1-7 days

It has been a week since I moved to Drumshambo and am now in quarantine. Relocating during a pandemic can be scary, especially if you come from a heavily affected country like Italy. Despite this, I was elated and eager to arrive. In the last two years, I have lived in Rome: the eternal city, the homeland of countless beauties. My plane left from there, to arrive in Dublin a few hours later. Sometimes, despite the masks, the rubber gloves and the signs that tell you to respect the distance, you forget that you are in the middle of a pandemic. Physical distance doesn’t match people’s emotional distance: again, with a mask pressed over their mouth, here in Ireland, people are ready to help.

My current level of English is not bad, but I must admit, that in times of need, it often abandons me. In my initial moment of disorientation and in search of the bus to Carrick-On-Shannon, I saw various people take that extra step to help me, with information or a gesture of kindness. Even if small, these acts of courtesy can make a difference for a young and bewildered Roman.

My journey had started well. I had arrived smoothly at my destination. Ahead, I had a week of quarantine in my new room and then, after a nice negative result on the Covid test, I would have been free. It was definitely a challenge.

First things first:

The first night in a new house is always weird. It is made up of discoveries and decisions: ‘where will I put my things? Will the bed be comfortable? Did I remember to bring the power adapters?’. A thousand questions flashed through my head every second. ‘Questions of utmost importance’, you may be considering. Well, at that moment, I couldn’t think of anything else. Then, I looked around and thought: for a year this will be my home and I started to become aware. I had finally arrived and that was the beginning of a new life.

The next day I compiled a nice list. For those who don’t know me, I’m Simona, the CEO of lists. Therefore:

1. Unpack the suitcase;

2. Charge the pc;

3. Try not to think about Italian food.

‘Here, this last point will be difficult’ I said to myself. Especially if I can’t leave my room. In Italy, however, there is a proverb that says: ‘Country you go to, customs you find’. Therefore, reassured by the age-old Italian wisdom and with an unmotivated trust, I started quarantine.

Here I am, a week after those fateful perplexities. For those wondering, yes, I can confirm that I survived the first seven days.

But how is the quarantine going?

My survival is mainly due to Silvia, a volunteer and flatmate, who supported, with great patience, the task of feeding me. Meanwhile, I began to get to know the various components of the organization through the Zoom platform and the projects that GEAI is carrying out. Obviously, I couldn’t and still can’t wait to participate in everything one can be part of.

Looking out of my window in Rome I saw only buildings. Constructions as far as the eye can see. Who is lucky, maybe has a park near the house. It wasn’t my case. Here, opening the window, I found green meadows and a nature that I have only seen in movies. I don’t miss all that concrete at all.

A quarantine is easier with a view like this
A quarantine is easier with a view like this

The effect that quarantine has on people is interesting. As for me, I sometimes appreciate moments of solitude and introspection. On the other hand, when these moments are not interspersed with others of sociality, the very meaning of being alone loses its value.

The first days passed in a flash, among the various news and giving myself time to acclimatize and get used to it. But when the routine begins to appear, the prospect of being alone starts to weigh.

From the fourth day on, even the mere prospect of going to the supermarket began to take on an unusual attractive connotation. The meetings with the members of GEAI on Zoom were the only interesting interaction of the day and I began to wait for them with a certain amount of zeal. If you come from a metropolis like Rome, contact with people is almost inevitable. It is a habit that is not given much importance until you are in a situation like this.

Simona is our brand new Volunteer: find out how Marine‘s and Silvia‘s quarantine went and how Tania is dealing with volunteering from Belarus!