Saturday, April 25, 2020

COVID-19 Quarantine Updates (Week 7)

Well here we are, the start of yet ANOTHER week.  This will be our 7th week in a very strict government and military (through the Spanish) enforced lock down.  This is the week that hopefully can set the tone for the possible loosening of the restrictions...

But if you need a refresher on our past weeks -- week one here and week two here and week three here and week four here and week five here and week six here.

April 25, 2020 (Day 43)
Ugh, a LONG day.  Rainy and wind.  There was another massive storm in the middle of the night -- so much flooding out in town and in people's houses (thankfully not our house).  Trevor and I cleaned + organized the house and Serafina had a lot of meltdowns.  She didn't sleep great last night -- so much coughing, despite her inhaler (so another call to the doctor will be happening on Monday).  And that was pretty much our day...
Children are allowed out of the house starting tomorrow which should be interesting... We have told Serafina about it but she is very confused, not quite understanding how the germs haven't gone away but she can go outside now.  There have been SO MANY articles and handouts being sent around (both by the Spanish and the base) about what it'll look like and what we can/cannot do.  And then also books and handouts explaining to the children what is happening (which is needed, these kids have been told for 6+ weeks they can't leave their house).  Even an official document from our town government.   

More good news today -- another day of more people recovering from COVID than new cases!  Spain has also increased the number of antibody tests they are performing  and is now separating the numbers (those with active cases of COVID and those with positive cases through the antibody test).  And the number of active cases are continuing to decrease.  And there is notice from the president that all citizens (and us) may be able to go outside for an hour of exercise each day starting May 2nd.  I am sure it will depend on how everything goes this week with children being allowed out....  Cross your fingers for us!

April 26, 2020 (Day 44)
Today was a big day -- in many ways.  Today I should have been running my half marathon in Madrid with some friends so I was a little bummed to be missing yet another thing because of COVID.  The race has been postponed so hopefully it will all still work out...

BUT today was THE day that Serafina could go outside our gate for the first time since March 14th -- and while she was a little nervous, she was also SO excited.  In her own way to understand and process everything, she asked so many questions about what was happening.  But we had a blast, her riding her bike and me walking beside her.  We ran into a few other parent + kids out and everyone was very aware of giving each other 6+ feet and keeping our distance...  It was quite surreal actually, to be going outside our gates without going to the grocery store or to get mail -- just to be outside.  And then not talking to anyone and not seeing a lot of people, just odd.  But it felt good, normal.

More good news for numbers again today too, a significant drop in numbers for new active cases.  AND no new patients have been admitted into the ICU for the past fifteen days in the major hospital in our province (in Cadiz).  And the the death toll finally dropped under 300 for the first time in weeks, all very very positive signs.  The government will vote on April 28th to loosen restrictions even further if the downward trend continues.  So keep crossing your fingers for us!

April 27, 2020 (Day 45)
Another big day for us.  First up, the numbers in Spain are still looking really really good, another drop in active cases and more news from our regional government of Andalucía that they plan to slowly reopen everything throughout the months of May and June.  So hopefully the numbers continue to go down.

Then Serafina's inhaler wasn't working the way we wanted/needed it to so we called the hospital (our medical system here is a joint hospital + regular doctor's office so we all just call it the hospital) to check in.  Once again they were amazing and recommended we come in... Because it is a joint hospital + doctor's office, everyone has to go through a screening before entering the actual facility.  Because Serafina has a dry cough + shortness of breath, we knew that we would be flagged and screened so us + the doctors decided it would better if she got screened today and then go from there for an appointment if needed.  I was extremely nervous for the screening, since they did warn us everyone would be dressed in hazmat type gear so I explained it to Serafina that the doctors would be dressed like superheros and that worked great -- she was not scared at all.  And they were WONDERFUL.  Thankfully she did not have to be tested for COVID seeing as she has had her cough for 2+ months.  The doctor did hear wheezing so we got ALL the steroids for her and will do a full breathing work up/exam when COVID is no longer a threat with a specialist in Jerez.

Then the biggest news of all -- WE GOT A PUPPY!  It has been in the works for a month or so and we have slowly been acquiring things for our sweet puppy.  Serafina figured it out pretty early on so EVERY SINGLE DAY she has asked when the puppy would arrive.  He finally arrived today and we are all in love.  He is tiny and just barely 6 weeks old so he doesn't do a whole bunch, plays for a little then falls back asleep which frustrates Serafina because all she wants to do is play with him.  He is a miniature schnauzer which we are excited about since he is hypoallergenic and supposed to be very good with kids + families.  Perfect for us!  So -- internet world, mean our newest addition, Gustav the Puppy.

