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. ❤

New life, New blog

I’ve had a few long time followers of My Sardinian Life email me asking how I’m doing in the great white north, and if I’m blogging about it. The good news is that YES, I am blogging about Victoria, Canada and you can check it out here:

Victoriaology – by Jennifer Avventura
The sights, sounds and adventures of my new life in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Jennifer Avventura

 My latest post on this beautiful city is about stealing sunshine and how Victoria and Sardinia are very similar. I hope you have the time to stop by and check it out – even give Victoriaology a follow.

A big shout out to those that have emailed me about my new life here in Victoria, I am eternally grateful and wish you well.

A heavy price tag for Sardinian Gold – San Giuliano Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I found an out-of-the-way Italian food import store the other day, and decided to check it out as I was craving flavours from the Med. The prices are very similar to the prices in Sardinia, Italy and I’m aware that on most products we are also paying an import fee.

Colour me surprised when I found my all-time favourite Sardinian extra virgin olive oil.

San Giuliano Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Alghero, Sardinia, Italy

I’m biased; I just can’t get enough of San Giuliano’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and when the time is right, I will pay those hefty import fees for something I so admire. It makes my mouth water and heart sing. It’s the perfect complement to any dish and heck yeah, it’s made in Sardinia.

Have you tried this delicious olive oil?

A retired expat

My Sardinian Life by Jennifer AvventuraIt has taken me months to come to terms with this difficult decision, weeks to accept its fate and countless hours on how I would pen a letter to the island and islanders who opened their hearts and doors to the expat Canadian who tried to make it work.

My fingers linger over the keyboard, trying to find the right momentum, trying to find the right words while internally I struggle.  Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie

Nothing makes me nostalgic for Canada than receiving super, duper mittens in the mail. I’ll be rooting for my home and native land with these new mittens, and putting my hands up in the air while, watching Canada kick butt at the Olympics in Sochi.

wearewinter by Jennifer Avventura

This is my response to the weekly photo challenge: selfie.

Vote for My Sardinian Life in the 2013 Canadian Blog Awards

Just like the Emmy’s, Golden Globes and Music awards there are awards for bloggers who but effort, thought and heart into their blog(s). This year is the second year that My Sardinian Life has been nominated for the 2013 Canadian Blog Awards.

My Sardinian Life was nominated for Best Travel and Expat Blog. It would be fantastic to bring home the gold this season, and only you can help me do that.

To vote, just click the following link 2013 Canadian Blog Awards then scroll down the to the bottom of the page. Under Best Travel and Expat Blog click on My Sardinian Life.

Voting closes on February 22nd, 2014 so hurry before it’s too late.

A special thanks to Jonathan Kleiman who took copious amounts of time to organize this award for Canadian bloggers across the globe. Jonathan is a Toronto Business Lawyer and a Small Claims Lawyer and his side gig is organizing fantastic blogging awards. So, thank you Jonathan. I appreciate all the hard work you’ve done in the last year to make this award a reality.

So, what are you waiting for? Go on and vote. I am eternally grateful.

Learning Italian: At the Gynecologist

Continuing on from the super successful post on Learning Italian: You said what?, I thought it only fair to share another one of my embarrassing moments from my expat life Sardinia. This story involves vagina’s and doctors, so if you are easily offended I suggest you click here and if you’re one of the millions of weirdo’s who gets giggles out of others’ follies then, by all means, please read on.

At the Gynecologist the first time:

We had just driven an hour into Sassari and we were lost. All the buildings looked the same, they looked like pale, sick apartment buildings not a doctor’s office, there wasn’t even a sign. A young woman came walking down the street and stops in front of us “Lèi e Jennifer?” With a rather perplexed look on my face, I nodded yes. “Sono dottoressa Venere.”

I followed her into the cold, dusty archway and whispered to my husband “This is a little weird.” He nodded and continued on my heel.

Dr. Venere opened an ancient wooden door to reveal a small apartment turned into a gynaecologist office: one tiny bathroom, one bedroom and a living room/waiting room, it felt like I was in the doctor’s apartment. The red sofa stood out against the white walls in the waiting room and she said to my husband “Lei signore resta qui.” Dr Venere pointed to the luscious sofa and gave my husband a wink. Yes, a wink! I decided to ignore it.

