Every day feels like Groundhog Day, we get up, make coffee, go for a walk or shop, practice French, watch the news, call Mike’s folks, call the kids, share funny things on Facebook, and cook dinner. Like most of the rest of you, I’m ready to be done with this but I know how important it is to stay at home.
Friday April 10th
Lockdown in France Day 25
Today is the first day that I have really thought I wanted to get out of here. My first thought is that I wanted to go home, even though I don’t have one. But upon further reflection, I am really getting bored and even more unmotivated than usual. Mike and I also agreed that this would be a wonderful place to live if we could just go out and explore towns and beaches and restaurants. But alas, it just isn’t possible right now.
As a welcome change of pace, we drove to another large market that I found. In addition to a butcher, fishmonger, fromagerie, deli, and a huge produce department the Intermarche Hyper had housewares and clothes. You can imagine to us it was pretty exciting. We spent over an hour in the store buying way more stuff than we needed. I even found a brownie mix that I baked almost as soon as we came home. I was tempted by everyone’s FB discussions of baking to pass the time. Unfortunately, I don’t have the right ingredients for much other than a cake mix, so there we are.
Saturday April 11th
Lockdown in France Day 26
I finally got a good night’s sleep last night. The past few nights, I woke up a bunch of times and never really felt rested. Mike and I also decided that we are putting up with each other pretty well considering we are in close proximity to each other 24/7. Of course, France would be so much more fun if we could plan and go on outings.
I found another large store pretty close to us, so maybe we can drive to it on Monday. We are concerned about possible crowds on the weekends. We are wearing our homemade facemasks whenever we go out, but I would rather not be in close proximity to others.
I can honestly say the only thing we did today was to take out the garbage and the recycling. More groundhog day feelings.
Sunday April 12th
Lockdown in France Day 27
Today is Easter Sunday but nothing looked any different outside of our apartment. Because we did so little yesterday, we decided to take a long walk today. We stayed out for a full hour today. We even found part of the original wall that went around the city along with a cathedral built in the 10th century. Since we were tucked away in the pedestrian part of town, we were able to stop moving long enough to read the sign describing the church. In an effort to not get stopped and questioned by the gendarmes, we try to keep moving continually when we are out but that makes it hard to really enjoy the old part of the city.
The sortie was followed by our French lessons and cooking dinner. Tonight was pasta with chicken and spinach.
Monday April 13th
Lockdown in France Day 28
We didn’t get bread yesterday because our walk never took us by the boulangerie, so we had to go out bright and early this morning to get bread. Today must be a holiday because all of the markets are closed. Fortunately, our favorite bakery was open and we were able to get bread and get back to the apartment before the rain started. The forecast is for some sun tomorrow followed by eight days of rain, but of course, we will have to see how that develops.
We are starting to plan our trip back to the US but President Macron is giving a national address tonight, so we will have to see how far out the lockdown is going to go. All of that said, we think there is one connecting flight a day out of Toulouse, which is about the same distance as Barcelona. We figure we are better off staying in France.
Tuesday April 14th
Lockdown in France Day 29
President Macron has extended the lockdown here in France until May 11th, another four weeks. We are now looking to return to US as soon as possible. We need to go back to be with the family. If it weren’t for family, we would probably wait it out here but we have things we need to take care of back in California.
Today is bright, sunny, and warm, so we made quite an excursion of our shopping errand. According to my Fitbit, we went about 4 miles in an hour 20. We wandered the alleyways in the old town, it was great.
Wednesday April 15th
Lockdown in France Day 30
Today we just worked on taxes and trying to figure out how we were going to get out of here and back to the Bay Area. Our landlord did stop by for the rent today and Mike spoke excellent French with him (Mike – my French was passable). We actually had quite an engaging conversation. The Duolingo language classes are really helping him but I’m having difficulty. The instruction requires you to read everything, write stuff, and do some listening and speaking, but this method is not getting me back to my former level of fluency. It just isn’t coalescing in my mind. I really want language classes where a real person is speaking to me and I have to speak back. But alas, that will have to wait until we can actually have classes again.
Otherwise, today was just like every other day, except we didn’t go shopping today. It really does feel like we are stuck in groundhog day.
Thursday April 16th
Lockdown in France Day 31
Since we didn’t go shopping yesterday, we definitely had to go shopping today. We planned to make Coquilles St. Jacques (scallops) for dinner and we needed a few things for that recipe along with our regular baguette requirements. Other than posting this article, I have no idea what I’ll do for the rest of the day. I’ve been reading novels electronically from the Santa Clara County Library and I’ve developed a taste for the fantasy magic genre, go figure. Hopefully, Mike can add more color to this article.
Mike – There is a computer simulation program called Life. The premise is that pockets of life emerge and thrive in unexpected places, like plants in the desert. The new organisms flourish until they overtax their resources and then the colony collapses. Another pocket of life emerges somewhere else and the whole cycle repeats, repeatedly.
I’m seeing that behavior in how people are responding to the lockdowns. At its most severe, the lockdown created a desert of humanity. As time has passed, pockets of humanity are emerging in the form of people figuring out how to make the most of social distancing and businesses adapting to the distancing restrictions.
On the one hand, it is encouraging to see humanity learning to thrive again. On the other, I wonder how well we can manage to grow and still avoid collapse. Time will tell. Meanwhile, I’m keeping my fingers crossed and my mask on when I’m out and about.
Sadly, John Conway, the creator of Life, passed away this week from the virus. 🙁
Groundhog eating pizza courtesy of Kristin Chalela Bagnell, from a video circulating on the internet today.