Saturday, April 4, 2020

COVID-19 Quarantine Updates (Week 4)

And here we are, another week down... It seemed to go by fast but the days also dragged on and on.  They all blur together to be honest as we pretty much now do the same thing day in and day out.  We get a little variance if the weather is nice and we can get out in our little concrete yard.

If you need a refresher on our past weeks -- week one here and week two here and week three here.

April 4, 2020 (Day 22)
Trevor and I stayed up way too late last night chatting and playing online games with friends.  It was exactly what we all needed, but this morning was a little rough -- oh well!  So we had a lazy day, plus the weather was crap (so windy and rainy).  Perfect day to just lay around and watch movies all day.  Serafina at least was a big help in the kitchen washing dishes :)
And sadly (but was expected), we learned that our state of alarm will most likely be extended another 15 days bringing us to April 26th.  But there is finally (FINALLY) talk of slowly releasing us during that 15 day period and if not during that time, then most likely starting May 1st and throughout the month of May.  There was even an article that specifically stated parents could take children on a short walk as one of the restrictions to be lifted -- whenever it all happens.  I legit almost cried tears of joy.  I would do just about anything to go for a walk right now.

And in even bigger news our curve is most likely flattening!  Our numbers finally seem to be dropping, slowly but they are dropping.  When I started writing this entry, I looked back at week one and remember being shocked when our case numbers went up by 2,000 in one day.  Now I am happy they were only a little over 7,000 new cases today.  And hopefully our numbers keep going down.

April 5, 2020 (Day 23)
Palm Sunday.  One of the most amazing days of the year to be living in southern Spain.  Except this year.  Normally, the entire town of Rota (and well every other town in Andalucía) would be dressing up in their best clothes and taking to the streets to see the first procession of Semana Santa or Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter.  I have written about Easter herehere, and hereSemana Santa is one of the most wonderful times to be in our province of Andalucía.  But this year, it is all cancelled because of COVID (and because well, we are all locked inside our houses).  Today's procession is one of my favorites and I will admit that I purposefully kept myself busy so I didn't have to think about what we were missing today....

So today instead of being outside with the entire town, Trevor and I cleaned the kitchen -- going through ALL the cabinets and rearranging things.  It was needed and actually quite fun.  We need a few things for organizational purposes so I am attempting to order from IKEA (cross your fingers for me).  AND I even found a FULL bottle of Lysol spray under the sink -- I hit the jackpot :)

Sadly no pictures today since most of it was spent cleaning and organizing.  But in other good news, Spain's numbers continue to go down -- slowly but they are going down.  So even though we will be extended in our lock down another three weeks (it has to be approved later this week, but it will be) -- staying home is working!

April 6, 2020 (Day 24)
Well, this might be a slightly tipsy update :)  We finally caved and ordered take out from a local restaurant (after cooking dinner (and lunch and breakfast) for 23 days straight, it was needed).  And thanks to living in Spain, you can order alcohol with your take out meals -- so we ordered a harra de margarita (or a pitcher of margarita) and it turned out to be A VERY LARGE pitcher :)

Trevor had to go into the office today (it seems like this will be the norm for him, one a day week at the office with the rest working from home) so it was just Serafina and I all day and we actually had a really good and productive day.  We did mom school and while it is technically her spring break (because of Semana Santa), I know that the routine is good for all of us so it won't hurt to keep doing school related activities this week.  I should note that we are doing no more than an hour of mom school a day -- it is very relaxed and very unstructured so don't feel like I am planning full days of school/learning related activities each day.  We also had a visit from our favorite neighborhood cat (Serafina has named her (him/it) Kia).


After mom school Serafina and I cleaned part of the house, her favorite part is vacuuming and she was actually a big help.  We cleaned out her closet as well and have quite the pile of things to donate once this is all over....

Overall, it was a really good day -- and our numbers went down by almost 2,000 cases which was SO uplifting to read this afternoon.  Except my order with IKEA last night did not work.  And Amazon (USA) has officially stopped shipping things to us, even essential items.  But good thing my panic buying shipment of toys arrived (but not the needed subscribe and save items from March).

April 7, 2020 (Day 25)
Another day.  This week seems to be tough on everyone or at least among my friends here.  As I've mentioned this week is spring break for the kiddos so many of our friends had some pretty awesome trips planned for this week and yet we are all staying safe at home.  And my parents were supposed to be arriving tomorrow and to say we are all bummed their trip got cancelled is an understatement.  So hopefully everyone in the whole starts following social distancing expectations and stay at home orders so this is all over soon so my parents can come visit :)

And nothing new to report on our day, same thing day in and day out.  Breakfast + waking up, mom school, I workout while Serafina plays, lunch, hanging out, art project or baking or play outside, dinner, hang out, clapping, bed time... Lots of play-doh dress making for Barbies and I straightened Serafina's hair today (it is quite long when it isn't so curly)!  Case numbers rose again today :( But there is still talk of how our gradual release will look, so hopefully we are getting closer to the end of this whole thing...

