Living Abroad During a Pandemic

Normally I write about happy things like our new experiences and lessons learned through traveling and living abroad.  I never thought I would write about life abroad during a pandemic.  Writing helps me sort out all of my scattered thoughts and emotions and allows me to share my experience with family and friends.  So here I am on my balcony with a plethora of emotions and concerns as I am quarantined with my husband in Panama.

I am not going to lie, I wasn’t even concerned about COVID-19 because we live in this blissful little bubble down in Central America.  Not to mention, I have been guilty of not really following news in my home country, because to be quite honest, I have not really cared to.  I have prided myself in the knowledge and open-mindedness I have gained through my experiences of traveling and living abroad. With that being said, I’d like to mention that I am not ignorantly floating through life.  I follow issues that are important to me (women’s activism, climate change to name a few) and world news.  I am, however, a little ashamed that I wasn’t really up to date on current events in the States as I have checked in with family and friends during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just one week ago, I was on a booze cruise celebrating my friend’s bachelorette party.
The LAST thing that was on my mind was self quarantine and COVID-19.  It hadn’t even hit our country yet. And then boom, two days later, COVID-19 hit Panama. Within a few days, schools across the country shut down, all travel into the country got suspended with the exception of residents, and everyone is pretty much in self isolation.  We can’t even go to the beach because all beaches, rivers, and parks across the whole country are shut down.  I am very thankful that the country I reside in is taking this very seriously.  Panama doesn’t have the infrastructure for a mass breakout.  The most important thing is the health and safety of people.

We are very privileged to live the life we do in Panama.  I already work remotely and Cory is able to work from home as well.  While we had to cancel our spring break trip to Guatemala and upcoming travel is up in the air, we know that we are healthy and safe.  I worry about the many Panamanians who live paycheck to paycheck as restaurants, bars, and businesses close.  Right now it is the dry season in Panama, and this time of year brings worry about water shortages.  Having a water shortage during a pandemic is not ideal.  I worry about the economic ramifications here as they will be much worse than in more developed countries.  I worry about my older family members and friends who are at high risk.  But while the world seems like a dark place right now and my worries seem to be endless,  I have to remind myself that we are very lucky to be healthy and have to means to live comfortably.

Our expat life has been challenging and exciting which is exactly why we went abroad! This lifestyle is obviously going to be put on hold as we prepare to bunker in until further notice.  Sometimes living abroad can be lonely as it is, and as I am very extroverted, I am sure I will be faced with many challenges during this time of quarantine.  But hey, nothing that we can’t over come!  And if social distancing is our biggest challenge, then yes, we have it very good and we are very lucky! So during this time, Cory and I are going to be more present with each other, connect with family and friends, and partake in hobbies we normally don’t allow ourselves much time for.  So far these are the things I’d like to focus my time on:

  • Reading
  • Painting
  • Baking
  • Yoga
  • Home workouts (which normally I am NOT a fan of, but I guess I have no option)
  • Writing
  • Self Care which I’m sure will include many baths and facemasks

We are trying to be positive in this scary time in the world.  If anyone has any suggestions on entertainment or wants to connect, feel free to reach out!

I saw some quotes online that lifted me up:

“We are waves from the same sea.”

“We have different mountains and rivers, but we share they same sun, moon, and sky.”

We got this together!  Stay positive and healthy, friends!


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