Last Sunday, we went to church. I kind of figured it would be our last for awhile. By the way, we usually get around 15 people...but we do have to travel public transportation to get there. People were making plans and it was awkward feeling like we wouldn't likely follow through on them.
Anyway, that was a weird day, but not for the reasons you'd think. On the way to church, the tram wasn't working...then on the way home, the escalator broke down when we were halfway up! And I had the beginnings of a migraine. We stopped to eat on the way home...also probably our last time for awhile.
I was still checking the news every 5 minutes at that point. In the tram on the way home, I heard someone on the phone explaining that they were unable to drop something off at the orphanage because it was under "quarantine." First time I'd heard that word used around here in regards to COVID-19, although it's common to quarantine orphanages during a seasonal epidemic.
There wasn't much news all weekend, but I got a sense of something brewing under the surface...come Monday, something was going to surface.
And I was right.
Andrei did head off to work on Monday, which made me nervous. I felt like he was going off to war even though there had been only a handful of cases reported in St. Petersburg.
Mid-day my MIL called to say that there were empty shelves in the stores. My stomach dropped. To be honest, I'm not upset that Russians finally started to panic a bit. But I've never been present for much of a crisis here before. What was I going to experience? Was it going to be Black Friday-level craziness? Nina grabbed us some buckwheat, pasta, and flour.
My husband came home, and talks about distance-learning had begun. Here we go! He did go to work the next day to settle things, but the students all voted to work from home for the rest of the semester.
The rest of the week passed very slowly. I made a trip to the store myself to check it out...most things were in stock. People don't have pantries here, maybe 1 shelf for dried goods, although those in the older generation tend to hoard a little bit more. I'm hoping that even if the quarantine gets stricter (which would be good to slow the spread), people will continue to remain calm and not panic-buy.
It's eerie outside because people read different news sources and some are just living their lives as if everything was normal. I'm getting phone calls inviting me to birthday parties and baby showers in April. "We'll see." May we still have a celebratory spirit even if we're on lockdown at that point.
And it's only been ONE WEEK....Andrei has only been working from home since like Wednesday! It feels like an eternity, doesn't it? And it feels like there is still a long road ahead of us. But at the same time, China made it through a lengthy quarantine, and many of us already have a week or two down. May the efforts to save lives not be in vain.
May God grant us all patience, wisdom, and hope for the days ahead.