April 8, 2020 (Day 26)
Nothing new really to report.  Another day that looked a lot like the other 25 days of this lock down.  The windy finally let up in the early evening so we were able to get outside for a little bit which helped everyone.  We now have to wear cloth face coverings on base (since it was recommended by the CDC), so now we have to wear masks anytime we step outside our front gate (and even Serafina is used to seeing us in masks whenever we leave to take the trash or Trevor goes to work).  A large shipment of mail did arrive late yesterday so I will go pick up packages tomorrow.  And also go to the grocery store on base -- with Spanish holidays tomorrow and Friday, we are adjusting our grocery shopping a little this week.  Numbers still aren't great, they stayed basically the same as yesterday.  Which I guess isn't bad but also isn't going down.  We had a friend stop by and toss a little something for Serafina over the fence and Serafina was SO sad she couldn't stay for lunch.  I still fully believe we are doing the right thing by staying home but as we approach almost a full month away from our friends and normal lives, it is affecting everyone.
But I also cannot imagine how the Spanish are even still functioning.  ALL of this social distancing and staying within your home goes against EVERY SINGLE part of their culture.  They are not seeing their extended family that typically lives just blocks away; they are not having huge lunches and get togethers on the weekends; they are grocery shopping one or two times a week rather than every single day...  And then this week being Semana Santa and one of the largest holidays of the year -- without family.  If they can do it, we all can and we all will come out of this stronger.

(And yes an early post because we are all tired and all going to bed right after our 8PM applause.)

Saturday, March 28, 2020

COVID-19 Quarantine Updates (Week 3)

Well I never really actually thought I would be started yet another post and yet another week in lock down -- I mean I think I did on some level, but I had hope that numbers would drop once we were all in full lock down and our movements were drastically limited... But here we are, starting our 3rd week of full lock down.  You can read about week one here and week two here.

March 28, 2020 (Day 15)
Another decent but low-key day.  Serafina slept in until 9:30AM which was quite nice since it isn't like we have anywhere to be these days.  We hung out inside in the morning and then all went outside on our patios for the afternoon -- Serafina played in our blow up hot tub and Trevor and I enjoyed the sun.  Then Serafina made (with some help from Trevor) a homemade doll house for our basement since we wouldn't move her huge one downstairs!  Then after Peanut bedtime, Trevor and I video chatted with some good friends and played an online game -- it was great fun and just what we needed!


I completely forgot to share yesterday that we are not getting any mail, and haven't for over two weeks now.  There is over 13,000 pounds of mail stuck in Chicago that should be on its way to us, except obviously no flights are going and borders are basically closed.  They (the higher ups) are hoping to get the mail here sometime this upcoming week but who knows.  Cross your fingers since I have some needed items arriving from Amazon!

We also learned of a COVID case within Trevor's larger office (so not his immediate small group of people he works with, but definitely someone he knows and has worked with before).  Of course this has all of us on edge so we are hopeful that Trevor won't have to go into the office much longer and work only from home.

March 29, 2020 (Day 16)
We finally went to daylight savings early this morning so today was a little short -- we had a late start to the day which was nice and just took it easy.  The rain is supposed to come starting tomorrow so we spend time in our little patio/carport area as much as we could to enjoy the sun.  We did a lot of Lego building and Barbie playing and Disney+ watching!  Our 8PM applause was fun tonight since it was finally light out and we were able to really see our neighbors and everyone out clapping.
More restrictions are coming down from the Spanish government.  The cabinet (or whatever it is called) have met today and we are slowly learning what that'll mean for us and how it'll change our lives even further... We already know that more things will close, most likely closing more restaurants (currently some are open but for delivery only) but we aren't sure how else it'll affect us or Trevor's job just yet...

March 30, 2020 (Day 17)
I had no desire to write this up last night, it was a rough day for me.  Serafina was great, mom school went great -- I was just OVER IT all.  It has been really hard for me to watch people on various social media sites or the news just think all of this is a hoax or choose not to social distance or don't understand the reasoning for all the restrictions... And then I am quite jealous of those in countries where everyone can still go on walks and move about their daily lives without too much changing.  I have lost count but I think this was breakdown #4 of this whole thing.  So I turned off all social media last night, watched some TV and laminated a bunch of things for mom school.  It was what I needed and I am in a better mood/head space today.

Trevor had to go into the office so it was just Serafina and I all day which is also hard because there is NO breaks and girlfriend does NOT stop talking, ever.  But for her it was a good day which was great.  Sadly she is used to being stuck to our house/tiny yard and not being able to see her friends.  She knows that we have to stay safe from the germs outside and that everyone is sick.  She still asks a lot of questions as just like anyone, it is so far out of their understanding.  We do our best to answer them and calm her fears.  She and I watched a lot of National Geographic on Disney+ (specifically all the animal shows) and I did get a short workout in while she played with her Plus Plus blocks (another amazing Danish company that is the perfect thing to bring traveling -- entertaining for everyone)!

