As to my story – let us start with the spring holiday in March. We were in Seychelles, but, despite the fact that there were no restrictions (except the temperature-taking on arrival), the vibes were strange. There were far fewer tourists than normal, and most of the time I felt guilty enjoying myself considering the pandemic raging in the rest of the world. The greatest drama was flying back to Addis. We learned that the government was imposing a mandatory quarantine for all arriving in Ethiopia on the day that we were to fly in. Luckily for us, its implementation was postponed by a day, which meant that we missed it by only three hours.
Several days later, we departed for Sofia. The shock there was that our four suitcases did not arrive with us but got stranded in Istanbul, where we had the connecting flight. When we went to report our missing luggage, the young man informed us with a sympathetic shrug that we had been (unbeknownst to us) on the last Turkish Airlines flight to Sofia, and we would have to wait until flights resumed again to get them back! Well, we did - three months later….. What did this teach me? That life is still great with only one pair of shoes.
A week after we arrived, I celebrated my Covid quarantine birthday. Now that is an exaggeration because there was only my husband and myself. (And what plans I had been making for a grand Sabit party!) However, the cake and the flowers that were delivered were lovely. Yet, on my birthday, the corona death rate (versus the recovery rate) on a world scale was 22% (Worldometer). Never before had I really considered the fact that my birthday could be possibly my last one….. Currently, though, this same figure has dropped to 4% (in September).
The rest of the summer was dedicated to renovations at home: new tiles, new pipes, new fixtures in the corridors, bathroom, and lavatory. Exciting stuff! I will not give you a blow-by-blow account of our numerous and very productive husband-wife arguments that would usually take place in shops amid other arguing couples J Since the renovation entailed plumbing works that deprived us of running water, we were forced to go on holiday away from our own home. This gave us the marvelous opportunity to travel around beautiful summertime Bulgaria and meet up with cousins, some of whom I hadn’t seen since childhood.
Another important aspect of summer 2020 were the antigovernment and anti-corruption protests that have been rocking the country for two months now. I can proudly say that I joined those protests several times and wish I could have done even more.
So what have these strange months taught me? That doctors, and nurses, and medical researchers should be the best paid professionals. Followed just one step behind by teachers and educators. That, despite technology and social media, people need people. And that lipstick is not that important when you’re wearing a mask.
Good to be back!
Lucy Venkova is a High School English teacher at ICS.