Un quatrième témoignage anonyme d’une personne migrante sans-papier

Le covid-19 a-t-il affecté ta vie de tous les jours? Comment te sens-tu face à cette situation et les règles imposées? 

Oui énormément, j’ai encore plus peur qu’avant de me faire expulser car c’est pire dans mon pays. Je fais encore plus attention et ai peur de perdre mon travail comme s’est arrivé à des ami.e.s à moi. 

As-tu une expérience personnelle de vie pendant le covid-19 qui a été plus difficile que tu souhaiterais nous partager? et quelque chose qui était plus facile pour toi pendant cette période? 

J’ai eu le covid, et avoir été enfermé.e pendant 10 jours a été très très dur. Heureusement mes patrons m’ont beaucoup aidé. 

Qu’as-tu appris de positif pendant cette période, as-tu quelque chose à partager avec les citoyens? 

Mmmh… je ne sais pas. 

Penses-tu que le covid a impacté ta santé mentale? Dans quelle mesure? Est-ce que tu as eu le covid-19? Tes proches? 

Alors comme j’ai dit, je l’ai eu et cela a été compliqué car j’avais très peur pour ma santé physique et cela impactait ma santé mentale. C’est très stressant… pour le travail, le logement, l’argent, la santé… tout. 

Vous avez besoin de soutien ou un proche, amie-e en a besoin?

Besoin d’un soutien ou d’un conseil concernant votre santé mentale? N’hésitez pas à visiter la page des ressources sur ce site. https://mentalcovid19.com/pour-les-adultes/

Services pour les personnes issues de la migration à Genève: (pour d’autres cantons n’hésitez pas à contacter Caritas dans votre région)

Caritas Genève: Organisation caritative indépendante. Nous nous engageons contre la pauvreté et soutenons les familles et personnes démunies, sans distinction de statut, d’origine ou de croyance. Rue de Carouge 53, 1205 Genève — Site web: http://www.caritas-geneve.ch/caritasge/homepage 

Un troisième témoignage anonyme d’une personne migrante sans-papier

Le covid-19 a-t-il affecté ta vie de tous les jours? Comment te sens-tu face à cette situation et les règles imposées? 

Il m’a un peu impacté au début, mes patrons n’avaient pas besoin de mes services pendant le premier confinement, mais ensuite c’est revenu à la normale.  

As-tu une expérience personnelle de vie pendant le covid-19 qui a été plus difficile que tu souhaiterais nous partager? et quelque chose qui était plus facile pour toi pendant cette période? 

Pour être honnête ça n’a pas changé grand chose, avant le covid j’étais déjà très seul.e, la seule chose qui changeait un peu c’est pour faire les courses. Après j’ai lu qu’il y avait de plus en plus de contrôles d’identité… Donc je me méfie beaucoup de ça car certain.e.s amie.s ont déjà été contrôlé.e.s. 

Qu’as-tu appris de positif pendant cette période, as-tu quelque chose à partager avec les citoyens? 

La santé et la famille restent le plus important. Il ne faut pas l’oublier. 

Penses-tu que le covid a impacté ta santé mentale? Dans quelle mesure? Est-ce que tu as eu le covid-19? Tes proches? 

Non, je n’ai pas eu le covid et ma santé mentale était déjà mise à rude épreuve même sans le covid… Mais je connais des gens qui l’ont eu et pour qui ça a été très dur mentalement et économiquement car elles ne pouvaient plus travailler et donc plus d’argent…. 

Vous avez besoin de soutien ou un proche, amie-e en a besoin?