We still aren't sure if Trevor will have to go back into the office, but we are guessing he won't which is fine by me -- so much safer that way!  And sadly we have learned we cannot go within 50 meters of our house unless going to the grocery store, seek medical help or go to work (which requires legal documentation).  So I can walk the one block to take the trash out and that is it.  I probably need to start driving to the grocery store (that is 3 blocks away) from now on.

March 31, 2020 (Day 18)
Can't believe it is finally the end of March -- sure has easily been the longest month of our lives.  Another fairly low key day of staying home and going no where.  Trevor had to do more work from home today so Serafina and I stayed upstairs as much as we could to let Trevor work and have his conference calls.  Serafina did great with mom school again -- she is SO math based but shows a real interest in reading.  Her teacher is sending the class various activities to do at home.  We have done some but I think I will add more Spanish into her day too, if I can figure it out :)

The low point of the day was learning the numbers of cases in Spain have risen again (over 9,000 new cases today and 800+ deaths).  It is just heartbreaking.  And we have learned that the military + police have basically blocked our town off -- we aren't sure why.  We do know there is only one way in and out of our town right now as all other ways are closed and there will be a checkpoint going in and out.  My understanding is to limit the people moving about and making sure those are on the road are doing what they should be doing.

But the highlight was a new challenge floating around among the kids (in Spanish school) -- kids are putting their faces in a plate of flour and then nominating friends to do it as well.  All day the kids were sending videos back and forth, it was so much fun to watch.  Serafina was SO excited when she got nominated and she could not wait to put her face into the flour.  So hopefully fun activities like this keep popping up because it sure is fun for the whole family!
April 1, 2020 (Day 19)
I can't believe we are 19 days into this thing...  I mean I can and I can't.  I still hate it but I still know that it is 100% needed.  And I will stay in my house for as long as it takes to keep everyone safe.  The commander of the base here puts out daily updates regarding our lock down and a few days ago he wrote that if you get COVID you are asked to track back all the people you have had contact with in the past 14 days (which we did learn when Trevor was tested).  And as the commander said to us, I will say you to -- if you cannot easily name the people you have had contact with in the past two weeks and if that number is beyond your immediate household (this includes other family that doesn't live with you), then I ask you to please rethink your actions.

But... we had another good day here.  Serafina is rocking mom school and it is really fun watching everything start to click for her, especially in English.  Her teacher continues to send us things to do in Spanish which we try and incorporate into our day as well.  Trevor had to do a lot of work most of the day so Serafina and I hung out upstairs and painted nails, went outside during a break in the rain to color with chalk on the walls of our house.  And I am continuing to get my workouts in to keep myself sane.  I am writing this a little early tonight because we are all exhausted and I plan to go to bed early!

April 2, 2020 (Day20)
Another day... Nothing major happened which is always good.  We have all fell into a decent routine, especially with Trevor having to do more work from home.  Mom school in the morning, play while I workout, lunch, more play time (LOTS of fort building) and usually a hands on activity or watching a movie or TV show before dinner.  I am impressed we don't have the TV on all day every day, but even on days it does happen, I don't really care.  We are safe and healthy at home and that is all that matters.  Serafina also had a virtual playdate with a friend which was really fun for her.
built a little reading corner in her "house"
The numbers still aren't great -- while the case numbers seem to be dropping a little, the deaths sure are not.  It is just awful.  Our 8Pm applause was fun as usual, I really enjoy that it stays lighter later so we can see everyone out on their porches and balconies.

April 3, 2020 (Day 21)
And another week has passed.... And another low key day.  I did ALL the errands this morning (grocery stores + mail) so Trevor taught dad school and I think Serafina liked it better than mom school!  Our landlord also came to get rent and that was sad -- we passed things over our gate which was hard for all of us, we are so used to him coming inside and chatting for a little bit (but he gave Serafina a rose which of course made her happy).
Masks and gloves are now required in Spain (if you have them) and we had a friend give us some of their masks so we are able to follow half the rule (we have no gloves).  The grocery stores this morning weren't bad now that I am used to it and know what to expect -- and yes we go to two stores.  The store in town and then also the commissary on base, both have different things that we eat daily so we need to go to both.  And we figured it was better to do all the grocery shopping and such on one day -- plus we finally got a mail shipment so I went and picked up our mail.  Of course nothing that I actually needed arrived!  Oh well.
So I know there has been a lot of talk about the need to disinfect your groceries.  And while of course we wash the fruit and veggies, we decided we needed some normalcy so we are not disinfecting the other stuff before it comes into the house.  We aren't bringing the plastic or reusable bags inside, those stay on the front porch and of course washing our hands the minute we get inside before touching anything.  We could drive ourselves crazy with trying to disinfect everything (and ourselves) each time we leave the house, so we don't do it.  We are smart when going out of the house and when coming back in and that is all we can do. 