April 28, 2020 (Day 46)
Another decent day.  Serafina struggled a lot with Gustav and not wanting to let him sleep and instead wanting to play with him all day -- but that is to be expected.  But overall she did well, we laid some ground rules and while she isn't pleased at a few, she is getting it.  We went on a bike ride today and ran into our really good friends which was so amazing and so hard at the same time. The kids did well trying to stay 6+ feet apart which was pretty sad to see.  Serafina and I also made cookies and of course all she wanted to do was eat the dough :)

Another decrease in numbers for active cases and another update from the Spanish government that things will slowly start relaxing every two weeks, starting this weekend -- with everyone allowed out for exercise (most likely similar to what we are able to do with the children, one hour a day and within 1km from your house).  But again all positive signs of moving in the right direction and at a safe and slow pace!

April 29, 2020 (Day 47)
Another day with much of the same -- mom school + puppy time.  And now that we can ride bikes (or basically be outside for an hour), we work that into Serafina's day too.  So far I am the only one that has gone with her, as only one parent is allowed to go...  Probably need to change that soon since an hour in the house by myself seems heavenly right now!  Serafina has chosen to ride her bike and I walk/run along side her.  We can go for an hour within a 1km radius of our house, so today we did a little over 2 miles and didn't use the whole hour -- and enjoyed heading down by the beach!  Serafina is doing well with the puppy, learning that it is hard to leave him alone when he is sleeping.  I, on the other hand, seem to be quite allergic to our so called hypoallergenic puppy :(  We are doing all we can to make it better for me (attempting to get an air purifier and a better vacuum which is not easy when nothing is open and Amazon isn't really shipping), but we have high hopes I just need to get used to him (and for the outdoor pollen to go away too)!

A slight rise in numbers today :(  Which makes no sense to me when there were four days of decreasing...  Who knows.  BUT the bigger news out of Madrid is that the president announced a four phase plan to get us to our "new normal" which will hopefully happen by the end of June.  Here is an article (in English) outlining the phases and such. 

April 30, 2020 (Day 48)
Wow, it is the end of April.  Still not sure when it will all really end and we can go back to hugging friends and such... The Spanish government released its four phase plan in further details today (they are starting with a phase 0 which we are currently in).  Starting Saturday, ADULTS can go out on walks/runs for exercise and with similar rules as the walks for children -- one hour only and within a 1km radius of your house.  AND there is a schedule for who can go out when, it is kind of ridiculous but also makes sense, especially for the larger cities.  Adults will be able to go outside to exercise from 6-10AM and again from 8-11PM and children will be able to go out (still with one adult) from 12-7PM.  Another adjustment to our routine, but we will make it work.

Our days pass by pretty much the same except now things happen between puppy nap times since Serafina wants to just play with Gustav.  She is also on steroids due to her asthma and while I love that she somehow sleeps with NO nightmares or night terrors while on steroids, she is SO hyper during the day which is SO hard, but tomorrow is the last dose of oral steroids so that should help.  Hopefully. 

Today was hard though because it should have been the first day of our town's feria or spring fair. It is seriously THE best event in southern Spain and my favorite weekend of the entire year. So it was just a little depressing to know that we are missing out on something amazing today.  But we drank our rebujitos and put on some nicer clothes for a quick picture.
May 1, 2020 (Day 49)
Another week down....  I honestly don't even know when I will end these seeing as this could go on for MONTHS, as the phases to slowly release us don't end until mid-June and even then it isn't all a guarantee that it will all go according to plan. Maybe once things get a little looser, I will start doing weekly updates, who knows...

Trevor had to work today in the office so it was just me, Serafina and Gustav for most of the day.  Gustav is such a chill puppy which works great for us, especially now with our steroid hyper + crazy child (thankfully today is the last day, although I will miss the better sleep -- first picture is of her WILD eyes).  We did mom school this morning even though it is a Spanish holiday (their Labor Day).  We went on a bike ride and Serafina begged me to play with "just one friend" -- it was so sad and so sweet. 