Besoin d’un soutien ou d’un conseil concernant votre santé mentale? N’hésitez pas à visiter la page des ressources sur ce site. https://mentalcovid19.com/pour-les-adultes/

Services pour les personnes issues de la migration à Genève: (pour d’autres cantons n’hésitez pas à contacter Caritas dans votre région)

Caritas Genève: Organisation caritative indépendante. Nous nous engageons contre la pauvreté et soutenons les familles et personnes démunies, sans distinction de statut, d’origine ou de croyance. Rue de Carouge 53, 1205 Genève — Site web: http://www.caritas-geneve.ch/caritasge/homepage 

Centre social protestant: Questions d’argent, de couple, de réfugiés, questions juridiques : les professionnel-le-s du CSP soutiennent toute personne en difficulté, sans distinction de nationalité ou de religion. Rue du Village-Suisse 14 Case postale 171 1211 Genève 8 — Site web: https://csp.ch/geneve/?v=77c15b8369ec

Centre Contact Suisse Immigré: Un pôle d’expertise sur les questions migratoires qui travaille en faveur des droits des migrantes et des migrants dans notre pays. Par l’accompagnement individuel au sein de ses trois consultations comme à travers l’engagement pour une politique migratoire d’ouverture, le CCSI défend une société qui traite sur pied d’égalité toutes celles et tous ceux qui la composent et la font vivre, quelle que soit leur nationalité d’origine. CCSI 25, Route des Acacias (4e étage, entrée sur le côté de l’immeuble) 1227 Les Acacias / Genève — Site web: https://ccsi.ch/

Liste d’autres associations travaillant avec et pour les personnes migrantes à Genève: http://xn--aideauxmigrantsbnvolat-q8bb.ch/reseau-associatif-genevois/ 

Un deuxième témoignage anonyme d’une personne migrante sans-papier

Le COVID-19 a-t-il affecté ta vie de tous les jours? Comment te sens-tu face à cette situation et les règles imposées? 

Oui absolument. Avant c’était plus facile de travailler et faire le ménage, maintenant comme les gens restent chez eux, ils n’ont plus besoin de nous. C’est très compliqué, j’ai vraiment peur pour l’avenir. Pas seulement pour ma santé mais surtout pour savoir si je vais pouvoir me nourrir et comment. En plus ma famille se trouve au Nicaragua et la situation y est encore plus dure, ils comptent  sur moi… Je ne sais pas comment on va faire, j’espère juste qu’on sortira vite de cette période. 

As-tu une expérience personnelle de vie pendant le COVID-19 qui a été plus difficile que tu souhaiterais nous partager? et quelque chose qui était plus facile pour toi pendant cette période? 

Le plus dur c’est d’être seul-e ou presque ici. En Amérique Latine la famille est très importante, on se voit tout le temps et partageons tout. Ici c’est très différent, donc être enfermé-e-s ou presque dans ces conditions, sans pouvoir travailler ou avoir un minimum d’interactions sociales…  c’est dur. Ma santé mentale est mise à rude épreuve et j’ai le sentiment que je n’ai pas le droit de craquer… De tout façon je ne peux pas craquer… En plus j’ai vu que les contrôles de police sont de plus en plus fréquents, ça me fait vraiment peur. 

Qu’as-tu appris de positif pendant cette période, as-tu quelque chose à partager avec les citoyens? 

Honnêtement pas grand chose, ça montre peut-être juste que la santé est ce qu’il y a de plus important, mais si on a pas de quoi manger… 

Penses-tu que le COVID-19 a impacté ta santé mentale? Dans quelle mesure? Est-ce que tu as eu le COVID-19? Tes proches? 

Alors, je n’ai pas eu le covid mais il m’a définitivement touché d’un point de vue mental vu la situation dans laquelle moi et des centaines d’autres personnes nous trouvons actuellement… Loin de nos familles, amis, sans parler la langue ni pouvoir travailler… Je partage mon appartement avec 3 autres personnes et n’ai aucune intimité, c’est très dur. 

Vous avez besoin de soutien ou un proche, amie-e en a besoin?

Besoin d’un soutien ou d’un conseil concernant votre santé mentale? N’hésitez pas à visiter la page des ressources sur ce site. https://mentalcovid19.com/pour-les-adultes/

Services pour les personnes issues de la migration à Genève: (pour d’autres cantons n’hésitez pas à contacter Caritas dans votre région)

Caritas Genève: Organisation caritative indépendante. Nous nous engageons contre la pauvreté et soutenons les familles et personnes démunies, sans distinction de statut, d’origine ou de croyance. Rue de Carouge 53, 1205 Genève — Site web: http://www.caritas-geneve.ch/caritasge/homepage 