And now off to have a virtual game night with friends :)

Saturday, March 21, 2020

COVID-19 Quarantine Updates (Week 2)

Well we have officially survived (and finished) our first week of lock down.  You can read about it here -- I figured I would go week by week so the posts didn't get too long.  Our first week sure had its ups and downs.  We are still trying to figure out our new normal and it has been challenging and testing everyone which again is completely understandable.  So -- here we go with this week's updates...

March 21, 2020 (Day 8)
Trevor still isn't feeling great so it was another long day for all of us.  Serafina was a little off as well, but more so just tired from her lack of sleep this past week (in case you didn't know, our sweet girl really struggles when things in her life change and it comes out mostly in the form of night terrors -- so we are back to nightly night terrors which is affecting all of us).  She just wanted a lot of snuggles and play time with mom and day which we were more than happy to give her, we all needed it.  A very low key day which was nice.
she wanted to play in the sink, sure why not (yes still wearing pajamas for 2+ days in a row)
I did escape to go to the base to grab some food and a few other things we needed.  I once again was super nervous to leave the house and while I saw plenty of cops on the road, I was never stopped.  I was shocked at how busy the shopping area on base was (the commissary and mini mart).  Not busy like a normal weekend, but for sure more people than in town.  And people not shopping alone, in groups and hugging each other and getting close... It made me quite mad actually.  We are in this lock down to keep ourselves and others safe, the longer people can't follow the rules the longer we will be in this lock down.  So get it together people!

Thankfully still no new restrictions, I think this is three days in a row!  My group chat for Serafina's class was quite optimistic earlier encouraging everyone because we only had one week left... Then finally someone mentioned that in China they were locked down for 58 days before they saw no new cases.  Spain's numbers are still climbing and by A LOT -- almost 5,000 new cases today.  But I know things will eventually start to fall and I know we are doing the right thing by staying home. 

March 22, 2020 (Day 9)
Well, remember when I said Trevor wasn't feeling so great -- he went to the base hospital last night to get tested for COVID.  Thankfully in the end the test came back negative but it was a long 24 hours trying to figure out what it all meant.  There was lots of cleaning and disinfecting -- and sadly Trevor had to be quarantined in a separate room of the house.  Which was insanely hard for Serafina who knew her dad was home but that she couldn't hang out with him... And then SO afraid he got the germs we have been talking about.  It was rough.

So I brought out some creative activities and didn't say no all that much -- which resulted in some fun out on our porch since it was finally sunny, creating an obstacle course inside with her old crib mattress and her favorite way of eating a meal (muffin tin tapas).  Seriously, we eat lunch usually once a week with muffin tins and it is so much fun -- I can usually get her to eat more fruits and veggies and try a new food.  Highly recommend.


Well the numbers still aren't great in Spain, which we did expect knowing that they were doing more testing and at a faster rate in the past days (which is a good thing), but it is still pretty disheartening.  And we learned today that the Spanish government plans to extend our 15 day state of alarm (aka lock down)... which again we expected but is also disheartening.  However, the 8PM applause (Serafina calls it clapping) is seriously the best thing ever and we all love it.  We can see five other houses/porches fairly easily and we all wave and talk and check in on each other and clap for 3-5 minutes and then tell everyone we'll see them tomorrow and back we go inside (all in Spanish by the way).  I can't even begin to describe how uplifting it can be.  A friend posted this article from CNN and it describes how things are going and Andalusia perfectly.

While it is not always easy being locked up and not having interactions with people outside our little family -- the sense of community among everyone is just surreal.  I chat daily (hourly) with my American friends, we all check in on each other, we have video chats, we share recipes and home workouts.  My group chat for Serafina's class is similar -- sharing activities or websites for kids, sending encouragement, one parent who is a personal trainer started sending home workouts for the adults.  We have had friends from all over the world check on us to see how we are holding up and what the lock down is like... Definitely keeps our spirits up!

March 23, 2020 (Day 10)
Today was a much better day, easily our best day of this whole quarantine thing.  We all felt like we were in a groove and got a lot done.  Everyone was happy and no tantrums -- I think we have finally settled into our new normal of this crazy life right now.  Serafina did really well during mom school.  She is a math wizz and I had to re-do my math plans for her over the weekend, I introduced a harder concept today and she totally got it.  The language part of the American math curriculum is hard for her since it is SO different from what she is learning in school, but she still grasps the concepts.  And we lucked out with some sun so we were able to get out onto our patio and carport before the rain + thunder came.
So after 10 days on lock down, we have developed a loose routine.  We wake up slowly (no alarms because there is no point), sometimes Serafina comes and snuggles and we all fall back asleep -- we usually take our mornings slow.  We all eat breakfast and then Serafina and I do mom school and Trevor either does work stuff or some chore around the house.  I then usually workout and Serafina either helps Trevor do whatever he is working on or works out with me.  Then I make us all lunch, do a few chores (clean a room, do some laundry, work on a house project)... Then we head out on our patio if it is sunny or we have dance parties or some hands-on learning activity.  It is usually time to make dinner now so either we all do it or someone entertains Serafina and the other cooks dinner... Serafina usually plays or gets some screen time while Trevor and I clean up from dinner and finish whatever we were working on that day (if needed).  Then its bath time, ready for bed and go outside to clap and cheer with our neighbors before bed for Serafina.  I then stay up way too late usually writing these posts, watching TV and getting some much needed alone time.  Now of course this all sounds perfect and of course some days Serafina gets more TV time than others but its all about balance and survival.  Weekends are much the same except without mom school.  We try and plan out our meals based on what we have in the house to limit our grocery store trips.  Trevor goes to base one day a week for work and he does all the errands on base that day (post office, commissary, etc.).  And then I go to the Spanish grocery store one day a week as well.  It is important to limit our time outside our house area so that is what we do.

