Because I just came back from Skopje in Macedonia to my home country which is Poland, I thought it might be interesting to share a little bit about how the situation looks like in my country, what are the differences and how it affected me during this time of quarantine.
One of the most difficult parts of quarantine during my stay in Skopje was the time of lockdown during the weekends and in the afternoons during the workdays. The moment I realized I cannot go out for a walk or to buy anything kind of hit me. Before that, I stayed at home, I tried not to go out if it wasn’t necessary and I must admit it really worked. The thing I appreciated is a sense of freedom and independence I had. I really didn’t need to go out. In fact, I also didn’t need to do so many walks and if I needed it, then it’s no problem at all to do this in the early morning. I could easily reorganize my shopping needs. But I couldn’t reorganize my sense of freedom. On the other hand, this time of lockdown showed me that I want to be responsible for my time.
I found out that it’s very important for me to find some small things to be happy about and to wait for. That’s why I created a list of things I can do (even at home) which I will not forget and which will make my day, week, or month something extraordinary. Ideas I had were very different e.g. to organize Spanish evening (with Spanish food and music), to do evening storytelling, to do a bath evening, to welcome sun by doing yoga in the morning, to do a picnic on the balcony. Anything can work!
Coming back to my home country associates with the fact that I need to stay in self-isolation for 2 weeks. Police checks if I stay at home every day. It seems to be strict and unusual, but I really appreciate all kindness I receive from emergency services during this time.
And I’m very happy to be back at home because this time of insecurity brought me to the point, where I had a strong sense of home and security need – a place where I feel I belong to and where I can feel safe, even though term safety is rather losing its meaning in this situation.
In Poland, the situation looks a little bit different, regarding the precautions taken by the government. It used to be strict (forests, parks, public nature spots were closed) but it is planned to slowly go back to broadly understood “normal”. Since May, some public places are supposed to be open again – like kindergarten, hotels, and shopping malls. Students probably will go back to school at the end of a month. Final exams for high school students will be held in June instead of May. However, elections are planned to be on time – 10th of May. Many questions appear and I really would like to have a feeling that we’re on the way to come back to normal. In fact, we all know it’s not so easy and we all should be very careful.
Anyway, something which is definitely positive here in Poland is that people can go outside again – do some sports, breathe fresh air, release from some difficult relations (at least for a moment) and because of that to take care of their mental health, which is so important nowadays. Another positive fact is that we started to appreciate it – being outside, being close to nature, talking to people, and the importance of physical activeness.
While being in a plane on my way back home, I had a thought about the power of having dreams. Even though, my dream about living in the eye of Balkans, getting to know this wonderful region, full of colors of diversity couldn’t happen, there are still so many more. It has been postponed and having a list full of different experiences I would love to try in my life is something which gives me a lot of motivation.
What I’ve realized lately is what it means to have hope and why it’s so important for me in the time of quarantine and self-isolation. I do have hope and because of this hope, I can still fight for my future. I still can dream and I can still develop myself in many different aspects, which are important for me. Lots of unbelievable things happened because of hope in the history of the world. This is what I read in a book of Rebeca Solnit “Hope in the dark” and many of her words inspired me to think more about the moment we, as humans, are facing right now and what power we have while standing together.