Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Amelia Fiore
Our correspondent in N. Italy 

Good News: Water is Clean in Venice Canals, For the First Time in Memory. Northern Italy update

The bad news is Italians have pretty much stopped singing from the balconies, out of respect for the dead. #coronavirus #covid19

 

Venice canals are crystal clear like no one has never seen them in their whole entire life (I sure never seen such thing) and dolphins near the Cagliari port (I never have seen anything like that neither).

Here's a few updates about quarantine in Italy as promised.

On Monday we'll be entering the fourth week of quarantine of the national lockdown and the sixth week for all students.

Since the beginning of the ordinance we are allowed to leave the house for grocery, medical needs, work and walking the dog as close as possible to one's house. Breaking the ordinance has serious repercussions depending on the offense and it concerns individuals and business laws alike. If one intentionally leaves the house while being quarantined for testing positive they could face up to five years in jail.

People complied for the most part though there has been different problems arising from domestic situation generally. Like those who have to live with the dead until helps arrive, people breaking the ordinance and people taking advantage of the situation.

For instance there has been news of women living with abusive husbands/men getting hurt, thankfully there's has been some organization and initiative such as code words and numbers to call but that possibly won't be enough.

While the Italian country pardoned most bills, mortgages, rents etc. there are people who may face serious problems putting food on their table while not working.

Many people can work from home but there's category of workers whose work does not include virtual work or so called smart work. In the meantime most people spend time as best as they can. I see a surge of video classes raising about many arts/sports and languages (I am one of those who provides her classmates with ancient fencing video classes to keep us all from getting too lazy).

And I noticed the situation forced some good practices to be taken under consideration.

The way western relate with food is certainly a good example. I think of my-self like most now tent to buy food that last and make sure no food goes wasted. I am always careful about food waste but my grocery habits had changed in a way that will possibly impact my future choices.

I personally do not enjoy going to the market these days and having to wait in line for at least an hour around people who may or may not carry some potentially deadly virus! Regardless of the one meter apart rule.

I made my last grocery lasts over two weeks. Perhaps it helps that I am a vegan, but I now buy food that will last on my shelves. Even before off course, but it was easy to just run at the store real quick as I live close by a very big supermarket and buy food that perhaps wasn't so necessary.

Weeks back when I realized things were about to go down I started slowly but surely staking up dry legumes, grains and different type of flours, and I would cook all vegetables and put them in the freezer. As I was close to needing to go back to the store those frozen cooked vegetables came real handy. I am sure I am not the only one who had to be wiser about food.

Of all online classes available you can find classes about homemade bread (staple Italian food). Italians have the costume to go daily to bakery shops and get fresh made bread daily that is something that had to abandon by most at least for now.

And this is just one example.

Another thing that has drastically changed is the quality of air and level of noise. I live right in the middle of Milan, the Milan province and surrounding city/provinces. That is where the infamous first lockdown took place.

61 million people living in a relatively small territory, possibly the wealthiest part of Italy, so you can imaging cars, factories, people, airplanes etc.

A lungs and ears living hell.

I myself have the fortune to live in a private small gated community with some gardens all around in the middle of the city, but I am one of the few lucky ones. All around is nothing but tall buildings, trains, streets I still get to live the pollution, noises and gas smell of the city.

You can understand how it is now a joy to be able to breathe and enjoy the silence. I saw most of my allergies dropped within the second week.

So for those of us sitting at home while all around is death and desperation days look the same.

I made it a promise to keep myself grateful and busy to honor those who work and risk their lives to save and help others. I do not complain for circumstances and I make the best out of time.

When Italians sang on the balconies. One of my favorite opera songs: Coronavirus flash mob, il tenore famoso canta "Nessun Dorma" dal suo balcone

The singing in the balcony phenomenon has slowly died out perhaps in respect of all the dead and people crying their loved ones. Every day is more and more dramatic and it feels like the worst has yet to come.

So stay safe my friend and make the best out of time. If you have a place you can call home, your family and loved ones are in good health and you got food on your table consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

Note: An early version of this article said that the video above was of dolphins swimming in the Venice canals. The video was actually of dolphins swimming near the Port of Cagliari, Italy.. The National Geographic website was also briefly fooled by this (so far) false report. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/03/why-do-people-want-so-badly-to-believe-this-fake-story-is-true/?fbclid=IwAR0ixigf9pe4vbNlxJkNAA-OFu_BZqdUuSCHrvEGaQ86Nbn322xe5qHIclA

 

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