The big news out of today was that there doesn't seem to be a time or distance limit on when adults go outside to exercise which is really awesome (you just can't leave your city limits).  Everyone is pretty excited and we know this is a step in the right direction.  I find it odd I could take a walk at 10PM but I may just do that tomorrow night -- head down to the beach and see the sunset.  While the beach isn't open to sitting or sunbathing, we can walk it which I fully plan to do (which if you know me, I HATE sand so this is a big deal).  We find it odd we still can't walk as a family, but oh well -- after 6+ weeks of no walks, we will take what we can get.   

Saturday, April 18, 2020

COVID-19 Quarantine Updates (Week 6)

Starting our sixth week of government enforced and controlled lock down to stop the spread of COVID.  And no, I do not think this is too much and I am not mad at the Spanish government for implementing this lock down over six weeks ago.  In fact, I applaud them -- I am happy to be in a country that is taking this virus seriously and keeping its citizens (and visitors safe).

But if you need a refresher on our past weeks -- week one here and week two here and week three here and week four here and week five here.

April 18, 2020 (Day 36)
This will be a quick update since we are doing a Zoom chat with our friends.  Today was a good day -- Serafina had a virtual playdate with her cousin who is lives here in Spain (but of course we can't go over and hang out) and the girls chatted for easily almost four hours.  It was awesome because Trevor and I got so much cleaning done!  We also made s'mores on the BBQ which was pretty fun.  Serafina loved roasting the marshmallows but wasn't totally sure about the actual s'more :)

April 19, 2020 (Day 37)
I wanted to write so much more last night but we had a Zoom chat with our friends and that was more important and also SO MUCH FUN...

But first a little about our day.  We had another great day.  Serafina actually slept in which was so nice since Trevor and I stayed up way too late chatting with friends.  We had a slow start to the morning -- our neighbors dropped off flowers for la niña, she was so excited.  And then Serafina got the bright idea to create a donut stand (like a lemonade stand but with donuts) and wanted to sell them to the neighbors. She made a sign, got out a table, taped up the sign.... we just needed donuts.  So she and I made some baked chocolate cake donuts (with sprinkles on top of course).  And her stand was ready!  She sold donuts to me and Trevor (3 per donut, she is a smart kid).  Then we asked her if she wanted to share some with our some of our neighbors and she was SO excited to share her treats -- and also insanely nervous to be leaving our house (first time stepping outside our gates since March 13th).  She asked for a mask and held Trevor's hand the whole time. It was so sweet and so sad.  I know we broke all the rules but we were safe and kept our distance from our neighbors (and Serafina walked maximum 10 feet outside our gates).  Our sweet neighbor across the street made a point to say that she wished she could give la niña a hug and a kiss but that it is not safe right now.  Again, so sweet and so sad.

So now onto ALL the things I wanted to mention last night but didn't have time... So yesterday evening our phones were constantly going off with text messages because there has been ACTUAL reports from the Spanish president that starting April 27th we will be able to GO ON WALKS.  While the Spanish have graciously accepted the importance of the lock down and all that comes with it, many have been upset that children are not allowed outside for walks, especially for those that live in apartments.  There have been articles in the NY Times and another on NPR about the restrictions in Spain keeping children confined inside.  The president officially announced yesterday to extending the lock down but loosening up on some restrictions, such as letting children out for walks and allowing people to exercise outside (read more here).  AND there's even been a spreadsheet of sorts floating around outlining the next phases of releasing us and returning to "normal" life but that it may be different in each region because each area has been affected differently by the virus.  The document is all in Spanish so actually the first hour of our Zoom chat last night we spent translating it all together.  There are six stages in all (we are currently in the first stage and it is set to end on April 26th) and takes us all the way to October, slowly and safely returning to "normal" life.  AND the leader of the government in Andalucía announced today that he will be requesting that our region be the first to ease up on restrictions because of our low infection rate.  All of this information gave us all so much hope.  We should know more when the cabinet votes on Wednesday, but keep your fingers crossed for us.

(Just a few funny translation notes on the spreadsheet type document which is actually insanely detailed.  So for the 5th phase with is July through September it states "this will be the strangest summer in recent history."  It also states that schools will hopefully open in September to "liberate the parents" which could not feel more true right now.  And one of my favorite parts, it says even through the summer "hugs and kisses" are not allowed.  The Spanish are VERY touchy/feely and will greet everyone with a hug + dos besos (two kisses).  It has been a HUGE deal for them to stay 6+ feet apart from others and not hug + kiss everyone -- so every single thing that has been put out about the restrictions has made sure to mention NO hugs + kisses.)