While there haven't been any new restrictions (that we know of), we know the Spanish police and military are cracking down on the various restrictions already put in place -- you cannot go far from your house unless going to work, to get needed supplies or to seek medical help (and you need to be able to prove where you are going at at all times).  You cannot be with others, even in cars (obviously there are exceptions if you are traveling with a child or elderly) and there are rules for where a passenger has to sit if you must transport someone.  Gloves and masks are required for everyone at grocery stores in town, cashiers are separated by plexiglass.  It's all very surreal and to be honest, I don't like leaving the house right now.  But let's hope tomorrow is another good day...

March 24, 2020 (Day 11)
I will keep it short and sweet tonight as I am exhausted.  Poor Serafina had a rough night last night (again) and it is catching up with me.  She woke up screaming with nightmares almost every hour so while she may be asleep it is very restless and also thanks to the screaming, I was awake.  Another good day today -- Serafina did great with mom school and Disney+ is finally available in Spain so now we have some solid entertainment for the next few weeks!  Serafina drew pictures and had me scribe letters to some of her friends here, Trevor will mail them when he goes to work later this week.
No new restrictions, but the whole town was sprayed with disinfectant tonight (smelled oddly like chlorine) which was a little scary.  Tractors equipped with sprayers went through the town street by street.  As of now we don't know anyone who has COVID but my Spanish group chat has some people whose family members are sick or being tested currently... We have heard and read that Andalucia has the slowest growth of cases in all of Spain because people here are actually following the state of alarm restrictions, so hopefully it stays this way!

March 25, 2020 (Day 12)
Another good day, until poor Serafina got a fever later in the day -- poor thing didn't feel good and fell asleep so early.  And since I was the only one who went outside for the 8PM applause, our neighbors were quite concerned as to where la niña was -- they were relieved when I told them she was just sleeping!  Because she is the only kid (under the age of 18) on our street, I think they all love her excitement and joy each night!

Serafina did great with mom school today -- reading a few very simple words in English and she is so very proud of herself.  We did an activity her seño (teacher) sent us, making paint with various spices + water to paint like the cavemen (or la prehistoria).  I did a workout on Zoom with my workout buddies from the gym and it was amazing, so good for my mental state!  The streets got sprayed down again, so Serafina enjoyed watching the tractor go by, thinking it was a parade.  And then we just watching Disney+ a lot :)

March 26, 2020 (Day 13)
No pictures and a short post today.  Serafina woke up fever free and is feeling great!  Trevor went into work today so it was just the two of us -- didn't do a whole lot, kept it fairly low key.  Did mom school and played outside in our carport area for a little but.  I did finally finish re-organizing our pantry which I am sure will last all of about 5 seconds :)

The big news for the day wasn't that we officially got extended in quarantine for an addition 15 days (set to end on April 11th) but that COVID has finally come to base -- the first American on base tested positive.  The base has been very forthcoming with information throughout this whole pandemic which has been very helpful to us (keeping us posted with numbers, translating the information put out regarding the state of alarm and more).

Mentally we are all hanging in there, have our good and bad moments (all fluctuates throughout the day).  These past few days have been harder emotionally, watching the numbers just keep climbing.  Everyone going stir crazy -- most of my friends are feeling the same way too.  The support we all give each other throughout the days is just amazing, we all take turns being the positive support and I have never been more thankful for technology!

March 27, 2020 (Day 14)
How have we managed to go another week?  It seems like the longest and also the shortest week of my life... The days are SO long but then the week seemed to fly by, maybe because we are literally doing the same thing day in and day out.  

Today was another low key day and no mom school because none of us were feeling it today and that is okay.  We are all doing hard things and we all need and deserve to take breaks every now and then.  We will try again tomorrow, it isn't like we know the days of the weeks or anything :)  So we kept our Friday night pizza + movie tradition and watched the tractor spray our street and we clapped with our neighbors.

And tomorrow will start our third week of this and tomorrow will be the same as today but also a new day.  And maybe, just maybe the numbers will start to drop. 