Centre social protestant: Questions d’argent, de couple, de réfugiés, questions juridiques : les professionnel-le-s du CSP soutiennent toute personne en difficulté, sans distinction de nationalité ou de religion. Rue du Village-Suisse 14 Case postale 171 1211 Genève 8 — Site web: https://csp.ch/geneve/?v=77c15b8369ec

Centre Contact Suisse Immigré: Un pôle d’expertise sur les questions migratoires qui travaille en faveur des droits des migrantes et des migrants dans notre pays. Par l’accompagnement individuel au sein de ses trois consultations comme à travers l’engagement pour une politique migratoire d’ouverture, le CCSI défend une société qui traite sur pied d’égalité toutes celles et tous ceux qui la composent et la font vivre, quelle que soit leur nationalité d’origine. CCSI 25, Route des Acacias (4e étage, entrée sur le côté de l’immeuble) 1227 Les Acacias / Genève — Site web: https://ccsi.ch/

Liste d’autres associations travaillant avec et pour les personnes migrantes à Genève: http://xn--aideauxmigrantsbnvolat-q8bb.ch/reseau-associatif-genevois/ 

Un premier témoignage anonyme d’une personne migrante sans-papiers

Le COVID-19 a-t-il affecté ta vie de tous les jours? Comment te sens-tu face à cette situation et les règles imposées? 

Oui énormément… J’ai perdu mon travail à cause du covid et c’est très difficile d’en trouver un nouveau dans ces conditions car je travaillais dans la restauration… En plus comme je n’ai pas de papiers c’est d’autant plus dur. Les règles imposées me paraissent parfois difficiles à suivre, un jour on ouvre, le lendemain on doit fermer 2 mois et il n’y a pas d’aides ou de cohérence des fois… Certes il faut protéger les personnes âgées mais il ne faut pas négliger les autres parties de la population pour autant. 

As-tu une expérience personnelle de vie pendant le COVID-19 qui a été plus difficile que tu souhaiterais nous partager? et quelque chose qui était plus facile pour toi pendant cette période? 

Cela a été très très difficile pour moi car non seulement j’ai perdu mon travail mais en plus ma famille est loin de moi, il fait froid, je n’ai pas beaucoup d’ami-e-s ou de famille ici… Ce n’est pas évident mais j’essaie de tenir. J’essaie de rester optimiste et me dire que la situation va s’améliorer mais c’est difficile je dois avouer. 

Penses-tu que le COVID-19 a impacté ta santé mentale? 

Oui énormément, je ne dirais pas que j’ai fait une dépression mais il m’est souvent arrivé-e de craquer psychologiquement. C’est très difficile de se retrouver dans un pays étranger, sans entourage, de perdre son travail et d’être constamment inquiet-ète de se faire expulser ou dormir dans la rue… J’arrive à faire des petits boulots par-ci par-là mais c’est pas facile. On a tendance à oublier que ce virus ne touche pas seulement la santé physique des gens.

Qu’as-tu appris de positif pendant cette période, as-tu quelque chose à partager avec les citoyens? 

Je suis arrivé-e en Suisse il y a 2 ans et j’ai été surpris-e de voir à quel point les gens étaient pressés en général. Avec le COVID je pense qu’on a une nouvelle vision de la vie où il faut relativiser et ralentir. On a la santé pour beaucoup d’entre nous, c’est déjà ça. 

Vous avez besoin de soutien ou un proche, amie-e en a besoin?

Besoin d’un soutien ou d’un conseil concernant votre santé mentale? N’hésitez pas à visiter la page des ressources sur ce site. https://mentalcovid19.com/pour-les-adultes/

Services pour les personnes issues de la migration à Genève: (pour d’autres cantons n’hésitez pas à contacter Caritas dans votre région)

Centre social protestant: Questions d’argent, de couple, de réfugiés, questions juridiques : les professionnel-le-s du CSP soutiennent toute personne en difficulté, sans distinction de nationalité ou de religion. Rue du Village-Suisse 14 Case postale 171 1211 Genève 8 — Site web: https://csp.ch/geneve/?v=77c15b8369ec

