The Bubble

Yesterday the police were stopping almost everyone in cars or walking and demanding where they were going. The police drove by with loud speakers telling everyone to stay inside during the afternoon. The number of cases has come down a bit but there was increase from Monday to Tuesday. The death toll is still very high, yesterday was over 700 deaths. It’s hard to imagine how things are outside of the bubble we are in.

I haven’t left our town in nearly a month. The last place I went, besides the supermarket or the pharmacy was the music school Felicity goes to for a kid’s music class, nearly a month ago. That night the president closed the schools for the first time frame of 10 days. Our town has, for the moment, been luckily. We’ve had one case, an 83 year old woman, who died quickly from the virus. Some towns near have been put on complete lock down, no one can go out even for groceries, everything must delivered. These towns have too many cases or high risk cases, such as two people who work in a busy supermarket tested positive.

Every day, except for the rare short walk to the supermarket, is spent at our home or in our garden. It’s a bubble. It’s beautiful here, we are surrounded by lemon and orange trees, the garden my in-laws care for, a few friendly stray cats who have made their home, and the laughter of the kids who are playing outside in the nearby homes. It doesn’t seem like we are in the middle of a war-like situation. I wonder what life will be like when we can leave this bubble again, if and when.

The kids and I spent yesterday doing school work in the morning, watching the newly released Disney Plus after lunch during quiet time, then playing outside and painting in the afternoon. It’s cold and cloudy here today but I’m going to bundle up the kids and get them outside for a little bit later on.

School Time, in pajamas or dressed
Paintings we made to cheer up the house






Have a safe Wednesday. Prayers for the world.


The Weekend

Our weekend passed quickly. The numbers of cases on Saturday for Italy reached over 6,000 but dropped by 1,000 less Sunday. Maybe its hope in the right direction for Italy. The number of new cases in the US surpassed 6,000 yesterday, which is alarming. The US has some lock down orders but nothing like we’ve had here. I hope new measures are taken there, soon, to take control of the situation there.

Late Saturday night (just before midnight), the Italian president set more regulations for us to last until April 3. Now we can not go more than 200 meters from our home for “essentials” and many more companies are shutting down unless they are necessary. We are not sure if this includes Umberto’s job or not. We haven’t received information that the factory has closed down (he is an IT engineer at a company that makes toilet paper/kitchen paper) yet.

Saturday the kids played outside in the garden, like normal most of the days. Sunday, I went to the supermarket early. There’s somethings missing , very little flour, no baking powder or yeast. Mozzarella is in short order.  Wine was low (this made me laugh a little). The kids played outside some more even though it was a cloudy, windy day. The played “muddy puddles” and made a huge mess, I had to strip them down before the came into the building.




Wash your hands. Stay home. Have a good Monday.

Here we are

We are now almost two weeks into the quarantine imposed by the government, but its been more than two weeks for us since life was “normal”. The last day I went to work was Monday, March 2nd, the last day we did a “normal” activity was Wednesday, March 4th when we took Felicity to her kids’ music class.

I haven’t updated in a few days because of something that occurred at work that affected me directly. I don’t think it’s right to post about it here but it had a huge impact on me and I’ll leave it at that.

Besides that we are fine. The situation in Italy has only gotten worse. The numbers climb and climb. Italy has surpassed China in the number of deaths. The government has said restrictions will be only be stricter and the quarantine will go on longer. The worst of it is in the North of Italy, far from us. I can’t imagine what life is like there. So many people have died, so many that the military was required to transport the dead bodies of Bergamo to another town to be cremated. It’s surreal.

Here in Campania, we are getting closer to 1000 cases but the cases have not been exploding like in North. I think, for the most part, the people of Campania have taken the measures seriously and are staying inside to keep this from spreading like it has in the North.

Prayers for everyone in Italy and everywhere today.


Getting outside

Yesterday, the kids and I spent a big chunk of the day outside in our garden. We are not allowed to go for a walk on the street, but if we are in the confines of our property, it is allowed to be outside. We live on a large plot of land, my in-laws have a large garden that the grow fresh vegetables year round in. In the garden, the kids have a swing and a toy kitchen.

The kids ran up and down the driveway, played on the swing and helped their nonna pick fresh broccoli in the morning. In the afternoon, we we back outside and they ran more and chatted with our neighbors’ kids from their balcony. It really changed the feeling of the day by just getting outside.

