This ended up being a very long post, so I divided it in three parts.
Today is my 60th day in quarantine. I've been self isolating at home since March 13th and let me tell you, it's been a roller coaster. In January, when I started seeing more news articles about the spread of COVID-19 in China, I didn't give it much thought. We are bombarded with so much information everyday that I thought "Okay, that's just another story." Then the weeks went by and it started taking over the news cycle. It had left China and expanded to other countries in Asia, then it hit Europe, and then it got really bad.
I remember I was at an office party, the last social event I attended before we started self isolation, and talking to some people there about the virus I said "It will be okay, we're all going to be fine. Let's not stress about it." Later that same day I went to my weekly hot yoga class. I rushed to the gym because the class tends to be full and I wanted to guarantee my spot. There was no need to rush, only three people had showed up to class that night. We chatted before class started and the overall opinion was that it would all be fine and that people were overreacting. Some people, including myself, were even taking advantage of the low prices on airfare and going on vacation. One woman was going to the beach in Florida and the other was visiting friends in D.C. I had bought tickets to Portland, leaving the next weekend.
When I left class, one of the women I was chatting with passed by me and said, "The President just closed the border to European countries." I thought "What? No way!" And sure enough, chaos was on the rise. I got in my car to drive back home and turned on the radio, I thought to myself, "This is not good, this is bigger than I thought." All the positivity and calmness I was displaying earlier in the day went out the window, and I really started to worry we were in trouble.
The next day, like many people, I decided to go get groceries, just in case we wouldn't be able to in the coming days. The news changed by the hour, so I wanted to be prepared. I went to my usual supermarket and OMG, chaos everywhere. It took me at least 15 minutes to find parking, as so many other people had the same idea. Inside there was barely any food left on shelves, and that's when I started panicking a little bit. Not because I was worried I wouldn't be able to buy food, it wasn't like we didn't have anything at home, but seeing other people freaking out made me freak out. It was a very weird experience.
I wasn't ignoring the news for the past weeks and I knew that the virus had the potential to cause a pandemic, I just wanted to stay positive and believe that the people who could help prevent this, a.k.a. the government, was going to do their job and take care of it. Oh how wrong I was. Things went from bad to worse that following week when we were told to shelter in place and stay home for the foreseeable future. It was surreal, I felt like I was living in a sci-fi movie. And with that came a mix of emotions. Laugh all you want, but I could not get this movie out of my head... an infected person boards a train, it then proceeds to attack other passengers and they too become infected, and it spirals out of control. That's how I was seeing this pandemic, a train full of zombies out of control.
I worked from home for the first two weeks and was relatively able to keep a routine. I appreciated the extra time to do chores around the house and was enjoying working from my balcony taking in the afternoon sun. At the end of March, my company had a staff meeting where we were told that 70% of us would be let go of, myself included. I was heartbroken. I had just been told I lost the job I loved so much, and with it, the income that I count on every month. I started crying so hard I was sobbing. My husband was sitting next to me throughout the meeting and when he heard what the meeting was about, he came to my side, hugged me and said, "We're gonna be okay." In that moment I did not believe him.
To be continued...