The return to "normal" life
Well after 51 days, I left the house this morning to return to "normal" life, as Italy begins its phase 2 of the Covid-19 pandemic. In many ways this is great news as it means the light at the end of the tunnel, that for so many days seemed dim, is shining brighter and showing us that (at least for Italy) the end of lockdown is near.
That being said, although the home lockdown might be ending soon-ish for us here in Italy, the Covid-19 pandemic is not over and we will have to live alongside the virus and learn how to still go about our everyday lives probably for months .
For me right now that includes being allowed to leave the house to go to the office and (finally) go for a walk alone outside. The next phase of openings will be on May 18th for stores, followed by restaurants/coffee shops and hair salons on June 1st.
No word yet on gyms...maybe I shouldn't have gotten so into cooking (and eating) during lockdown...??
Alright, so back to today...
Honestly I had gotten used to lockdown life and working from home. I had my own routine down, and now that the weather was getting nicer I even was able to finally make the most of our terrace space. So when I got the news that on May 4th I could go back to the office, I was overwhelmed with a mix of emotions. Obviously I was happy because it means that "normal" life is coming back, but really there not much that's "normal" about life right now.
We are still not allowed to just leave the house to go out "just because" - Oh how I miss my Saturday morning walks in Piazza Duomo with my coffee in hand - and whenever we leave the house we have to wear a facemask, plus gloves if you're on public transport. I can understand why we need to do this, and in many ways I feel safer knowing that the government has enforced these regulations for everybody, but was I worried about how all this would affect my "normal" life at work? Oh yeah.
To my surprise today though, I found that things in the office were oddly calm, and we each fell right back into our daily routine. Even though we all have to wear facemasks all day long, wear gloves or wash our hands all the time, and clean any surface we touch in a common space (like printers, bathroom sinks, coffee machine), I felt a sense of normalcy being back there. I think it had to do with the fact that our company worked so hard to think of every single thing to keep us safe so we just had to show up, but most of all it was because after two months at home we were finally seeing familiar faces in person again (even if still with a meter of distance between us)!
I've accepted that, at least for now, this is the new "normal". Slowly but surely we will get used to this too, and soon enough we will be able to read people's emotions through their eyes. Until then, hand gestures are highly effective - and Italians sure do got those down!