Centre Contact Suisse Immigré: Un pôle d’expertise sur les questions migratoires qui travaille en faveur des droits des migrantes et des migrants dans notre pays. Par l’accompagnement individuel au sein de ses trois consultations comme à travers l’engagement pour une politique migratoire d’ouverture, le CCSI défend une société qui traite sur pied d’égalité toutes celles et tous ceux qui la composent et la font vivre, quelle que soit leur nationalité d’origine. CCSI 25, Route des Acacias (4e étage, entrée sur le côté de l’immeuble) 1227 Les Acacias / Genève — Site web: https://ccsi.ch/

Caritas Genève: Organisation caritative indépendante. Nous nous engageons contre la pauvreté et soutenons les familles et personnes démunies, sans distinction de statut, d’origine ou de croyance. Rue de Carouge 53, 1205 Genève — Site web: http://www.caritas-geneve.ch/caritasge/homepage 

Liste d’autres associations travaillant avec et pour les personnes migrantes à Genève: http://xn--aideauxmigrantsbnvolat-q8bb.ch/reseau-associatif-genevois/ 

Janneke from www.rechargehouse.nl, an energy expert, shares her thoughts with « Hi beautiful beings! »

Did you ever have the feeling that something big was going to happen? 

At New Years Eve 2019 I told one of my best friends that it was going to be a transformative year. Both for the world and myself. At that time I didn’t know it would be that kind of transformative. Hello COVID…  

Transformative because I am convinced that our planet and we as human beings are in a crucial state where consciousness is evolving. We come from a world that is mostly led by fear and anger, we move to a love based world where connection is key. Why do we “need” COVID for that, you think? Because nothing grows in a comfort zone. Our world needs to shake up before change can happen. In 2014 I experienced a burnout and at the same time I was diagnosed with an aggressive skin cancer. It felt as if my whole world was upside down. I turned inward and discovered that I was not living in alignment with my soul. At that time, I worked as a lawyer and was not happy with it. It was only until the time my body said “STOP” that I was able to make changes to follow my heart. Now I literally feel energy flowing through my body, I’m working with healing techniques (such as Reiki and Shambhala), I give intuitive massages to help people to heal and assist them to connect again with their body, mind and soul. I’m living in a beautiful authentic finca in Ibiza, my work actually feels as a hobby and I’m SO grateful !

Coming back to COVID. You can see this period as a burden, as a hopeless time where you can’t have any fun. You can also see this period of time as an opportunity to grow. You have a choice. Always. The social isolation gives us time to connect with ourselves and find out how we want to go forward. Is this the life you want? Are you working with your talents and gifts? Are you expressing your true self to the world around you?

I’m not saying that it isn’t a challenging time. Some of you have lost their job, been sick or lost loved ones. And it takes courage to deal with that. One of my challenges is to not get caught up in the energy around me. I sometimes feel down because of the way the media feeds our fear by only informing us about infections, death rate and hospitalizations. This makes me wonder: do they realize how massive impact this fear-based energy has on our immune system? 

For me it feels that as a result of the government measures, people forget how powerful they are. And also, they’re forced to be drifted apart. We are not allowed to give each other a hug, social distance seems as the new normal, friends and family can’t be together when they need it the most. My grandfather just died and our family needed to make emotional decisions about who can and who can’t come to the funeral. It just doesn’t feel right. I also believe that we all want this virus gone as soon as possible and that everybody deals with it in his/her own way. However, for me the only way out is to stay connected. Don’t let different opinions and social distance drift you apart from friends and loved ones. We are all in this together. We are one.  

We don’t need to close our eyes for what is going on in the world. But we surely don’t need to be feeded with ideas of how helpless we are against this virus and that the only way out is a vaccin. 

Beautiful being, I just want you to remember this.

Remember that you have an immune system. Your immune system is such a powerful guardian, protecting your body from all sorts of invaders. Feelings of fear/stress have a massive negative impact on your immune system. 

I take care of my immune system and give it a boost everyday. How?

– I go outside for a walk for some fresh air (without mouth mask), even if I don’t feel like it

– Energetic bodywork and breathing exercises

– Eating fresh fruits and vegetables

– Use of essential oils

– Gratitude meditation 

– And so important: Enjoying life! Doing things that make me happy. Like writing this article.

