March 2020, COVID-19

It’s very hard to write about what is happening right now but I wanted to write what is on my mind, on March 14th 2020 (because nowadays a week appart is a world away). I’m a Belgian mom of 2 who lives in the United Arab Emirates. I’m married to a diplomat, so in a way I’m used to emergencies and very tense briefings. I have access to a lot of information all the time and I talk to relatives and friends living all over the world on a daily basis. I absorb world problems usually pretty easily. But this time, we live an unprecedented crisis and I feel dizzy. All the breaking news this last 2 months and the analysts and comments made me sick (but with no fever don’t worry). The dramatics, the minimalists, the « I know better» and the conspiracy theorists. I was the first fan of social media back in the days but today I kind of hate it. I see crazy unexplainable selfish behavior and remarks all over the world and those in my country make me even more ashamed.

I’m an expat. I don’t have my friends and family here with me but I have friendmily here now. Turns out, expats seem to show more solidarity. We are used to being alone in deep shit, so we help each other. We share food, drinks (especially drinks), we take turns for the kids, we take care of each other, we protect each other. We built a community.

I know we are supposed to stay away of each other and it’s hard for some. A good hug, a concert, would make all these bad feelings go away. But it’s 2020, we have Whatsapp and why don’t we use social media for a GOOD purpose this time? Why don’t we stop sharing angry messages about the government or people (hey… we are all overwhelmed anyway), and start taking care and entertaining each other? It’s time to reach out to others in a GOOD way. Like do you have everything you need? How do you feel? How do you occupy your kids? Did you read a nice book? How do I look in this dress I found at the back of my closet? What is your best recipe of pasta sauce? There are worse things in life than staying in a cozy house filled with love and Netflix, no?

Yes, we hurt. We already worry for our eldest family members and it could get worse. Everybody will lose money in this crisis and it’s worrisome. It’s unprecedented, it was likely unpredictable and it’s life. humanity tends to forgot that we are not almighty and this virus came to remind it to us. Maybe we pushed it a little bit too far. Maybe we took things for granted. Anyway, it will never be the same again. May we act during the crisis in a way that makes us (and our kids) proud when this is all over.

Much love, but no kiss