Sunday, March 15, 2020

COVID-19 Quarantine Updates (Week 1)

While traveling in Turkey we had heard about a new virus -- called a novel coronavirus (COVID).  We didn't think much of it, but definitely noticed quite a few people wearing masks, especially throughout the airports.  As we returned back to Spain cases were popping up slowly over the world but again no one was thinking it could possibly affect us.  We were quite wrong and because this is something I still can't wrap my head around, I figured I would document it day by day...

To start, we knew cases were increasing in Spain throughout the month of March, we knew COVID had come to Europe, hitting Italy especially hard.  There were precautions for anyone who had traveled to Italy recently, but nothing outside of the usual precautions for everyone -- to wash your hands frequently, cover your cough and sneeze...  But then the numbers started growing in Spain, specifically in Madrid and the Basque Country.  Those regions were put into quarantine and schools closed; we would follow the numbers and the news and be diligent about hand washing and starting social distancing, but we were all blissfully unaware of what was to come our way...

March 12, 2020
We woke up to news that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID a pandemic, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) declared Spain (and most of Europe) a Level 3 Warning which means avoid non-essential travel AND that the president had issued a travel ban on Europe.  We realized right then and there that this was more serious than anyone could have ever imagined and that it would be affecting us, we just weren't sure how yet.

By mid-morning we had learned the Department of Defense had issued a travel ban for all civilian and military members (including the recall of all members on leave traveling outside of our small province).  I cannot even tell you how many text messages went flying back and forth between Trevor and I that morning, same with friends -- and in addition, so many messages from the school group chat about closing schools.  I was glued to my phone while also doing some grocery and necessity shopping as a just in case (no I did not stock up on toilet paper, we have bidets!).

Throughout the afternoon we learned of more things being canceled or closed and the severity of the situation in Madrid -- my half marathon was postponed which was such a disappointment as I had been training and working so hard.  I had my first good cry/breakdown of the whole thing...  It was so much to process in such little time.  By 8:30PM we had learned that school was closing for the next two weeks minimum and that the Spanish government was encouraging all citizens to stay inside to help stop the spread of COVID.  But we still had more questions than answers and it was all very unsettling.

March 13, 2020
School closures weren't starting until the following Monday so I sent Serafina but most of her class did not go.  Our girl thrives on routines and I knew that her routine and life was about to flip upside down, all of our lives were.  So I sent her to school so I could have one more day to prepare and to keep things as normal as possible.  I went to the gym (my way of staying sane) and ran some last minute errands....

By the time I got home around 12PM, more places were being closed (mostly on base) and activities were being canceled.  We got notice that we were not to travel outside our small province of Cadiz (confining us to roughly a 40 mile radius).  Trevor learned he would be working less hours in an effort to limit contact with others, but we had no idea what days or hours he would be working.  We learned that many in Madrid had ignored the requests to self-quarantine and were fleeing the city in a mass exodus to their summer homes -- located of course all along our coast and the Mediterranean coast, taking the virus with them.  We learned that the government would be issuing an estado de alarma or a state of alarm which would limit our movements and be a forced lock down/quarantine, but we didn't know when it would be happening or what exactly it would look like.  Again bringing more questions than answers and again bringing a breakdown for me.

Trevor came home a little early and as a family we went out to dinner knowing it would be one of the last times we would be able to leave our house easily.  We went to a restaurant close to our home and sat away from other patrons.  It was nice to keep the day as normal as possible and not think about what would happen tomorrow...

March 14, 2020 (Day 1)
We woke up to news that the case numbers had skyrocketed, further angering so many people that those from Madrid had not stayed put like they had been asked.  The messages in the school group chat were quite colorful and I learned some new inappropriate words :)  The estado de alarma was officially issued which allowed a ban on the movement of citizens as well as officially put the country on lock down.  This is a good article explaining what we can and cannot do (but it has since been even more limiting).

I attempted to go to Jerez to try and get a few last minute things since we knew we wouldn't be able to leave the house for at least 15 days... The stores I needed were actually closed so I just came home but the electronic signs on the freeways were telling everyone to stay in their house.  Trevor did a quick grocery store run for some produce -- he went during Spanish lunch time to avoid a busy grocery store.  While both of us were out, we noticed that most people were not following the lock down -- people were still out and about, even with most restaurants and other stores closed.

At home we did chores around the house and I spent a lot of hours getting things ready for Monday -- to start some sort of home school/mom school with Serafina to keep our days as normal as possible.  We kept getting messages from friends trying to figure out what exactly the estado de alarma meant as originally it was not very clear.  Can we go for a run by ourselves outside?  Can we take dogs for a walk?  Can we be outside in our patios or yards?  So many unknowns...  Police were out and about telling people to go home or to get off the closed beaches.

But at around 10PM I heard a huge commotion outside with people clapping and cheering -- I went outside to find ALL of my neighbors out on their front porches clapping, cheering, waving at each other.  I learned later that the whole country went out on their balconies and porches to applaud the health care workers.