I know. You might be tempted to get lazy, watch your favorite Netflix movie over and over again. Preferable with a bag of chips. And that’s ok. But realize that this behaviour is maybe a way to (unconsciously) suppress your emotions. It’s a way of distraction that prevents you from facing what needs to be seen. For example, feelings of anger, fear, loneliness. These emotions can’t come up to the surface if you keep distracting yourself. Howver, they need to come up to grow and evolve. How scary it might feel, try to be with your feelings. Sit down, focus on your breath and feel which part in you body needs attention. Do you have a heavy head? Is there a heavy load on your stomach? Are the muscles in your neck tight? Focus on that area and breathe into it, that’s all you have to do. Make space for your emotions and the way they express themselves in your body. If you reconigze your emotions and pshyical expressions, they will eventually transform and make space for something new. For me that’s called self-love.  

Although you might feel restricted because of government measures, there’s always a possibility to take care of yourself. There’s no excuse not take care of yourself in this turbulent time.  

And yes. There’s fear. There’s anger. There’s loneliness. But there’s also connection. Beautiful initiatives (as this website). People who are shining their light on the world and others. To evolve and grow. All together. 

I still see the beauty in this world. Do you? 

In Love,

Janneke 

* Feel free to reach out to me if you’re feeling stuck. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a lot of energy and love to give  *

www.rechargehouse.nl

janneke@rechargehouse.nl

+31 6 52 11 75 03 

Anna, an italian woman from Milan, sharing her story “we are safe, I am so grateful for it!”

Some weeks ago I wrote the following letter:

« I am Anna, I am from Milan and I am currently living and working nearby Milan, in Lombardy, the Italian region most-hit from covid-19.

I am going to start today my 10th week of confinement at home, with country rules which became gradually more thought. I live in a small apartment with my husband and the first weeks I could get out, have jogging and visit my brothers and sisters who lived 1 Km away from here. But now, I can just walk once per day (alone) for 200 mt from my home and I can’t visit anyone, for any reason. Last time I saw my friends and my family was the 8th of March. Is it difficult? Yes, it is. Every day I look for huge hugs from my husband because I miss so many hugs from my family and my friends. We spent the first Easter in 2 (in Italy we are used to have minimum 20 people for a lunch together during holydays). But I am very lucky, I must say it: I can easily work from home and I have a safe place where to stay, with the most important person of my life. I can workout at home and all my family is safe.

When everything began I was very scared: our life was changing so fast and there was so much uncertainty on this virus. My husband couldn’t work from home and there was also the possibility for him to loose his job. But, most importantly, I was afraid for my grandma (and still I am). She is my favorite person in my family, but she is old, she has a lung cancer and she lives in Milan in an apartment with my grandpa alone. From the first time I called her and I keep on doing it almost every day: she is not scared of the virus, but she is missing us human contact so much. Some weeks ago she told me “Every morning I hope for someone to ring the bell, I of course hope it could be someone of my family, but anyone else it’s fine enough! And you know what? Everyday there is someone who come to visit me: a week ago I saw a cute bird on the balcony, and in a week I followed him making a nest in the tree in front of us! Yesterday, the cat of the neighbor jumped in the balcony next to us and he stayed there all day long. There are so many stuff happening here around!”. It was of course a discussion just to reassure me since she knows I am worried…but this was for me a turnover in this quarantine. Since that moment on, I started focusing on what I am grateful for, and not on what I am missing.

I can see that this circumstance is going to change our life, but I can see also that any change in life needs us to look at it as a chance and not a disgrace. When I was helping an adolescent doing his jobs last year in Geneva, I remember him told me “I don’t wanna become an adult, there are so many difficulties: you have to pay for your own apartment, you have to take care of it, you have to pay bills, find a job and so on and so forth…that’s annoying”. Of course, any change could be seen as difficult if you look at it from the outside, but when you’re living it…it can even be marvelous.”