Today the weather is good so we will go outside again. The kids also worked on their “school books” yesterday and we drew the butterflies we saw in the garden.

I am still upset about not being paid until “school starts again”. I decided yesterday to continue to give my students homework though, in the very least it’s something for me to do. The government passed legislation that all contracted employees will receive 80% of their salary for these two months, backed by the government. At least I know that March and April won’t be lost. I will continue to work for my students and remain calm about the lack of February salary.  In this period, we all should all work to help each other out, I can continue my dedication to my students.

Today I’m going to make flatbreads with the kids and possibly head out to the supermarket later on since Umberto is working from home today. I will also be interviewing with KSDK Channel 5 in St.Louis this evening, so I will have another interview aired.


Have a great Wednesday.

Cabin Fever is setting in

We’ve now passed a week in quarantine, cabin fever is setting in a bit. Yesterday was a hard day emotionally. I have been waiting for my February salary (in Italy, like most of Europe, we are paid once a month). Usually we are paid the 10th of the month, but nothing has come. We were told it would be late and probably partial (without a good reason, the parents paid for the school for February). I asked yesterday when we could expect it and was told not until the school opened and the parents paid again. It’s completely illegal. When will the school open? They said the the third of April, but who knows if that is true? So besides being locking the house yesterday, I had to deal with this mentally and put me and Umberto in a very frustrated, angry mood.

Today is a new day, we are going to figure out what we can do about this missed paycheck. We are fine, financially but obviously this still makes us angry.

Kids playing on the terrace in their pajamas.


Besides that, the day passed as all days do in quarantine. I left around 7 to go the pharmacy and bread shop to get some fresh air and some thing we needed from the pharmacy. It was good to get out of the house for a minute, even in a mask and not talking to anyone while I was out.

Have a good Tuesday and try to keep busy and remember this too will pass.

The Days Pass

The days are passing by, we are starting to get a bit restless but what can we do? Cases seem to continue to skyrocket in Italy, the peak is expected to be in April. We still have a long time to wait.

In the meantime, I have been applying to online teaching jobs to have something to do as well make some money. I have no idea if I will be paid for this month that we aren’t going to school. In theory, yes, we should though I work at a private school but they receive money from the government as well. I also have undetermined contract which means I should be paid no matter what. I am not even sure if if, when, and how much I will be paid for February,  a month I worked entirely. So yes, Americans, you are not the only one struggling economically. Luckily, my husband has a good job we’ll be OK, but that is not for everyone.


Morning view from the balcony
On our small swing set on the balcony
Tutto Andra Bene



Besides that, we are fine. Yesterday we passed a lot of the day playing on the balcony and working on “school work”. I try to distance myself from the news as much as possible during the day. I also try to not allow the children to have too much screen time and encourage them to play with their toys.

Here’s to another day passing in quarantine. Until tomorrow.

First Time Out

Yesterday, I went for the first time since the quarantine has begun to the supermarket. Umberto was home to stay with the kids so I wanted to experience for myself, life outside my house.  I walked to the local supermarket to get some fresh air, since we are no longer allowed to take a walk for leisure. I left around 4 pm. When I arrived at the supermarket there was a small line out front, an employee working calling out numbers and a machine to take numbers. I took my number and took my place a meter away from the other people waiting outside.

After 10 minutes my number was called and I went in. The supermarket was stocked pretty well, a little less than normal on a Saturday at 4 but nothing like photos I’ve seen of supermarkets in the US with no toilet paper. The fruits and vegetables were completely stocked as was meat. Cheese was a little scarce as was fresh bread. Everyone was told to keep a meter’s distance from each other. To pay, we had to wait until the person was finished checking out before walking up to the register.

When I left, there was a much longer wait to come in than when I arrived around 5 pm.  I also saw more people than I thought I would see out and about, no children though. There were a few people on their bikes and a few people walking.

Besides the supermarket, we spent a lot of time on the balcony in the morning. The kids brought some of their toys outside and played. In the evening, it was a little rainy but Raffi and I still went outside to play on the small swing set we have on the balcony. Later in the evening we colored a rainbow to hang outside on the balcony that says “Tutto andra bene” (everything will be OK), children around the country are drawing these and hanging them outside their homes.

Cheese out of stock
Playing with Raffi later in the evening on the balcony

Day in the life, quarentine edition.

