stopped by the Colosseum around seven am, stepped out of the metro into a ghost town. Not a soul was there beside the waiters and some other workers around. We stopped, got a coffee and pastry which cost next to nothing since they’re trying to make some cash. Many employees told us they were worried they would lose their jobs since many people cancelled their trips. We returned to London on Monday, and Tuesday Italy shut down its borders. I can’t imagine the mourning the entire country is feeling from the loss of work, family and friends. Yes, we did self-isolate for two weeks. None of us had any symptoms, besides the occasional sneeze – to which you would be consumed by worrying looks from family members.
If you’re wondering what life is currently like in a house with nine other people, here is a preview: four people are working from home, three are doing online school and I have just started my own business. This means daily fights for the best Wi-Fi connection, arguments over who keeps using all the hot water, and who keeps eating all the snacks! Lest we forget the amount of coffee we are going through since our-ever-so-loved coffee shop is no longer picking all the coins out our wallets for that delicious flat white. Deciding who will be the sacrificial lamb to find the essential groceries.
I’m going to end this by saying my reality is what I create it, amidst all the panic and sadness that the world is feeling, I need to decide for myself. Am I going to sit in bed all day because I can (but still stay at home), or feel consumed by the world’s panic and fear or am I going to try to do something for myself and believe that my God is bigger than every fear and anxiety that I am feeling? In a time such as paranoia and pain, choose to be the blessing of God, spread His love and be considerate.
Stay safe, stay well,