April 20, 2020 (Day 38)
A low key day -- most of my day was spent figuring out ALL the messages that came in from Serafina's school group chat.  Now that we has officially entered the third trimester of the school year, the school + teachers are going to start asking for parents to turn in various assignments to be graded (which I agree with) but it adds a slight challenge for us since everything is in Spanish and then trying to teach Serafina in Spanish...  I emailed her wonderful teacher and told her what Serafina has been doing in English and that we will do our best with the Spanish assignments.  We will be using a combination of WhatsApp, email + Google Classroom to turn in assignments, allowing families to use what works for them.

Serafina did great with mom school and then we just kind of hung out all day.  She did not sleep well last night so we are all pretty tired (poor thing screamed in her sleep early this morning, woke herself up and then never went back to sleep).  Serafina did help Trevor make dinner which is probably one of her most favorite things (she loves cooking and baking)!
April 21, 2019 (Day 39)
I didn't want to write tonight.  Still don't want to write.  Mid-afternoon we got word from an El País article and then had it confirmed in our daily update from the captain of the base that the loosening of restrictions will not exactly be what we expected.  And to say we are disappointed, mad, upset, sad (and many other choice words), is a slight understatement... I just feel defeated.  We have been in full lock down with insanely strict government restrictions for 39 days.  THIRTY NINE days.  And there seems to be no end in sight which is really rough to deal with...

So if you read the article you learned that originally everyone expected that children would be allowed to go on short walks and escape from the house -- something which none of us have been able to do since this started.  However, this was backtracked earlier today with stating that children would be allowed out only to accompany one parent out to do essential tasks, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy.  WHAT?!  As you can imagine, this led to some uproar across the country and in our community.  Obviously these lawmakers have never gone to the grocery store with children -- they touch EVERYTHING.  And we are required to wear a mask + gloves in a grocery store.  I know Serafina would NOT wear those willingly and also never the entire time.  So somehow an enclosed space is safer than the open and fresh air -- makes no sense.  And because I am not about to subject my child to the stresses of grocery shopping in this time nor subject the other shoppers to her unsafe (but very normal childhood) behaviors, we will continue as if no changes were made to the lock down...  (I should note that this (taking children to the grocery store) was already allowed if there was no options for someone to watch the children.)

UPDATE: even later tonight, we got word from yet another article that the government did a big U-turn and will allow children to go on walks starting April 26th -- we should know more tomorrow after their official vote.  I don't really know what to think... at this point, I am just going to wait until we get official word.

April 22, 2020 (Day 40)
Forty freaking days. WOW.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would be in full lock down for this long, but I also understand why we are.... I have also gotten so many questions about how we are doing it -- no walks, can't really leave the house, and more... And to be honest, I don't know.  I really don't know how we are doing it.  We wake up each morning and we do it again (and again and again).  And as I have said before 8PM just keeps us going many days, just get to 8PM.  And I write here so the days don't all blend together, even though they do.

Today was a big day for us -- first up, Serafina finally got diagnosed with mild asthma (over the phone of course).  We all think (the doctor too) it was a long time coming, but luckily it is mild.  She had a huge issue with coughing and breathing back in early March that resulted in an ER trip and sadly it never really went away (didn't ever get bad to warrant a trip back to the ER).  And the good news is that the doctor is confident it isn't COVID or anything serious.  So she was quite excited to get some medicine to help with her cough and to help her breathe.
BUT in even BIGGER news.  THERE WERE NO NEW CASES IN OUR SMALL PROVINCE OF CADIZ TODAY.  I REPEAT, NO NEW CASES IN CADIZ.  This is huge, it won't end our lock down but it is a huge step in the right direction.  And the Spanish government officially voted to ALLOW children to go on walks starting next Monday.  They will work out the details (times, duration, etc.) over the coming days. 