Overall today was hard, more closures and things cancelled, more unknowns.  Serafina not understanding why she can't leave our property.  Trevor and I figuring out our new normal with everyone home...

March 15, 2020 (Day 2)
Again we woke up to more bad news -- the case numbers in Spain had TRIPLED with over 2,000 new cases of COVID in ONE day.  We learned that the government had cracked down even further due to people still not following the estado de alarma lock down.  You could only be out of your house ALONE to go to essential activities (work, grocery store, pharmacy/doctor and that is pretty much it).  You will be fined and even imprisoned for breaking the rules; highways are closed and the police and government have absolute control.  It is eerily quite outside, especially given the nice weather.

We mostly stayed home and did our normal Sunday activities, except for leaving the house as a family.  I did go to base to grab a few things we wanted/needed and to get some things for a friend.  I was shocked at how many families were shopping on base -- didn't they know we were required to do things alone and not bring the whole family out and about?!  (Yes I understand many people here don't have a choice and have to bring their kids with them, but I saw more families with both parents + kids than I did single parents + kids). 
signs on the floor at the stores on base to promote social distancing
We learned that the whole country would be applauding health care workers again, but now at 8PM so the kids could join in!  Children are being encouraged to make posters of rainbows and put them in the windows letting everyone know we are doing well and staying home -- Serafina's classmates are sending each other videos through our group chat.  The loneliness is real but the sense of community even being confined to our houses is quite amazing.

Overall, today was better -- Trevor and I are slowly getting into a grove.  Serafina had a harder day and we are doing the best we can at explaining to her what is going on without freaking her out.  But still, it's hard.  We are healthy and safe, but we are surviving one day at a time.

March 16, 2020 (Day 3)
We had a lazy start to the morning -- Serafina slept like shit (excuse the language) so Trevor and I got her set up with a movie when she woke up and we kept sleeping.  Not ideal but it was needed to get through today.

Once we were all up and functioning, Serafina and I started mom school.  We started with the Story Bots episode on How People Catch a Cold -- made it so much easier to explain to her why we are locked inside our homes to keep ourselves and more importantly other people safe (don't worry, still healthy over here).  Mom school went well, Serafina was excited and ready to learn.  It sounds crazy but I am not quite sure of her abilities in English so we started pretty basic and easy.  She definitely prefers math over literacy!
Then we just kind of passed the time -- working out as a family (Trevor had the smarts to get Ring Fit Adventure for our Switch so we have a fun way to workout), playing so many Barbie and Lego games and trying to avoid the TV if we could help it...  But by 3/4PM she is usually over it, desperately wanting to go outside our property.  Poor girl asked today if "school was sick" wondering if that is why she had to stay inside and not play with her friends.  

Of course today we learned of more restrictions and closures -- pretty much everything on base is closed.  We can't go within 3 kilometers of our houses (there are exceptions but it is mainly just to get to work); police are out and stopping people or escorting them home if needed.  We must carry receipts with us in case we are stopped, to prove we were out doing necessary errands.  In fact, we have a legal paper allowing Trevor to go to and from work.  It is absolutely silent outside except for the birds which is so weird and kind of creepy.    

But it isn't all bad, we are getting things done around the house that we have put off forever.  We are spending time as a family and of course looking forward to 8PM every night when we go out onto our front porch and clap for all the healthcare workers who are on the front lines of this crisis.  And then all the reports of Spaniards having fun and keeping in good spirits despite being quarantined.  My friends and I had a virtual happy hour tonight and we are constantly checking in on others to make sure we are still doing okay. So while we aren't too fond of our new normal just yet, we aren't going totally crazy!

March 17, 2020 (Day 4)
Today was slightly harder than the past few days.  The day was rainy and cold so we couldn't even get outside to our patio/car port for some fresh air.  Trevor also had to work today (his one day a week) so it was just me and Serafina all day -- and it has been a long while since we have stayed home ALL day when both of us were healthy, so it was LONG.  Still trying (and feel like I/we are failing) at explaining to Serafina why we can't go outside our property, why we can't go to school, why we can't go see friends.... And worse, Trevor gets to go to work one day a week, I will probably go to the grocery store one day a week -- but poor Serafina cannot go anywhere.  We are not allowed to go out together or we will be fined or jailed.  It is 100% necessary and I fully support this lock down, but today it was hard to deal with.

Mom school went well, Sera was ready to learn and did great -- she for sure struggles with letter sounds in English but that is okay because she sure knows them in Spanish!  And my favorite was that she "fixed" all the ones so they looked like European ones.  And she kept using little sayings in Spanish to show me how to write the numbers and letters; it was so cute!  And I got a great workout in while Sera cheered me on or colored.  I cleaned out the closet in the play room (a chore I have been putting off forever), then we just kind of hung out.  Of course we all went outside and clapped at 8PM again tonight and it was SO loud with music playing and everything -- lifted my spirits and just what I had needed.

