Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Where do I even begin? I am a writer, but have no words. My mind wanders, flips and flops, I read one page of a book only to turn over and have a second nap of the day. Love does bring us closer, but in this uncertain time it tears us apart. This is love in the time of Coronavirus.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus – My story

We flew back to Canada on a direct flight from Rome on December 27th, 2019, and as an already extreme germaphobe, I had purchased sanitary wipes, and I wiped down our entire row of seats the moment we boarded, people looked at me strangely and I could hear a few comments from the adjacent rows. Covid-19 wasn’t even the moniker, yet, for this virus that has devestasted the world, we flew in peace, not even a bump of turbulence.

We landed in Toronto and drove the ninety minutes to my hometown. We were greeted with long, warm hugs, and kisses to the cheek. It was heartwarming and wonderful to feel my mother’s arms wrapped around me, and equally enjoyable to eat one of my favourite Canadian dishes – split pea soup. We drank imported red wine, from Sardinia, of course, we laughed, cried and told stories from eons ago.

We went about our daily lives, nothing, yet, was mainstream, so we shopped, ate out at fancy restaurants, went to local wine tastings and visited all the friends and family I hadn’t seen in years. Reuniting felt great, there were so many things to say and so many adventures to relive, and time was running out to tell them all. We crammed in hours of chitter-chatter with long-time friends, over copious amounts of red wine and potato chips, and then my husband left.

He flew back to Sardinia, Italy, one day before Valentines Day for an appointment that was made one year prior. Coronavirus was mainstream at that point, but it seemed to be contained to only China and Northern Italy. We didn’t worry. Why would we? China is so far away from Canada that the thought of the virus coming this way didn’t even cross our minds. We certainly didn’t think that we would be in the situation that we find ourselves in now.

On January 31st, 2020, the first two cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Rome. On that same day, the government of Italy suspended all flights to and from China, the Italian authorities then issued a state of emergency with only two positive cases. From there, clusters of the virus exploded in Northern Italy: the region of Lombardy being the hardest hit, then Veneto, then the rest of mainland Italy, then Sardinia.

The first decree was issued on February 22nd, 2020, and imposed quarantine to eleven municipalities in Northern Italy. Then came the ripple effect, and slowly but surely life as we knew it, changed forever. Schools were closed, sporting events cancelled, reduced hours at the supermarket, and by March 8th, the government implemented a new decree to completely lockdown the entire nation. Sixty million people are now in lockdown, they could not and still cannot leave their town of residence, they cannot even leave their homes and should they defy the decree they risk up to three months in prison.

You cannot leave your home without a government issued certificate that states your name, residence and reason for being outdoors. Drastic times, call for drastic measures. The whole of Italy abruptly came to a halt and not long after Italy issued a nationwide lockdown, my home province of Ontario issued a state of emergency. We closed schools, restaurants, small businesses, parks, and just recently, the longest land border closed to only essential travel.

Now, while we in Canada, are not on such a severe lockdown like in Italy, we can still go for a walk outdoors and we must maintain social distancing. We cannot visit our neighbours or family in another town, we must bunker down in our homes. Just this morning I read an article from a trusted source that fines will be put in place, upwards of $1000 to those that do not practice social distancing.

You’re probably wondering what all this has to do with love. Well, let me tell you …

My husband and I are currently in different countries with no means to physically see each other. Airports and airlines have pretty much closed their doors to non-essential travel. I could fly into Italy as I am a resident there, however, I may not find a flight into Sardinia as the two northern airports are closed, and if I do, that flight will take me four hours south of where we live. In the grande scheme of things this is a minor problem considering the state of world affairs. Listening to the daily death tolls out of Italy is staggering, today, close to 700 deaths. My biggest concern is my husband, he’s healthy and is in good spirts but he’s dealing with this alone. He doesn’t have a loved one at home to put his arms around, he doesn’t even have immediate family in the area. It’s just him and this saddens me greatly. I know one day, and I hope it’s sooner rather than later, that we will be reunited once again.

Hindsight is 20/20. Had we known, what we know now, he would have never left Canada for that appointment that took a year to book, and yet another year to accomplish. The important thing to remember is that we are safe, and we are healthy, which is not the case for a vast majority of people all over the world.

It’s been too long since I’ve up-dated this old blog, for many reasons outside this deadly virus, and maybe one day in the near future I’ll tell you why I stopped writing. Until then my friends, stay healthy, stay safe and wash your hands.

Until we meet again, my love. ❤

Ollolai, Italy: The small Sardinian town selling homes for €1

We’ve all dreamed of owning a home on some far-away exotic island where they don’t speak English and life is the clichéd dolce vita. The town of Ollolai, a luscious green zone in the Barbagia region of Sardinia, are now selling abandoned homes for €1. Shocking but true. The internet has lit up from joyous dreamers who want to pack it in and live the la dolce vita, I mean who wouldn’t want a taste of this attainable dream, for only $1.52CAD you too can stop dreaming and make it a reality. But how…? Continue reading

A Sunday Afternoon Between Mountain and Sea

It was an overcast day but not chilly when we decided to head up into the mountains for an afternoon walk with friends. We weren’t in search of anything, in particular, just the meeting of new people, dialogues, laughter and panoramic views that stretch as far as southern Corsica to Limbara and to the northwestern tip of Sardinia. Pure Sunday bliss in my books, a perfect Sunday spent between mountain and sea. Continue reading

The War on Plastic – Italian Style

UPDATE: 1/5/2018 Deceit is an ugly form of extortion that can lead people to believe something that is not true. I was lied to and I believed it until I did some research. I’m in disbelief that the supermarket owner, where I’ve done my shopping for the last three years, lied to me about the “automatic charge” on biodegradable plastic bags for fruit and vegetable purchases. I was led to believe that it was a mandatory charge; that if you buy one lemon you will be charged automatically .2c for a biodegradable bag whether you use one or not. I fell for it, but only for two days, then I went into other supermarkets around town and asked.

