Blindly we build our burrows
Scraping around in the cold dark earth.
Our subterranean labyrinth reaches out,
Then, grasping nothing, collapses.
Something calls us to the surface.
We emerge confused into the light,
Bedazzled by birdsong and breezes,
The strength of the sun
Whose vast immensity
We have no capacity to comprehend.
We feel something, understand nothing.
We turn tails and scrabble back
To the industrious dark.
By Lizzie Sherwood-Smith
Bringing small children to stay with grandparents during the pandemic was terrifying to start with, dangerous throughout and then heart wrenching when it ended. God knows how we managed it, but we are all thanking our lucky stars we got away with it. It will always feel like our ‘stolen summer’. To try and reduce the spread of any germs we’d brought with us, our rule of thumb was simple. For the first 10 days, we’d pretend we had Covid, then for the next 10, we’d ‘bubble up’ with Mum and Dad and pretend everyone else had it. Gulp. Was that really going to work?
Sounds impossible right? After being locked down in Panama city for so many months, then stumped by endless difficulties getting number plates for our imported American car, it sounded like a serious break for freedom, which we were delighted to take! Less than 2 hours on the road took us from Panama’s high-rise modernity on the Pacific, all the way to the low slung, laid back Caribbean. With colourful, rundown buildings, ruined forts and beautiful little coves, it felt like another world entirely.
Flying home from Panama to London was as normal as it could be, given we were on a humanitarian flight during a global pandemic. As months of confinement in a hot and humid, strange new city dropped away under the clouds, I felt giddy with relief to be going home for a bit, to visit my Mum and Dad. But also filled with gathering sense of foreboding…
We’re back to Panama after two months away, after what felt like some serious bunking off. You know that delicious, sneaky feeling of making time, being somewhere you are not supposed to be, with people you are not supposed to see. First to see horses, then boys, now it seems I’m sneaking back home to see my eldery parents. Funny how things change.
In it’s ongoing battle to stave off Covid 19, Panama has imposed one of the strictest lock downs in the world. Since the middle of March, children have not been allowed out on the streets at all until last week, where they had 6 days of limited freedom. Today we are back to total quarantine. Here’s how we are faring!
Last week, total quarantine lifted for the first time in about 75 days here in Panama, and the children were allowed outside. Only between 4 and 7pm, but still! How exciting it was going to be! And hot! We went for a family bike ride and I felt about as wobbily as my six year old actually was on her bike.
For the last 6 weeks, I have been learning Spanish online with Baselang.com. For a flat rate of $129 USD a month, I have had unlimited hours of very professional teaching – video calling Venezuela for lessons online! 37 hours to be exact, which seems like fantastic value for money. What’s it been like learning Spanish by Zoom? Conocer más…