This is not my usual blogpost. But nothing is as usual right now. As I type this the latest figures for Coronavirus here in Spain are 1300 deaths and 25000 confirmed infected, and Madrid is still the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. This post is my account of the last few days…

From the very start of 2020, we were looking forward to March….literally counting down the days. You see March was when we were going On our dream mini trip to Paris, then on to Disneyland with our daughter who was beside herself with excitement . Little did I know at that point March would become more like a very bad dream.

In January 2020 I was fully aware of the coronavirus. It would be hard not to have seen the news reports from China. I remember talking to my husband about how horrendous it must be for those poor people locked in their apartment 24 hours a day, can you imagine that? …I never dreamt that this would become our reality. 

So having watched far too many pandemic and zombie apocalypse movies in my time, as the outbreak spread so did my anxiety. As our trip grew closer I was convinced we should not take it. My fear was we were going to Paris- where the disease seem to have a stronger hold, that we would be trapped in Paris and not be able to get back to our home here in Spain or the UK. However no restrictions were in place then and I did feel but I was probably over reacting. We left for Paris with gloves, anti bac, wipes, (I even had a bar of soap in a Ziploc bag) and strict instructions to keep our hands in our pockets, so to act as some kind of deterrent from touching our face.

For the record, I’m so glad we did make that trip. We had the most amazing time and I’ll save all the details of that for another blog. There was no fear in the air, literally everything was as normal at Disneyland. Definitely no social distancing there. And we’ll always have Paris…

We took as much precaution as we could on our flight home , with gloves, I wiped everything down , I literally shrieked at my daughter every 30 seconds ‘don’t touch anything don’t touch anything’, and we arrived back home to what we thought was normality on the Saturday night. 

When we were away we had already decided to do a big shop on the Sunday we were back. We were so pleased to get to the supermarket and everything was as normal, plenty of loo rolls etc. .There was no panic buying at all, but I was really aware of what was happening in Italy and I just had that ominous feeling that lt was going to happen here next.

That Sunday was also International women’s day & there was a huge march in central Madrid. Over 120,000 people took part. How this was allowed to go on during this time words fail me. It then all changed the next day!! Suddenly everyone was talking about the virus, it was deadly, the old people’s homes in Madrid seem to be infested. People were dying, the numbers were doubling, tripling, the schools would be be closing, the virus was here and spreading rapidly. My daughters school closed on the Tuesday. I don’t know if she will go back this school year now. They initially said for two weeks, we know it’s going to be a lot longer. But we didn’t anticipate what was to come.

As the death toll rose and the virus took a hold on Spain, predominantly in Madrid , The rumours circulated that we would go into full lockdown just as they did in China and Italy. I really didn’t know what to do. We are in Madrid for another year, our house back home is rented out, we Couldn’t ask those people to leave at this time. Would we be happier housebound in our apartment in Madrid where we have everything we need, or do we head to the UK and rent an Airbnb for God knows how long and have none of our stuff there. We couldn’t stay with my mum she is classed as elderly and that’s too much of a risk. I wouldn’t even be able to see her. This is actually the thing I’m finding the hardest in all of this if I’m honest. I haven’t seen her since Christmas, she was due to visit at Easter, I just really miss her.

Then the inevitable happened. Madrid went into full lockdown. Everything is closed, we are not allowed out. These are the reasons you may leave your household, one person at a time.

1. For essential journeys i.e. going to work if you’re a key worker.

2. To get food. The shops are fully stocked, they are guarded, everything is extremely sanitised and there is hand sanitizer everywhere. We will not run out of food so stop panic buying back home.!

3. To walk a dog, being extremely mindful of social distancing

4. To use a pharmacy- they are still open. 

That’s it. There are no walks in the park you cannot even use a communal area in your-apartments should you have one. Police patrol the streets ready to fine or arrest you being out without a valid reason. Madrid is in a desperate state, we have to do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus. And we are, people are adhering to the rules. The city is silent. We are all over a week into this now, and I see the UK is starting to take similar action, although you can still go out for a walk, be very very grateful for that. 

So we are taking each day as it comes. Looking to the future, whenever that is, but looking to it with such excitement. We will never again take for granted our freedom..

I’m not going to write lists here of what you should do, how you should use your time, what you should do with your children,…there is a million of those lists out there now. What I will tell you is that I’m going to take something incredible from this. I’m going to look at every little positive and hold it close to my heart. You will have seen on my Instagram stories the clapping and singing from the balcony at 8 pm every night.

We are waving and sharing greetings with neighbours we would never have met. One of the apartment blocks near us turns into a nightclub from 8 to 8.30pm every night, they have speakers, strobe lights and everyone parties in their apartment holding their phone torchlight up for everyone to see.  it’s a busy city full of apartments, which is sad for those that have no outside space, but also warming that you just have to look out of your window and you’ll see someone clapping and waving along.

Beautiful acts of kindness I’m being shown every day, WhatsApp groups, Facebook and Instagram lives, FaceTime parties with my friends, virtual lessons with teachers, and obviously there are millions of entertainment channels Sky, Netflix, Apple TV , we have so much to keep us entertained. it’s taken this for actual chats to happen more; less WhatsApp more FaceTime. Life slows down, and you realise just how lucky you are having friends who’ve been so supportive.

As it currently stands we don’t know how long we’re going to be inside for. Some rumours say April, other say until summer. I really hope it isn’t the latter. But I’m not focusing on the end, rather dealing with it one day at a time. 

As of last night in the UK, public facilities have now been locked down. All I will ask you is to just really listen, do not go out. It does not just affect the elderly. It is spreading rapidly. Stay in and look after yourselves and your family. Don’t end up like Italy or indeed Spain. Stay in!

Your actions affect everyone. Whilst you are home with your kids, don’t compare your teaching methods to other people. Don’t compare at all. Do you what you need to do. When it comes to kids & screen time, just relax, this isn’t forever. This is so difficult for children & teenagers too. Talk to them. Be kind to each other. We are all in a state of shock really. Be kind, be patient & give each other space. Information is power, but too much information is overkill. I had to take a day off from the news yesterday. The first few days I was glued to it watching the British news, following the Spanish news, until it seemed to completely overwhelm me.

Having a little break and watching some trash TV is really good for the soul!! (I mean there’s never been more quality trash to choose from and The Real Housewives of BH is back soon my personal FAVE).

Be kind. We can get through this. We ARE all in this together. I miss you Madrid, can’t wait to dance in the streets again soon ❤️

The SummerMama x

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