I was planning to integrate this letter in the coming days. And a week ago – still having these conditions in Italy – my home completely burned down. Something happened in the apartment over my house, and when the firefighters arrived at my building, the flames had already devastated the entire building, and my apartment as well. My husband and I just bought that apartment 4 month ago and while everyone is keeping on telling us “stay at home” because of Covid-19, we don’t have an home anymore. We slept at my parents’ for some days but they don’t have enough space, therefore we finally found an apartment to rent…for the next 6 months (since we have been told we can’t go back to our home before). I just read the letter I wrote again and I want to send it exactly as it is. I cried a lot due to this situation, I felt lost and restless. But what I experienced during lockdown and I wrote in this letter worked deeply on me and my husband. The day after the fire my husband told me “we are safe, I am so grateful for it!” In this unforeseeable situation, where I lost everything I had (not only the physical connection with my beloved one) I really want to keep my mind up looking at what I do have in my life, to better face the changed life I have ahead.

Paul, 24 years old, working for a Canadian airline, no more flying now…

My name is Paul, and I am a flight attendant working for a Canadian airline. I love flying so much that I used to be away from home working almost 20 days a month. But now, I’m grounded. No more fancy layovers, no more working with people, no more take offs and landings, no more flying. Zero.

This has been such a big part and focus of my life. Now this being taken away from me makes me feel extremely empty and lost. Living by myself probably makes it worse, as I wasn’t allowed and shouldn’t be seeing friends and family or even making non-essential trips outside of home due to governmental regulations. Not talking to a single living person (FaceTime is still really different) makes me feel obviously lonely and sometimes repressed. I remember telling my sister several times that I’d probably get depression if I’m locked completely in my house and I am not even trying to be funny.

I have been trying to keep myself busy over the past few weeks, but it isn’t easy given the current crisis. There aren’t a lot of job opportunities at the meantime and a lot if not all of schools and agencies are shut down due to the virus. I feel helpless sometimes but have to constantly remind myself that this would be over one day and I just have to be more patient. However since most of my peers and family are still in Taiwan, seeing them continue to go on with their lives as usual (Shout out to the Taiwanese government!!) does give me a very complicated feeling, as I feel like I’m the only one wasting time, passively waiting for all this to be over.

I consider myself as an independent and emotionally strong person. I personally and already find it really hard at this time so I couldn’t even imagine what it’s like for others who are not mentally as tough as I am. I do hope that sharing this would let more and more people know that you are not alone and we are all in this together. 

And of course, Kudos and Thank you to all the frontline medical and healthcare workers. You guys are the best. Hope that we will all get out of this soon, and I’ll see you in the friendly skies one day.

Fabio, an italian pharmacist, « happiness is only real when shared »

I’m an Italian pharmacist, one of those workers who’s living this time among the people but at the same time far away from the ones I care the most. It’s a weird situation to feel alone seeing everyday hundreds of faces (or it’d better to say hundreds of masks).

This happens because the love we receive from your family, partner and friends is the real happiness of our lives and this pandemic is surely helping me to better understand the value of it and which has to be my priority. This is the most important lesson I’ve learnt and borrowing a quote from ‘Into the wild’, it hasn’t been clearer to me how much true is that ‘happiness is only real when shared’.

A big hug to everyone is feeling or has to face this time alone!

Manuel partage le 23 mars son expérience personnelle par écrit

L’explosion de cas en Suisse n’a réellement commencé qu’il y a deux semaines mais face à l’inquiétude croissante qui s’en dégageait, j’étais très préoccupé pour ma copine qui se trouvait au Kenya depuis un peu plus d’un mois. Quand je voyais la vitesse à laquelle se propageait le virus et les mesures qui étaient prises comme la fermeture des frontières, je tenais à ce qu’elle rentre le plus rapidement possible. L’Europe étant l’épicentre de la maladie aujourd’hui, elle était de plus en plus victime de stigmatisation par une partie de population locale, ce qui me faisait peur. La semaine dernière a été très dure car cela était de plus en plus difficile à la faire rentrer en Suisse, mais nous y sommes néanmoins arrivés il y a deux jours. Ce genre d’expériences nous fait relativiser.