And honestly that was pretty much our day.  I ran all the errands in the morning (took me forever which is the norm now) -- commissary, Spanish grocery store, post office...  Trevor did some dad school with Serafina and we hung out (oh and Serafina let me braid her hair again)!
April 23, 2020 (Day 41)
Another uneventful day around here -- we were all just kind of blah today.  The weather was nice but insanely windy making it hard to be outside.  Serafina has been waking up SO early making us all just a little tired.... We did mom school + some homework from her religion teacher.  We also learned that children will be able to go outside of their houses/properties for one hour each day starting April 26 (there are quite a few rules -- can only be with one adult, must practice social distancing, don't have to wear a mask, can ride bikes and play but cannot go to playgrounds, can only go within 1km of where you live....).  We are just excited to be able to get out for a bit each day!
watching her religion teacher and eating some apples
April 24, 2020 (Day 42)
And here we are, the end of yet another week...  And another good day around here.  Trevor had to go into the office to do his weekly tour of his job sites.  So it was just Serafina and I for most of the day.  She did NOT sleep well last night, so I snagged a little extra sleep while she seemed content to play by herself.  And she made me a worksheet to do for Serie school which was pretty much the cutest thing ever.  So for mom school today, she did a lot of the "teaching" which was really great for me to see how much she has learned (a lot).  We also did another assignment for her Spanish school which is always fun for both of us.  We made a cake and since apparently you can't have cake unless it is someone's birthday, Serafina decided it was Trevor's birthday (it is not his birthday) so we sang and had candles -- the works.

AND for the first time since all of this began in Spain, in the last 24 hours there were more reported recoveries from COVID than new cases!  AND the last 24 hours saw the lowest deaths since March 21 -- this is all such good and positive news!  The Spanish have also started conducting antibody tests showing many people were asymptomatic but had COVID.  We hope this all means that we will slowly be released from our lock down, although we all know it'll take months (years...ugh) to go back to any sort of normal we had before March 2020. 

But we survived another week and will keep at it -- and I hope these updates aren't boring or ridiculous.  I don't think I ever thought I would still be doing them 6+ weeks later....

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter 2020

Well this Easter sure looked different than anything we have ever experienced...

I had to giggle as I read back on last year's post about our Easter since I mentioned a few times "our Easter was different this year" -- how naive I was back then.  I meant it in the way that we were not around for the processions that occur throughout Semana Santa or Holy Week and instead traveled most of the week.  You can read about our past Easters -- here (2016) and here (2017) or here (2018).

However, this year we weren't given a choice to not see the processions as we are in an estado de alarma or state of alarm thanks to the coronavirus pandemic that is currently affecting the entire world.  And this year we weren't given much of a choice as to how we spent our Easter as well -- with only those in our household as the entire country of Spain is on very strict lock down orders.  You can read more about our weeks in lock down -- week one here and week two here and week three here and week four here and the start of week five here.

Knowing that we would be confined to our houses for Easter, Trevor and I talked early on and decided to not make a huge deal out of it.  We knew that Serafina (and us) needed as much routine as possible.  But we would still do a few activities mainly because they are fun and to break up the monotony of our day to day in lock down.  I attempted a spring stamp activity using paper towel rolls for stamps -- and while it didn't turn out the way I had planned, Serafina sure had fun and that is all that matters.
We have two very close friends here who had bought egg dying kits to do with Serafina but of course we weren't allowed to do that (which bummed me out) but we decided to do a virtual egg dying event.  And we all had SO much fun -- Serafina was so excited to show off her eggs and she just wanted to keep dying all the eggs.
Every year the base does a big Easter Egg hunt and Color Run but obviously this year it was cancelled (and because everything is ordered so far in advance, they already had ALL the eggs).  The base put together bags for families to pick up full of pre-stuffed eggs so we could do our own hunts at home.  So in addition to Serafina's Easter basket, we also did a little egg hunt.  We typically do more practical items from the Easter Bunny but this year I raided our toy stash and extra art supplies to give us some more entertainment for our lock down!

Serafina loved her Easter basket and had a blast hunting for the eggs.  We had a low-key day of chatting with our families, playing with the toys the Easter Bunny brought and Trevor and I started cleaning out our basement storage area (Serafina sure liked it because we still haven't gotten rid of her baby toys so she had fun playing with those too)!
Overall it was a great day.  Did not feel like Easter at all, but it was a good day.  We did make a nice dinner of pot roast, mashed potatoes and carrots -- Trevor and I enjoyed a nicer bottle of wine, but we also didn't change out of our pajamas all day, no Easter outfits over here.  Hopefully next year we will be able to celebrate with family and friends!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

COVID-19 Quarantine Updates (Week 5)

Another week starting... We have at least two more weeks to go and most likely more.  While there once was talk that we would be slowly released starting at the end of April now that talk is no longer happening (from what it seems).  We know based on news reports that the president of Spain wants to extend the estado de alarma or state of alarm (that is mandating our lock down) until at least May 10th -- not creating a lot of optimism for us over here.

