City Confinement In Spain: Not So Bad

Coronavirus in Spain. That’s the topic of conversation of most of my weekday mornings with my students and weekends with my parents on Skype, as it probably has been for you and your family and friends wherever you live.

Predictions about how the pandemic will affect ____, how soon we’ll go back to a semi-normal life, what everyone is doing and not doing for Christmas, how the politicians on all sides are getting it wrong, how it’s so weird not to travel anymore.

I agree. It’s really odd to be mandated to stay within the confines of your city unless you have paperwork proving you can be elsewhere. This mandate came from the Spanish government back in late October to keep the virus from spreading around so much. And I admit, I had to try not to think about it on the days when I started feeling a bit claustrophobic. I think the confinement is what drove me to make Instagram posts like these when I swore I was giving up social media (I spend a LOT of time in my room):


It’s hard for people to be so restricted. The Spanish are an extroverted bunch. Here in Spain, though we couldn’t leave the city, we can go to bars and cafés – the catch is that you have to be outside on the terrace. And would you believe how full the terraces are? Any time of day, any day of the week, the terraces are full of people having a beer or a coffee with friends. In December. Wrapped head to toe in coats and scarves, not minding the cierzo (wind), having a chat. About what? Probably the coronavirus, as it’s the only thing anybody talks about anymore.

But somehow I found these last several weeks of city confinement peaceful. Not too unlike the actual quarantine – I didn’t mind staying home then either. This introvert can last for a long time on good books (I’ve read 53 this year!) and a journal. I’ve emerged from all this confinement feeling calmer, more at peace with myself. I have a list of people to start meeting up with, but I haven’t really felt like braving the elements to meet new people just yet.

Despite the fact that I’m working 2.5 jobs (one of them for the #1 ranked small company to work for in the US!) – starting around 7AM and finishing at 6:30 most days with very little time for lunch, and going to bed by 10PM – I’m managing to do things. Last week I bought rollerblades and have started skating. Best social distancing sport ever! I also took up watercolor painting again (not very well, but fun anyway). I read at least a little every day. I do yoga every morning. I still cook nearly all vegetarian during the week. I spend weekends with Ms. S, walking in the park and watching good movies. I’m finding little things that make me really happy on top of the cool jobs I have right now.

Skating at the expo

So when last weekend it was announced the city confinement would be lifted and we could travel to cities in the same province, I was like… “yay?” And let me tell you, there was a mad dash to the small villages! So it was kind of like… being in the city, being in nature. People and traffic everywhere. Lines to do pretty much everything. But on a positive note, I bought some amazing olive oil, honey and goat cheese. I got to walk around a beautiful old monastery and see a few things that weren’t my bedroom, my balcony or the buildings outside my window. I appreciated the chance to escape for a couple of days, but honestly, I’m kind of happy to be back home again. City confinement really isn’t so bad.