I'm currently listening to my spouse try to understand the repairman who is here to fix our boiler (it supplies hot water to our radiant heaters). It's a flurry of Portuguese, the majority of it I don't get, and bless him, the repair guy is being quite patient. My husband is hanging in there, but it's not easy. Which is pretty much a metaphor for this last year.
First of all, I'm not complaining. The husband is retired and I am self-employed so I'm not worried about our rent payment or that there's isn't enough money coming in to feed ourselves. We're very blessed. So many other people are in far worse shape, even without being ill or having lost loved ones.
I believe it's the constant grind of this last eleven months that wears on one's soul. As an amateur historian I know this will pass, that we're in the middle of the worst of it and next year we'll look back and sigh, back to doing things we once considered normal. Yet we will forever be changed because of this time in our history.
Sadly, Portugal's COVID case count and the number of deaths have increased dramatically, far above what we saw in the spring. For a country with the population of the state of Georgia (we are a bit over 10 million), we're seeing 10K new cases PER DAY and as high as 150+ deaths per day. That's incredible. (On the chart below we're in the northern region with 3295 new cases and 35 more deaths.)
Even more concerning is that our public hospitals are filling up (the private hospitals do not take COVID patients to ensure there is somewhere you can go if you have other medical concerns.) Porto has an overflow COVID hospital (not for ICU/UCI patients) that they set up in a sport arena last spring. I'm wondering if they'll reactivate it since they wisely didn't tear it all down during the summer lull
So we're back on lockdown which, to be honest, isn't much different for my husband and I than the last ten plus months. We have our heavy groceries delivered (no car) and we pop out for fresh fruit, vegetables and our meat (and wine!) supplies as needed. Though we're careful not to be out and about like before the pandemic when it would be 2-3x per week. Now it's once per week, if that.
It's very hard on the businesses, though. Restaurants cannot have patrons either inside, or outside, so they're having to do delivery or takeaway. Other businesses are just closed for the next two weeks, most likely one month (IKEA for instance). It's devastating to the economy and to family livelihoods. Since Portugal is not a wealthy nation to star with, it's doubly so.
And since the only way forward is... well... forward I've opened up the windows now that the repair dude has left, and will do some disinfecting of our laundry room later today. My husband's guess at what was wrong with the boiler has been confirmed, and parts will be ordered. In the meantime, it's a very sunny day, there's a light breeze and I have LOST SOULS to proof.
In time, I'll look back at this portion of my life, roll my eyes, and pour a generous tot of whisky. But right now all we can do is go forward and trust this, too, shall pass.
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