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

April 11, 2020 (Day 29)
Well it felt like we had been doing this lock down thing for four weeks today -- the day just dragged on and on.  Serafina woke up SUPER early to see if the mouse fairy came and was just hyped up all day with no place to go.  We did virtual egg dying with two of our very close friends here which was really fun.  Serafina had a blast and just wanted to keep dying all the eggs!  And I went to the grocery store this morning which was quite the experience... The Spanish stores were closed Thursday and Friday for part of Semana Santa so I knew today would be busy, but wow.  I walked which I am happy I did because police were checking every single car to prove that they lived in Rota (we heard that police were ALL over our province checking cars) -- it is a holiday weekend so they were making sure people weren't traveling to visit family or to their second homes (somehow sneaking past other checkpoints).  I knew I was fine since I was walking but it was intense.  The store was also doing a one in/one out so there was a decent size line outside.  And while in line, I watched a lady back into a parked police car -- oops. Once inside, it was busy but not terrible and I was able to get everything on my list.  And other than those two things, the day was LONG (and sadly one of our last sunny days for while).

And a fun little story from last night's 8PM applause -- Serafina hasn't quite figured out that we don't get to just go and chat with our neighbors during this time.  She constantly brings toys or drawings to show the neighborhood, especially with the neighbors right across the street.  And she's always asking me to tell them things, which I don't always know how to say it all in Spanish.  But last night after she lost her tooth she was SO excited to share with everyone that she lost her tooth.  So we were yelling across our street while Serafina had a BIG toothless grin showing everyone her lost tooth and that the mouse fairy was going to come (or in Spain -- it is Ratoncito).  The neighbors were all very excited for her :)

April 12, 2020 (Day 30)
Wow -- 30 days of barely leaving our house.  Serafina has not left the house/small yard since March 13th.  I know we are doing the right thing but it still makes me so sad to think about all that we (and especially Serafina) have missed the past 30 days.  Since it was a holiday weekend, we didn't get much news in the way of numbers or any thoughts on moving forward with loosening up our state of alarm -- so hopefully we will have more information tomorrow.

And Happy Easter everyone!  We had a very low key day at home and other than the Easter Bunny coming, it was a pretty typical Sunday (or typical for our lock down).  Serafina loved getting her gifts from the Easter Bunny and had a blast playing with her new toys and reading her new books.  Trevor and I cleaned up the house a little and then started the daunting task of cleaning out our basement storage area.  It needs to be done so might as well do it now!  We also had video chats with our families which is always fun.  Overall a good day.
We have lived in our house for four years and while we are friendly with all of our neighbors, we do not know them very well at all.  Some of the people on our street work on base so we tend to be more friendly with those families as we will see them in town and on base, but we don't talk much past the "hello, how are you" type conversations.  We are only one of two American families that live on our street (so everyone else is Spanish).  With our 8PM applause, we can easily see five other houses.  And every single night we get excited as we wave to all of our neighbors and they wave back.  And while I have no idea of anyone's name -- I feel closer to my neighbors that I see every single night than I probably should.  I seriously think the first person I will hug when we are allowed too will be the lady across the street from us.  She seems to be the abuela of the neighborhood and I cannot wait to learn her name.

April 13, 2020 (Day 31)
Another good day.  I have been trying to stay positive as this lock down drags on and on (or so it seems).  Cleaning out the basement storage area is a daunting task but it is keeping us going... Now if only we could get rid of the LARGE pile of things we need to donate.  We all still have our moments of negativity/being completely over it all but that is all normal and to be expected.

We still don't know what Trevor's schedule will look like moving forward for the rest of the lock down (however long it is).  He is fighting to work from home to keep himself and us safe.  Today various industries went back to work in Spain -- those that cannot work from home (such as construction workers).  It worries us that case numbers will start to rise again but hopefully not as numbers lately have been really good (both for deaths and new case numbers).

Trevor did have to go into work today (and managed to get me bleach and disinfectant spray (best husband ever!)) so Serafina and I did our usual morning activities just us -- mom school, so many art projects, reading so many books, all the puzzles.  More cleaning out of the basement and other places in the house.  Serafina has enjoyed playing with every single toy/item we pull out.

