It has been a long time since I posted anything either on my blog or social media. And it is not that I have been lazy or lacking creativity. (I have had a few articles and recipes ready for publishing). The truth is I didn’t want to post them as if nothing happened. I felt I had to refer at first to the current situation. But I simply didn’t know how.
As probably many of you, I am still in a sort of shellshock. From one hand it feels like a lot of time passed since “the normal days”. But from the other – less than two months ago we were still wondering if we should carry on with our plans and go skiing in Italy. At that time there were only a few cases of coronavirus there… In the end, all four of us decided against it, and we went to the Polish seaside instead. This relaxing holiday probably gave us the strength we would have needed so soon.
Just three days after my daughters went back to London after the holiday, the situation worsened in Italy. And in Poland, a national “stay at home” restriction was announced. Meanwhile, in the UK, not much was done to stop the virus from spreading. Additionally, supermarkets’ shelves in London were stripped of food. In this situation, we preferred our daughters to come back and stay safe with us. Quite understandably, they found it challenging to make the decision to leave their friends and lives behind.
Meanwhile, things started to move swiftly. Just a few days later, the Polish government cancelled all the scheduled flights and closed all the borders for foreigners. Fortunately, there were still two ways left for Poles to get back to Poland: either try to get on one of the flights chartered by the government or fly to Germany and drive back.
Looking back, the 15th of March was one of the craziest and most stressful days of my life. It started around 11 am when my daughters made the final decision to come back home. The frantic search for chartered flights showed there were no tickets available for the following two weeks. Luckily, we were still fast enough to buy the last tickets for the last flight to Berlin that day.
I left home around 5 pm and by myself (my husband is in a higher risk group than I am) drove on a deserted motorway to Berlin. There, I had a very surrealistic experience. When I could already see the airport, my daughters called me to confirm they had landed. Except that massive airport was empty! For a few minutes, I thought I transferred to a different reality: how could have they arrived if there was no one there?! Thankfully Google Maps on my phone (how could we have lived in the past without the internet?!) took me at the end to the right place – the Schonefeld airport and not the unfinished Brandenburg one that, somehow, the GPS in my car directed me to.
When the three of us finally approached the border, we couldn’t have noticed the quite long queue. But none of us thought we would spend there almost 5 hours waiting for our temperature testing! (FYI some people who arrived at the border 2-3 days later had to wait for 30 hours in a 50 km (!) long queue). Finally, having spent in the car 15 hours, I brought my daughters home. And as per new rules, the next day our 2-week strict stay at home only quarantine begun.
I am finishing writing this article post-quarantine so I can say that probably we didn’t have the coronavirus (unless we all went through it without the symptoms). Obviously from the 5th day of our quarantine, all three of us started to be a bit paranoid: each cough or sneeze caused a mild (or not) panic. But the most important thing is that we are feeling fine now.
While we were under quarantine, police visited us every day to check whether we did stay at home. (We, of course, did. A penalty for breaking this rule could have amounted to almost 8.000 dollars per person!).
We received a lot of support from family and friends who brought us shopping and checked on us. But nothing changed the fact that unlike during the lockdown when you should stay at home, but you could go shopping, or even for a short walk, we mustn’t have left the house for 14 days.
We spent the time under quarantine working, which was very difficult at the beginning under the stressful circumstances. We also spent hours talking to one another as well as to friends and family members about the situation and how we couldn’t believe all of it was happening in reality. But, obviously, we also cooked.
Although we did get supplies of fresh products every few days, we mainly used ingredients from our pantry. And because my daughters don’t eat meat, we often used legumes. They are a great and tasty source of proteins. But their other advantage is that you can keep them (dry or canned) for a long time.
One of our favourite dishes was Dhal with Spinach and Green Peas. We did have fresh spinach, but this dhal would be still excellent even without it and with the fresh tomatoes replaced by canned ones.
Aromatic Iranian One Pot is always a hit with my daughters. Although technically a soup, its thick consistency ensured that a bowl of it kept us full and extremely happy for a long time.
I still had squashes so Spicy Pumpkin with Spinach and Cashews had to appear on our quarantine menu. Again, it includes spinach, but if you don’t have it, you can easily skip it.
I have also used the time under quarantine to try out some new recipes, and soon you will see the results of my experiments on my blog. But for now, stay at home and stay safe. And remember, it will all end one day :).