We’ve adjusted to a routine since the quarantine has started. The kids surprisingly, have not complained much about not going anywhere.I am also very surprised of how I’ve taken it mentally. Usually, I am a someone who loves to go out and do things. I usually do not like to be at home for long periods of time. Now though with no option of going anywhere, except a long lined supermarket, I have accepted that we have to stay at home. Luckily, we do not live in the center of a big city and have a small garden that the kids can go play in. We also have a large balcony that wraps around our entire apartment, giving us plenty of “outside” space. There is also a large terrace above us that the gives more outside space. There isn’t a feeling of being “closed in” because we are high on the third floor and can look out into fields, the mountains and cities far in the distance.



The morning starts around 8, I try to wake up a little before the kids, shower and get dressed. The usually wake up between 8:30-9:30. We eat breakfast, do the laundry for the day, clean up the kitchen and then they play or we read a few books. During this time, I try to get a 30-40 yoga practice in, usually with Raffi jumping on my back most of the time. At some point during the late morning, Felicity and I sit down to do “work”, we practice writing letters and numbers. Raffi and I review shapes. They color in their “school books”. After that, they usually play outside on the balcony until it’s time to make lunch.

After lunch, I let them have screen time. They don’t nap and I use this time as “quiet time.” Usually, I study for the Italian driver’s license exam (I can drive on my American one, but only for a small amount time). After quiet time, we work on a craft or coloring in their coloring books (me in my adult coloring book I bought specifically for this period). Then it’s their snack, sometimes we make cake for snack.

After snack, I try to get them outside another time, even downstairs in the garden for an hour. We come inside, they take a bath and play some more. Around 7:00 or 7:30, I start making dinner. At this point, I put a cartoon on Netflix on the TV for the kids. We eat dinner as a family usually around 8. The kids are in bed shortly after dinner, between 9-9:30.

I know it’s later than the normal American hours, but this is Italy, and it’s very typical here. I also prefer a little later morning and some quiet time in the morning for myself.

Have a good Saturday!

Day Three, Quarantine.

We had no “restrictions” last night but the governor issued a statement that the military police will now be patrolling the streets. I don’t see any of this since our house is off the main road and we have no traffic near us. My husband said the streets were empty and there police patrolling when he came home last night.

It’s hard to imagine how we can stay inside for another three weeks staying inside without contact from the outside world. We will get through this, us as parents must be strong for the kids.

Third day of quarantine passed a little harder than other days. The kids seemed to be getting some cabin fever. Though it is officially only the third day of quarantine, we have been home for 10 days. Yesterday we watched a lot of movies and colored.

Until tomorrow everyone.

Day Two of Quarantine

Every evening it seems that there is a new update to the quarantine rules. The number of cases in Italy went up by 2,313 cases yesterday. Obviously, the effects of the quarantine aren’t showing yet, its too early. Last night, the president issued a decree that from this morning stores (exceptions: pharmacies, supermarkets, and tabbacco kiosks), bars (in Italy “bars” are coffee bars, usually these are the center of a town- people come to get a coffee, a croissant at breakfast, to meet up with a friends, pick up a snack for their kids, etc…), restaurants, pizzerias, and hair salons are closed. This is in addition to gyms, spas, sports centers, that have already been closed. Restaurants and pizzerias were originally allowed to be open until 6 pm.

The president said there is still the option for the restaurants to deliver food but our state’s (Campania) governor issued a statement yesterday afternoon that even that would be closed.

It’s still surreal. The WHO declared this outbreak finally a “pandemic” yesterday. Once again, I beg you, those of you in different countries, please take this seriously.  Stop organizing nights out with friends, restaurant dinners, parties, stop taking your kids to indoor playground, urge your local governments to close schools. A small amount of time of staying completely inside versus a pandemic that never ends.

Read the accounts of doctors in Northern Italy, there are no more hospital beds, there isn’t even enough respirators. Not possible in the USA? Think again. It’ll be worse. The US has one big problem in front of them, that us in Italy do not face: INSURANCE. We are guaranteed free health care and though our hospitals may not be shiny and new like they are in the US the WHO has listed Italy as the second best healthcare in the world. In normal times, our hospitals function with the same standards of the US, but its free.

So what have we been doing inside all of this time? Umberto still goes to work, but that will change by Friday or Monday and he will work from home from that point. The kids and I have been baking and cooking a lot, playing on the balcony, playing with new toys Grandma sent us, coloring, doing art projects and reading. The days pass, they are boring but we are healthy and that’s all that matters.