More about our 8PM applause -- the abuela across the street and the lady next to her are very close friends; I would bet they have known each other for years.  They go to the grocery store together and go walking together almost every morning.  It was fun when I was training for my half marathon, I would see them walking on the boardwalk and they would cheer me on!  I can only imagine that they miss each other terribly.  So on many nights after the applause has ended they stay out on their front porches chatting over their walls.  The abuela showing off her new grandson to her friend across the wall, it is so sweet and also so heartbreaking.

April 14, 2020 (Day 32)
I know I have said this before but it seems very surreal to be writing day 32.  I always knew this lock down would last longer than the original two weeks but it still seems so weird that we have been in lock down for a month and it has become our new normal.  I know it is the right thing to do, but I can still not like it.  Well, I love the time with Serafina and Trevor (most of the time -- ha) and the time to slow down and organize and just be... But I also desperately miss my friends and my time to myself and all the things we are missing, especially the things Serafina is missing (school, friends, Spanish language).  My very close friend here had her baby five days into this whole ordeal and obviously I have not met her new baby.  In fact, I cannot even bring her food because she lives in the next town over.  And that part I hate.

Another day.  Trevor had to go into the office this afternoon for a phone meeting so Serafina "helped" me continue to clean out the basement.  She was more interested in playing with all her baby toys but at least it kept her entertained.  She continues to rock mom school -- learning more and more in English but of course I am so sad that she is probably losing Spanish (although she did yell across the street at our neighbors tonight so hopefully not).

showing her stuffed animals to our neighbors across the street during our applause
Nothing new to report or add to our 8PM applause.  It only lasts 3-5 minutes but it sure is uplifting and we look forward to it every single day.

April 15, 2020 (Day 33)
Another decent day.  Trevor again had to go into work in the afternoon for a phone meeting so Serafina and I again cleaned out the basement -- we have officially gone through everything and now have two massive piles: one to keep + figure out how to place back into the storage area and the other to donate (somehow).  We had a late start to the day as everyone slept terribly thanks to a HUGE storm that rolled through, waking all of us in the middle of the night with loud thunder.  Serafina and I started our morning with PE with Joe who does live workouts for kids at 10AM our time which was really fun, although Serafina was mad there were no burpees.  Crazy child.
The Spanish government is expected to vote tomorrow on yet another extension of our estado de alarma but hopefully with some easing up on restrictions (one can only hope).  There was also a spike in case numbers BUT it is because late last week Spain deployed roughly 2 million "rapid tests" for COVID throughout the country so more testing in being done.  Our region of Andalucía also had a spike in numbers but it is because of the increasing in testing as well as the regional government has tested many people on the front lines and those caring for the elderly, even if they show no symptoms.  Our regional government is now reporting asymptomatic cases.  The good news is that there are more people who have antibodies against COVID but in does skew the daily data for our area.  We are all still hopeful that there is a downward trend. 

And another early post because we are all going to bed after our 8PM applause.

April 16, 2020 (Day 34)
Today was just... well, it was long.  So many tantrums and meltdowns, from all of us.  We miss our friends, we miss our old lives, we had a day where we were just over it.  And that is perfectly normal and completely fine.  Serafina desperately wants to go see her friends and told us she "would cover her mouth and wear a mask and be safe from the germs."  Broke my heart.  The positive for the day is that we finished the basement. There is a HUGE pile that needs to be donated in the middle of the storage area but the rest is all organized -- we have now officially cleaned out/organized every section of the house... and have many more days of lock down to go.  So not sure what my next project will be.  Ideas are welcome.

No pictures today.  No mom school either, wasn't worth the battle.  Numbers still aren't great, another slight increase.  I am hoping that it is because of the increase in testing, but who knows.  Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully a better one.

April 17, 2020 (Day 35)
The end of our 5th week.  With no real end in sight :(  The Spanish government now won't vote on an extension or loosening our restrictions until sometime next week.  Maybe this is good news though as the current estado de alarma is set to extend on the 26th of April.  We also learned that Andalucía isn't the only region that is adding asymptomatic cases to their number count each day and that some regions have added deaths into the count that occurred weeks ago but are just now being added as COVID deaths after more data and research is coming out... Or so I understand if I am reading all the articles correctly.  But from what I am understanding, is that this is what is causing the spike in numbers and hopefully things even out soon... Hopefully.

