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16 April 2020 No comments

Celia's children visiting Granada in 2017.

As all of us know, Spain has been badly affected by the Corona virus, with the health system struggling to cope with the amount of people needing medical attention. Many of my friends and family work in the medical profession and have been keeping me updated daily on their progress, it is heart breaking to hear about the continuous struggle they are facing.

Since I left home, I have always called my parents throughout the week, usually when I walk from Hampstead to La Coqueta’s head office in Notting Hill. We always have so much to say to each other, and they continue to be calls I thoroughly enjoy. Things have changed these days and as the Covid-19 crisis has become more intense I have been calling my parents, family and friends back home everyday to see how they are, finding some sort of relief in their words and knowing that they are fortunate enough to stay safe. I know not all can say the same, and those affected by this pandemic have been in my thoughts constantly.
I am surprised every day to learn that things haven’t really changed for my parents, they continue to keep busy despite the fact they are locked indoors in a house without a garden, in the centre of Granada (my hometown). They haven't left the house at all, not just because of the heavy fines being enforced, but because they are afraid of this virus hitting them in the worst of ways and spreading throughout their community.


It continues to wonder me how, even during a pandemic, my parents always have so much to tell me without gossiping about other family members of friends or moaning about their situation whilst under lockdown. How do they do it?


I thought I would share my parents response, as I found it quite poetic given the circumstances.


“It’s easy”, my father said, “in a way staying at home is no different than retiring. What works for me is that you always need to ensure you have a to-do list that you prepare daily, and ensure you tick every box at the end of each day. It is that sense of achievement and closure that you experience after a full day of tasks. When I was in the office, they used to be work related, and I now get to find the same sense of completion when finishing my daily tasks under lockdown.”
The schedule is as follows:

8am: Shower and tidy up.


9am: “Breakfast with my wife - I always ensure I cook something different every day and prepare something delicious.” A very important ingredient, you need to prepare for great conversation.

Maybe a book you have read, a podcast you have listened to or just talk about ways to cope with isolation in your home.


10am – 12pm: Playing the guitar. My father has always been a very hard-working person and spent long hours in an office, but he never gave up his love for Flamenco. When he retired, he started daily lessons in order to cultivate his hobby.


12 - 1pm: Preparing lunch. My father is the cook at home since from very early on when I was a little girl, he imposed this on all of us, thankfully as cooking is not part of my mother’s natural gifts... sorry mum! For lunch, since they are in isolation, they have decided to be extra careful with the amount of food they eat and ensure it is as nutritious and healthy as possible. My father takes great pleasure in preparing these so that they can both enjoy.

1pm: My mother calls for a little aperitif! A glass only of wine or a beer with a little homemade tapas. It is starting to get sunny in Granada and warmer, so they both sit on the windows and enjoy some fresh air. It’s all in your head they say!


2pm - 4pm: They have their lunch over a nice glass of wine and a coffee. It is important to make it special, particularly in times like these.



4pm – 5:30pm: They are dedicating this time to friends and family over the phone. My father pointed out that it is very important to not overdo this and spend all your time talking to people on the phone, as it is all about what you make of your life.


6-7pm: They have decided to focus on chores at home, tidying up a cupboard, redo a bedroom, things they wouldn’t’ normally do because of lack of time. My father says, it’s important to do these things and tick them off. Your domestics chores are no less important than your work ones - it’s all about managing your expectations.


7-8pm: They both exercise. There is a variety of online videos which they have found incredibly helpful. In their case, their house has quite a lot of stairs, so they can make the most of it. My parents have always been into heavy walking (15Km a day of walking in the countryside since they both retired, a hobby they both shared), they have found going up and down the stairs and competing healthily with each other a good momentary solution.


8pm: Preparation of a delicious, very light dinner. My father has become an expert on preparing healthy tapas.


From 9pm: Movie night. It is interesting to see how things have changed. I grew up in a household where we could only watch tv when it rained (this means coming from the South of Spain, never!) Through the lockdown, my parents have joined Netflix and are enjoying a variety of series and documentaries. A completely new world! My father said, “I have never really had it, so I get to enjoy it so much more. It’s fabulous but again, ensure you don’t have more than 90 minutes of it.”


Well, the things I felt after that call! I am incredibly impressed. I understand why they have so much to say and talk about, it is because they try to make the most of the situation and change tasks every hour so that they don’t get bored. They do not fall into the trap of going to bed very late or oversleeping in the morning. It is indeed hard to find self-motivation at this time, especially when trying to encourage yourself to keep going (when you can comfortably walk around wearing your pyjamas and watch tv). I find this inspiring, and I applaud their focus on fighting against any negativity by filling their days with fulfilling tasks and hobbies. Trying to not let yourself go is incredibly hard at the best of times, and equally as my father told me, allowing yourself to have a day which is not so great is ok. After all, we are going through extremely rare circumstances.


I wanted to share my parents experience as it truly brought a smile to my face. Knowing that there are others facing harsher conditions, that continue to enjoy life as it comes. This is certainly a little motivation for me this week.



Celia x

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