Alex in Barcelona: 'My kids and I have not left our 90sm apartment in 16 days'

In the midst of the Coronavirus crisis IMAGE has reached out to women all over the world to hear how the disease is impacting their lives and their country. Alex Young lives in Barcelona, Spain but is originally from Ireland


We are in the “lucky” category of those in lockdown. The most difficult thing we have to contend with at the moment is the boredom and subsequent stir craziness of our two-year-old and four-year-old girls, who have not left the confines of our 90sm apartment in 16 days.

Our interactions outside our house are limited to food shopping and dog walking. Even our Amazon post is now left in the elevator by the delivery personnel to be collected by us when it reaches our floor. Our food shopping is done slowly and only by my husband who is the designated “go outsider”.

It takes time to do the shopping as only a limited number of people can enter each shop at a time, gloved and in some cases masked. Our local health shop for example is taking the most extreme measures and will not allow anyone to enter at all. They serve you from a half-closed window front wearing masks and gloves.  Thankfully, we haven’t yet found ourselves lacking anything vital and are grateful to still have access to fresh fruit, vegetables and other essentials, even if they are not always available every day.

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Creativity

Indoors, with the children and the dog, our life is slowing down to a much tamer rhythm. With no outside pressures to be anywhere or “do” anything, no social obligations to fill or educational structures to adhere to, we are for a rare moment, free to build our day as we want. This has its pro’s and cons’. Two under four requires a lot of creativity, yet what we are learning is that not all this creativity needs to come from us - the girls frequently surprise us with the games they invent or the stories they want to retell (for the 10 millionth time) or the happiness they can find painting rocks.

Listening to a two-year-old talk about the migration of dolphins and swarming tuna is very gratifying.

Their school has offered various daily activities via Zoom (one of the many online communication companies that now appears to be THE new social network) for which we are extremely grateful, however the girls often prefer Peter Wick (@thebodycoach), watering the plants or folding laundry than the screen. Obviously movie night is a staple in our household, but we have even managed to screen a few episodes of Our Planet to great success. Listening to a two-year-old talk about the migration of dolphins and swarming tuna is very gratifying.

Groups of people,  people out with children or people meandering around are liable to a 500 euro fine by the local police.

Stringent lockdown

We feel the lack of a terrace or garden deeply. This is our biggest problem as the girls are used to spending a large chunk of their days at the park with their school friends or strolling to and from the shop to home. Today the parks are empty and officially, legally, closed. Cinemas are closed. Gyms, pubs, clubs, yoga studios, dance studios, the girls’ swimming classes and obviously all schools and universities are closed. Groups of people,  people out with children or people meandering around are liable to a 500 euro fine by the local police. Even walking your dog for too long or too far away from your home is open to scrutiny.

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And from what we hear, Madrid is in an even more stringent lockdown.

Spain came late to the party in reacting to the then-emerging existence of Covid - 19 and are now paying the price.

Ride the waves

Our friends here who work as Doctors tell us that inside the hospitals the day to day is much darker. Terrible, life-ending decisions are being made daily due to the lack respirators and breathing apparatus and to the overwhelming demand for them. Not all the sick are elderly. Not all the doctors are well enough to work, but the help is short and the time to act is short and the demand is great. Spain came late to the party in reacting to the then-emerging existence of Covid - 19 and are now paying the price. Social distancing was a preventative method. Social isolation is a containment strategy.

You ride the waves of peace and tranquility and boredom and frustration but you go to bed knowing both you and your children and your partner are well and right now, the currency of health is priceless.

Living inside your home for 16 days gives you a clear picture of what is important - your family, your friends, your home, your health. The small things become important - cleanliness, patience, teamwork, collaboration, a sense of humour. You ride the waves of peace and tranquility and boredom and frustration but you go to bed knowing both you and your children and your partner are well and right now, the currency of health is priceless.

That is why #yomequedoencasa (Istayathome). We urge everyone do to the same.

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Read more: Mary in Marseille: 'I have lived and worked in many trouble spots where lockdowns and curfews were common'

Read more: Charlie in Singapore:  'In Singapore on average, I have my temperature taken 6 times a day'

Read more: Eimear in Surrey: 'I got a temperature and a headache. I went into a deep depression and panic'

Read more: Emma in Sydney: 'I have to say, home has never felt so far away'

Read more: From Singapore to Sydney: Women around the world tell us how coronavirus is impacting their lives

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