March 18, 2020 (Day 5)
Today was better.  Trevor was back home which helped a lot -- we could bounce Serafina around between us and get some breaks.  Serafina was also less over it today, I think we are all starting to accept this as our new normal for the next while.  Shockingly no new restrictions today, that we know of -- but rumors are that grocery stores and pharmacies will move to a rotating schedule to reduce the number of people going and such.

I had a great schedule all lined up for us which we have been following VERY loosely (so basically not following it).  We do mom school daily and then it is just kind of winging for the rest of the day -- I have activities planned and ready for when we absolutely need them but for now, we haven't needed them.  Serafina usually helps us make lunch and dinner and works out with me and lots of dance parties.  And today we had a big fun surprise with a video from Serafina's teacher -- oh she was SO excited.  Every day we are finding joy in the little things.

And today our 8PM applauding was extra special tonight -- the local and national police drove through the towns blaring their sirens in support of US staying home, following the state of alarm rules and just overall showing the most amazing sense of community.  Our neighbors were blasting music and we all had a dance party on our own porches.  If I had to be locked down anywhere in the world, I am so thankful it is in Spain.

March 19, 2020 (Day 6)
Today was shitty, sorry no other nice words for it.  The morning was extremely rough.  During mom school Serafina had a HUGE meltdown -- crying and pleading and begging to go back to school and crying that she hated our house... And to be honest, I am right there with her.  So we snuggled and cried and just took it easy.  And finally after a long time, Serafina calmed down and we enjoyed the afternoon -- even doing some hands on learning activities (one that Serafina's teacher sent us and another from Busy Toddler -- seriously a lifesaver if you are quarantined).



All of these emotions for all of us right now are normal.  What we are going through is not normal, what is happening in the world is not normal.  Our lives were flipped upside down in a matter of days -- and it freaking sucks.  But I also fully 100% support that this lock down needs to happen to keep us and everyone else safe.  And I am so thankful that we have the technology to keep in touch with friends -- constant texting, voice messages, scheduled video chats that keep us going throughout our day.  Serafina and her classmates are sending voice messages back and forth and we recently started emailing with her teacher.  It keeps us all connected and reminded that we are not alone in this crazy time. 

While we didn't have an new restrictions today, the police really started to crack down -- fining people for taking walks outside, questioning more people who are out (asking where they are going, what they are doing out, asking to provide proof you are telling the truth).  The Spanish military also arrived in town today to support the local police.  We haven't gone out yet but I do need to get to the grocery store tomorrow for produce and to be quite honest, I am a little scared...  But I will keep everyone posted as to how it all goes tomorrow.

March 20, 2020 (Day 7)
I didn't update last night -- I needed a break.

We woke up to Trevor having some sort of nasty stomach bug so he was out of commission all day (which was rough for all of us since Serafina wanted to hang out with Trevor and I needed a break).  Also can't wait for this to pass around the whole house (fingers crossed for us).

I went to the Spanish grocery store shortly after they opened and well, it resulted in breakdown #3 for me of this whole situation.  I walked to the store to get some fresh air and made sure to keep my reusable bags on my arm in case I was stopped (I wasn't).  I passed one person on the way and we each moved very far away from each other to pass -- a very weird experience when the Spanish are notoriously known for their lack of personal space.  The store was quiet (which is practically silent by Spain standards), no families shopping, no kids running around, no traffic jams throughout the aisles.  Everyone was wearing masks and gloves, not just the workers.  I ran into a parent from Serafina's class and we stood 6+ feet apart and talked, no hugs, no dos besos which was so hard -- all I wanted to do was greet this parent in the Spanish way and we could not.  I walked home fighting tears and the new normal we have to get used to for however long and just lost if when I got home.
So the day was easy, we all needed it.  We did mom school and I got my workout in (to help me mentally) but Serafina also spent a long time using ABC Mouse on the tablet (thankfully it is learning based).  I am counting down the days when Disney+ is released in Spain!
Well we have survived a week.  It still doesn't feel real and I don't think it ever will.  I know this lock down will last a lot longer than the original two weeks.  The weather has been crap (rainy and windy) so that hasn't really helped our moods -- we can't even get outside on our patios.  I have been trying to do two workouts a day to keep myself busy and moving.  My goal is still mom school five days a week but I am also not pushing it.  We have projects around the house (mostly organizing) that we are working on slowly -- no point in doing it all at once since we have plenty of time.  The number of new cases being reported each day just keeps rising (over 3, 500 the other day).  I keep thinking it HAS to start to go down at some point and soon, right?

I still believe this is 100% the right thing to do and I wish Spain had locked down sooner to be honest.  I hate it, no point in sugar coating it -- being locked inside our property is awful, not seeing friends is awful.  It all sucks.  BUT I know that this is needed and we are doing the right thing and I look forward to the day when we can go out with friends and hug and laugh and play together.

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