The law only states that supermarkets cannot give out free biodegradable bags like they have in the past. Makes sense. There has never been an issue with paying for the bag if used or needed.

At one supermarket, the owner told me that he cannot give any bags out for free and that there would only be a charge if you use a biodegradable bag. Punto basta.

It’s comforting to finally realize the truth about this scandalous topic that has overtaken social media. I’m glad I did my homework and continued to question people as deceit is hidden around every corner here … fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

However, this new rule/law still has some flaws dear Ministero dell’Ambiente. Consumers should be able to bring their own mesh bags from home to buy produce. The supermarket needs to be held accountable for health and hygiene measures. They need to train people who work at the cash tills to clean the belt and scanning area several times a day. Eliminating and banning the use of plastic bags within all supermarkets is a start. I’m sorry I said that you suck, I was hangry.

*****Below is my full rant on the topic before I found out I was being lied to. Continue reading

Inside Sardinia: Cortes Apertas at Onanì

Cortes Apertas is an open house, held yearly in several towns and cities in the deep, vast tremendous centre of SardiniaBarbagia. It is a colourful festival run by the locals of each town; they open their doors to the wonders of their beautiful, simple life, far away from wi-fi and reality tv. They show you how to make long pasta and pasta with your thumb and they ask if you’d like to take part, to try the ancient traditions that have been hidden away and kept secret for so many decades, all the while filling your cup with homemade wine, liqueur, and beer.  Continue reading

24 hours at Sardinia’s Capital City – Cagliari

A three-hour train ride from Sassari got me to the island’s capital of Cagliari; a city that I still struggle to pronounce. I pronounce it like the city in Canada, Calgary, with a soft g. It does look like this cag-li-ari, to the English mind, but alas that is not the case. The locals here pronounce it like cal-ra-re, where’s the g sound in that? So, after much pronunciation homework, I set off to explore this city by the sea to discover rooftop panoramas, hidden alleyways, and an immensely wide, soft sand beach with a sea so limpid a pebble would send it shivering.

Continue reading

Cost of Living Report, Sardinia, Italy 2017

It is with great pleasure to announce the long-awaited 2017 Cost of Living Report, Sardinia, Italy. The last report was almost five years ago, so I thought it was due for an update.

Most villages in Sardinia have a weekly fresh market that sells local fruit and vegetables, cheese and salami, clothing, kitchenware, locally made leather goods, locally made pocket knives and fresh flowers. I prefer to buy local and go to the town’s weekly market every Monday morning. I fill my re-cycled cotton sacs with enough in-season produce to last about a week, I also buy about 400gr of aged pecorino and local salami at the market. It’s fresh, it’s local and I’ve bought like this for over 10 years and I wouldn’t change a thing! Continue reading

A Coastal Walk at Porto Faro, Sardinia, Italy

When time permits, and when the weather is just right (like a strong mistral blowing through) I like to take long coastal walks to discover hidden coves, islets and even old lighthouses like at Porto Faro, Palau, Sardinia, Italy. This coastal walk is unlike any I’ve ever done, with its craggy coastline and many, many hidden and delicious beaches to be discovered. Continue reading

A {new} Refreshing Makeover at My Sardinian Life

Welcome to the new and slightly improved My Sardinian Life. After a much too long hiatus, I thought it was time to give my much-beloved blog a refreshing makeover. I am back in the writing-blogging saddle to share my experiences with the culture, traditions, and people of this enchanting island I now call home.

Keep your eyes peeled for new posts on cost of living, working in the hospitality industry, colourful and vibrant snapshots, short stories of a wandering waitress, expat tales, and bloopers that are best only when shared.

Sardinia, Italy has been my home for the last ten years, and it’s only here where I feel truly me, and feel home.

Please let me know in the comment section below what you think of the makeover regarding fonts and font size, headline and title. All improvements are a work in progress. Thank you for following along. There will be more of me in your inbox in days, weeks and months to come. Until then … Ajo, Eh!

From Sardinia with love.

Jennifer Avventura

Super Yacht A and Serving the Owners Dinner

It was a normal day at the office when Super yacht A pulled into the harbour. Everyone stopped what they were doing and stood in awe of her massive size, girth, and colour. We all looked at each other with quizzical glares wondering who it could be and why would they anchor right in front of our restaurant. We were just setting up the garden restaurant for the evening when a flashy car pulled into the driveway and out stepped two impeccably dressed sailors, sky blue pants, and crisp white dress shirts. They asked to speak to management and we happily obliged. It was the captain of super-yacht A and his first mate, they wanted a tour of the restaurant to suss out the best table for their billionaire boss. Continue reading