Trevor had to go into work again today (this time to get a laptop so he can officially work from home), but he will probably still have to go in at least once a week.  Basically we are taking it one day at a time since it changes so much.  But it meant that Serafina and I had a day to ourselves.  Which is always fun and hard.  The morning started with more PE with Joe.  We did a lot of mom school since Serafina was completely into it -- she has finally gotten the concept of rhyming and it is all she wants to do which is pretty cute.  But she is learning that English words that do rhyme don't rhyme in Spanish so it is still a little confusing for her.  She also let me braid her hair (I had to bribe her).  I have been playing with various braiding styles on my hair out of boredom with my LONG hair so I wanted to practice on Serafina -- she finally let me!

Our 8PM applause was fun tonight -- we spend a few extra minutes chatting with our neighbors across the street (in Spanish of course), Serafina was drawing them pictures.  It was pretty adorable. 

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.)

April 9, 2020 (Day 27)
Because it is Easter this weekend and some of the stores are closed, I went to the commissary on base today (much earlier than we needed but I also needed to grab mail, so better to make one trip).  We got some packages which is always fun.  Thankfully base has gotten a lot safer since they have cracked down on people not following social distancing and state of alarm expectations/rules.  But it is still SO hard going out -- I ran into friends at both the post office and the commissary and it was almost impossible not to reach out and hug them or give them dos besos (two cheek kisses).  And even harder talking behind masks.  Not a fan.  We had a low key day at home, Serafina did some dad school while I was out and then we just hung out -- played, did art, watched TV.  It was rainy today so no outside time, but also good because then I know I am not missing any Semana Santa processions for today (they don't go in the rain).
I was telling my mom more about the applause we do each day at 8M and she suggested I share some of it here too -- it originally started as an applause to the healthcare workers and all they are doing to save lives and being on the front lines of this awful virus.  But it quickly morphed into a time for us to applaud everyone, even those staying home.  And even more importantly it became a time to check in with our neighbors since we aren't seeing them out and about anymore.  As we all emerge onto our front porches, we wave to our neighbors.  We are all checking to make sure everyone is out and doing okay, even from across the road or over our walls -- it has become our daily check in.  On the few nights that someone isn't outside, questions are asked (shouted really) to make sure all is okay.  And thankfully, everyone on our street continues to be healthy and safe!

April 10, 2020 (Day 28)
Another week down.  It was a long slow one for some reason this time and I have a feeling this will be the new norm.  We also found out that Trevor will most likely have to go into work more (we won't know more officially until Monday) but I am not too happy about it as it makes for VERY long days for me and Serafina.

Today it was finally nice out (the sun was out and no winds) so we were able to spend some time outside in the afternoon.  We have a blow up hot tub that Trevor and Serafina played in; we hardly ever heat it up but have been lately just to give us something to do.  In the morning Serafina and I did mom school, made cookies and also made stamps out of paper towel rolls (it didn't turn out quite how I was expecting but Serafina sure had fun and that is all that matters).

And in HUGE news -- Serafina lost her second tooth.  It has been loose almost since she lost her first one over a month ago and the new tooth was growing in behind it, so it was time to come out.  I accidentally ripped it out as I was drying her off after her shower -- oops!  But she was pretty excited as it means the mouse fairy gets to come tonight!
Not a lot to report on in terms of numbers.  They aren't going down really, but also not going up -- staying steady around 5,000 new cases each day which to be honest I can't figure out.  We have all been locked inside for 28 days -- HOW are there still so many cases per day.  And of course the lock down extension was approved by the lower government (so extends us officially until April 26th) and there is talk that the president of Spain wants to extend us until May 10th.  Ugh.

And more about our 8PM applause -- the Spanish are known for being late.  Always.  Nothing is ever on time in Spain, you just get used to it and learn to embrace it.  However, everyone is on time for the 8PM applause, early even.  It is the ONE time that the entire country is on time for something and I love it.  Our neighbors straight across our street start playing music usually about 7:30PM each night.  And then about 7:58PM they switch to the quedate en casa song (it is a song that a bunch of Spanish singers/songwriters put together to encourage everyone to stay in their house -- it translates to stay in your house).  We all dance and clap and it is great fun!

Blog Design by Get Polished