She gestured for me to follow her and I obeyed her stern look. She opened her bedroom door and in place of a bed was a canary yellow gynaecological examination table complete with remote control and pillow.

Togliti i pantaloni e sedersi lì.” Say what? What she say? I’d only been in Italy for a year and my grasp on the Italian language consisted of: Io, pasta, pizza, ciao, mi piace, tu and spagetti. The examination table reminded me of Big Bird and I was scared.

Pantaloni. Pants? Yes, she wanted me to take off my pants, right! She can’t check out my vagina if my pants are on, why isn’t she leaving the room?

The doctors in Canada leave the room when a patient gets naked and provides a lovely, white paper robe. I gathered enough courage to ask her “un vesitito? one dress?” as I pointed to the recyclable white paper adorning the yellow chair.

She looked at me quizzically, pointed her pen at my waist and motioned for me to remove my pants and sit down as the procedure was about to begin.

Santorini, Greece 2005 by Jennifer AvventuraI was mortified.

How could I do this without a dressing gown? I’ve never done it without a dressing gown! WAH! Cue internal freak-out and escape plan.

She was staring at me, I was staring at her, and the Big Bird chair was staring at my vagina. Somebody help me!

I did what I always do in situations like this – throw caution to the wind and just do it. After all, this is Italy, and I learned a new word that day: pantaloni = pants.

Are you an expat? What was different on your first visit to the doctors?

Stay tuned for more horror stories from the gynecologist’s office.

© My Sardinian Life/Jennifer Avventura. All rights reserved 2010-2017. All pictures, unless otherwise stated, are property of My Sardinian Life. Do not use without written permission.

Welcome to the new My Sardinian Life

Have you noticed anything different? Take a good look around? See it yet?

Continue reading

31 Days as a Beach Bar Waitress – Sardinia, Italy

Jennifer Avventura My Sardinian Life Expat WaitressThe long hot hours of work are finally over and I’m looking forward to catching up on lost sleep. Everyday I worked 12pm – 9pm without a day off, as that’s how the cookie crumbles in Sardinia. At times, it was difficult to keep the smile on my face and more often than not I wanted to sucker punch a few guests in the face for stupid remarks. Overall, it was a beautiful whirlwind working at the lovely beach bar Mistral Bar at La Marinedda beach. I met some fantastic people who quickly became friends and I saw 31 stunning sunsets worthy of a painted picture.

Here is a little list of what I endured in the 31 days as a Beach Bar Waitress

  • “Do you live here?” Me: No, I fly in from Canada every morning. Ryanair now offers a direct flight from Alghero to Niagara Falls.
  • “Where are you from?” Me: You have to guess. Guest: Finland, Denmark, Australia, South Africa, England, Bulgaria, Holland, Ireland, Scotland, America … (they never, ever guess Canada).
  • “Why are you here?” Me: I hit the love jackpot.
  • “Wow, what sport do you do? You’re very fit.” Me: I serve drinks all day to idiots like you.
  • “Where are you from?” Me: I’m from Canada. Guest: Oh, you sound American.
  • “Excuse me? But why is the beach half of what it was last year? Did the sea eat the beach?” Me: (mouth hanging open) Uh, yeah, the sea was very hungry this year.
  • A woman walks into a beach bar full of guests eating lunch. She stands naked but for the small g-string attached to her curvy hips and she just stands there… her fake mountainous cleavage obscuring the view of the diners.
  • Three men from Napoli sit down and ask for three beers. When they have finished the first round I ask if they’d like a second and this is the response “well, we can’t eat the bottles now can we?” I quickly retreated behind the bar and popped open three fresh beers and brought them to the table when I’m greeted with “Ma che cazzo – chi ha ordinato questo? What the fuck – who ordered this?”
  • Two couples come in to eat and drink on the busiest day of the month – the Frozen Open Surf contest. They are polite, happy and after three hours one of the men ask for the check. When I deliver the check to the person who asked I am greeted with anger and really, really bad swear words from the other man. He told me that I should have given the check to him, and I’m an idiot for not knowing that. I told him “I’m sorry sir, but I can’t read the minds of raging lunatics.”
  • My Mizuno running shoes kept a lot of the customers talking for 31 days.Jennifer Avventura My Sardinian Life (9) A four-year old girl said “Your shoes are ugly. They are not beach shoes.” People would obviously stare at my running shoes and make all sorts of comments. I had an argument with a marathoner (N.B. never get into a conversation about running with a multiple time marathoner … it will never end) about me being lazy and not training for a marathon even though I told him I have zero interest in running marathons.
  • I cleaned up enough pee on the bar floor to last me a lifetime. Parents … I know it’s a beach but please put a diaper on it when entering a bar.
  • I learned that if you do your job efficiently that Italians do know how to tip.
  • I saw 31 stunning Sardinian sunsets, surfers and a popular Italian minister.