Jenny, 26 years old, a tough decision to go back to Canada

I am a 26 year old Canadian who was living in Switzerland as I pursued my Master’s degree when the pandemic was declared. I was a month and a half through what was supposed to be a six month internship. Like most of Switzerland, I had transitioned to working from home and was turning down social engagements, aiming to comply with social distancing to limit the spread of the virus.

Then, on March 16, the Canadian Prime Minister issued a statement urging Canadians to come home while commercial options were still available. Around the world borders were closing and flights were being cancelled. It felt like if I didn’t leave now, I didn’t know when I’d be able to. My parents made it clear that they wanted me home.

It was a tough decision. Leaving meant quitting my job, knowing that there were no job prospects back in Canada. It meant no hugs or goodbyes with my close friends in Europe, not knowing when I’d see them again. It meant choosing to put myself at risk of contracting the virus when travelling (which involved a tram, train, and plane, all of which were acknowledged to be points of risk), and then enduring a strict 14 day quarantine. I also knew that upon returning to Canada it wouldn’t be the home I was used to. I wouldn’t be able to see and embrace all the friends and family I missed, or delight in eating at my favourite restaurants. I knew that home would look a lot different this time.

Compounding this challenging decision was the knowledge that time was of the essence. I had already heard the frustration of friends around the world who had flights cancelled at the last minute. I worried that if I waited a week to decide to go home it would be too late, I wouldn’t be able to. Flight prices were also a factor, as I worried that prices would jump with a decrease in supply and increase in demand. Of course, in hindsight I now know that flights flew between Switzerland and Canada until March 28, and prices were regulated to make sure they were not extortionate, but at the time there was no guarantee that this would be the case.

In the end it was a small thought, needling at the back of my brain, that was my deciding factor. I needed to be home if something happened to someone I loved. Once I realized that, the next steps became clearer and easier. I booked my flight that night (March 16). On March 17, I quit my job, packed up my life, sent voice messages to my European friends letting them know, and took a train to Zurich, boarding a plane in the early morning of the 18th. It all happened very quickly.

The following three weeks have felt incredibly slow by comparison. The days blend into one another, and weekends are no different than weekdays. Even though my days are quite full, filled with exercise, reading, Zoom calls, watching the news, and cooking, they feel slow. Life is going at a different pace right now, which takes some adjustment.

Life in Canada looks drastically different these days, as it does all over the world. Individuals are encouraged to only leave their home for essential reasons, such as picking up groceries and medication, and this should only be done 1x/week. You need to keep a distance of 6ft between you and other people who are not part of your household, and failure to do so can result in a $1000 fine. Non-essential businesses and schools have been closed, and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs. The Canadian government is no longer struggling to avoid a recession, instead focusing on avoiding a depression. A lack of PPE has health care workers around the country scared.

This crisis has further heightened my awareness of my privilege, thankful I had my parents to fall back on during this crisis. While a 14 day quarantine is never ideal, I have to acknowledge that my setup was pretty good. My parent’s house is large enough that I was able to have two rooms and a bathroom that were entirely mine, so they never had to cross into “my zone.” My parents cooked delicious and nutritious meals for me, that were slid across the floor to me using an extendable paint roller. I had internet access and was able to virtually chat with friends everyday. This is all in addition to the things I take for granted everyday, which include a roof, heating, a non-violent household, and more. The fact that I was able to quit my job knowing that my parents would be able to support me when I moved home is a luxury many people cannot even fathom. I am very aware that my privilege is a key factor in my ability to cope with the current crisis.

I also think this privileged position means I have to work that much harder to comply with the government’s social distancing rules. The mathematical models for SARS-CoV-2 do not expect a 100% compliance with social distancing, acknowledging that this is impractical. Instead, various models predict what would happen if 40% to 70% of the population comply. I think people in similar positions to myself, for whom social distancing is manageable with minimal discomfort, need to make sure that we are doing it to the fullest extent possible. Stay home because we know that some people can’t.

Like most people, I’m anxious about what the coming weeks, months, and years ahead will look like. But overall, I have been really inspired by the acts of kindness and support I’ve seen in the community. I hope this continues long after we are able to shake hands and hug one another because the road ahead will be challenging.