For this year it’s over, and it seems so is summer; I watch a storm roll in over the mountains of the Gallura and rest my weary waitress head to the table and dream of Mom’s chicken noodle soup.

What did you do that’s spectacular this summer?

Sardinia needs more Canadair Water Bombers – La Sardegna ha bisogno di più aerei Canadair

Once again Sardinia burns, and every year there are never enough Canadair aircrafts to help prevent fires. Yesterday afternoon, I looked to the skies and found smoke from the fire, it was a big one, which required two Canadair Bombardiers and two helicopters.

Ancora una volta la Sardegna brucia, e ogni anno ci sono mai velivoli Canadair abbastanza per aiutare a prevenire gli incendi. Ieri pomeriggio, ho guardato al cielo e ha trovato il fumo dal fuoco, è stato un grande, che ha richiesto due Canadair Bombardier e tre elicotteri.

My Sardinian Life Jennifer Avventura 2013 Canadair

Not clouds but smoke

The town above is Trinita D’Agultu, however, the fires were set (yes, set) just outside Trinita in a small town called Aggius. It’s the second time in two weeks that fire was set to farmland in this small town.

I was at work when I heard the familiar sounds of the Canadair Bombardier drawing nearer. From 3:20pm until sunset the water bombers circled around and dipped into the waters of La Marinedda Bay.

La città nella foto qui sopra è Trinità d’Agultu. Tuttavia gli incendi sono stati appiccati (sì, contemporaneamente)  un po’ più lontano da Trinità, in un piccolo paese che si chiama Aggius.  È la seconda volta in due settimane che il fuoco è stato appiccato nei terreni agricoli di questo piccolo paese. Ero al lavoro quando ho sentito il suono familiare dei Canadair che volteggiavano più vicino. Dalle tre e venti del pomeriggio sino al tramonto i Canadair hanno girato intorno rifornendosi d’acqua nella baia di Marinedda)

Canadair My Sardinian Life Jennifer Avventura

Canadair My Sardinian Life Jennifer Avventura 2013 (2)

Canadair Ltd. was a civil and military aircraft manufacturer in Canada. The Bombardier 415 Superscooper (formerly Canadair CL-415 SuperScooper) is a Canadian amphibious aircraft purpose-built as a water bomber. It is an aircraft designed and built specifically for aerial firefighting. Canadair’s origins lie in the foundation of a manufacturing centre for Canadian Vickers in the Montreal suburb of Saint-Laurent.” – Source Wikipedia

“Canadair Ltd. è un produttore di velivoli civili e militari in Canada. L’Bombardier 415 Superscooper (ex Canadair CL-415 SuperScooper) è un aereo anfibio canadese appositamente costruito come un bombardiere d’acqua. Si tratta di un aereo progettato e costruito appositamente per aerei antincendio Canadair. origini risalgono alla fondazione di un centro di produzione per la Canadian Vickers nel sobborgo di Montreal del Saint-Laurent “. – Wikipedia

Canadair My Sardinian Life Jennifer Avventura 2013

When will the government realize that Sardinia is in dire need of these aircrafts? Why did the government buy an F-35 instead of a much needed Canadair water bomber? When will the senseless act of lighting fires end?

Quando il Governo si renderà conto  che la Sardegna ha un disperato bisogno di questi aerei? Perché il Governo acquista un F-35 invece di un Canadair che è molto più necessario? Quando finirà questo insensato modo di appiccare incendi?