Note from the Editor: Due to the popularity of the “Day in the Life” post I made last week, I’ve turned this into a series called the “Quarantine Diaries,” where twice a week, we’ll “travel” the world to see how different people are living during this pandemic! This week, we’re travelling to Italy, another place that’s unfortunately a Coronavirus hotspot, to see how Nikki is doing in the beautiful island of Sardinia. While Nikki is from Bavaria, Germany, where I lived for almost two years, we actually met in NYC about two years back where we instantly bonded over our love for travelling, art and spontaneous adventures!
Hi, my name is Nikki! I am originally from Germany but since the beginning of 2020, I am living on a small island called Sardinia, which is part of Italy. Ever since 2017, when I got out of high school, I have been a restless globetrotter. In the past three years, I’ve lived in three different continents working whatever job I found from volunteering to waitressing to housekeeping.
Travelling and exploring other countries have been my biggest passions ever since my parents took me on my first trips to Portugal and Italy when I was a child. I’ve always felt so restless and just wanted to keep going, keep exploring and see more and more of our beautiful planet. I never felt satisfied enough to settle down somewhere or to start uni like everybody else wanted me to – until the beginning of this year, when I got washed up in Sardinia and I realized that I don’t want to leave here for a long time. I have so many memories tied to this small island because I spent a lot of my childhood summers here with my family and later on, also with friends I made who lived permanently on the island. Sardinia has always felt more like a home than Germany ever did. So I requested my residence in Sardinia and got it approved just a month before Italy got hit by the pandemic.
The Pandemic and Quarantine in Italy
I only just had received the news about this new virus and was still making fun of panic buyers and how unnecessary panic buying was, when suddenly hospitals in Northern Italy got flooded by patients and soon were working on maximum capacity and were not able to take care of everybody who needed help anymore. A few days after that we got the notice that the entire country would go into lockdown and that we were not allowed to leave our houses. This was over a month ago now.
Quarantine rules since got stricter and stricter. In the beginning, we were still allowed to go for walks, restaurants were still open and you could get take-aways. But since numbers of new infected people didn’t decrease after the first week of quarantine, rules became stricter.
No more walks, all bars, restaurants and factories closed – Italy locked down everything besides really necessary stores and facilities like pharmacies, grocery shops and post offices. Because of how bad the situation in the hospitals in Northern Italy was, Italy was one of the countries with stricter quarantine rules, which has just been extended until the 3rd of May. The government since then has published a course of actions on how to slowly re-open everything after the 3rd of May, which right now gives us a lot of hope because there is finally an end to this quarantine in sight. And honestly, I can’t wait for it.
My Daily Life in Quarantine
Days have started to blur into each other after the first week of quarantine. I was on the course to search for a job here in Sardinia when the pandemic happened. So I am currently unemployed and so is my boyfriend who normally works as a chef and who I am sharing a little apartment with. We both don’t know which day of the week it is anymore. Even though days seem all the same now, there isn’t a real routine or anything because I don’t have anything to do really. But nevertheless, I will try to describe what a typical day in my quarantine life looks like.
Getting up and Having Lunch
I mostly just sleep through the morning and typically get up around noon. Once I make it out of bed I change into some cozy pants and sweater, wash myself and make myself a coffee. I always have a coffee latte after I get up. Instead of getting it at a bar as I normally do (Italian bars just make the best coffee and it is really cheap, too, so normally there is no need to prepare it yourself) I now enjoy it at home.
If the weather is nice I sit outside on our little balcony with it. I’ve started a little diary where I write down things I am grateful for and positive affirmations in order to keep a positive mindset through all of this which is quite hard sometimes.
By the time I finish my morning coffee and my daily diary entry, my boyfriend gets up and starts to prepare lunch. Having an Italian chef in the house is really nice in these quarantine days. Even though all restaurants are closed I still get to eat delicious, fresh food for both lunch and dinner and I don’t even have to worry about cooking. Yes, I know, I am lucky 😉 … and no, I am not worried about gaining some extra kilos. I try to eat only twice a day and avoid snacking in between, sugar and alcohol and so far that has worked quite well for me. Also, there is no shame in gaining some weight when you literally are not allowed to go outside to do any sort of cardio training…
Keeping Myself Busy When There Is Absolutely Nothing To Do
Once the dishes after lunch are done, I normally sit down at the kitchen table to do any kind of creative work to keep myself busy. I like to paint, draw and write. Or I go through old travel photos and organize them. It really depends on what I feel like doing. Sometimes I even end up watching Netflix all day or hang out on social media for hours and hours.
Since we basically got put into quarantine overnight there wasn’t any time to buy some fun board games or puzzles and it is impossible to order them online because Italian suppliers aren’t working right now and companies outside of Italy are not allowed to deliver to Italy so we just have to live with what we have at home for now.
I have also gotten myself the Kindle app and spend quite a lot of time reading ebooks. My boyfriend instead likes to play video games and play around with music. He mixes electronic music. I think that being creative in some sort of way is really the best way to make time pass because you also feel some satisfaction when you see the end result and don’t feel like you’ve wasted your day doing nothing.
Once the sun starts to set my boyfriend typically starts to prepare dinner.
After dinner I often talk to friends and family via video calls which is so important to me. I mean, I would call myself an introvert and I normally don’t really mind when I get to spend a lot of time by myself where I can be creative – but even I have started to miss being social and that has never happened before!! I normally try to escape social situations but nowadays I am the first one to say yes to any sort of call or video conference. Besides the fact that it is nice talking to someone else than my boyfriend, it is also interesting to hear how my friends deal with quarantine and what quarantine looks like in other countries.
When I get out of one of my many online hang outs, I try to do some yoga but I am not very consistent with it, whoops! Even when I literally have the entire day to do yoga I still find a good enough excuse to not do it… that has been a real struggle and I have promised myself to seriously work on a work out routine through out the last weeks of this quarantine. It actually would be a nice change to all the hanging out between the couch, bed and kitchen table.
Before bed, I normally watch an episode of Black Mirror with my boyfriend together. I really enjoy Black Mirror at the moment because it always gives you food for thought with its futuristic ideas and is a good distraction from eventual negative or anxious thoughts before falling asleep.
In the nights, I dream about a normal world without the Corona pandemic and our quarantine. How beautiful is it going to be to go outside the house again without having to worry about a virus? How beautiful is this summer going to be when we can finally travel again and see friends and family in person?
Thinking about how special even the little things can be, things that we have taken for granted until now are going to be, and thinking about how happy I am going to be once I get to do them again makes me really excited.
I am daydreaming about visiting my family and friends in Germany, about going to Sardinia’s wonderful beaches and getting a really good cappuccino in my favourite bar, about seeing the friends I have made here in Sardinia again, about lighthearted evenings spent at the bar with friends talking about trivial stuff of every day life, joking, laughing and goofing around.
There are so many things I am looking forward to and now that there is finally an end for the total quarantine in sight, I am getting more and more excited from day to day. Wherever you are in this world and whether you are just at the beginning or in the dark midst of this quarantine – know that there is going to be an end to it and that there is so, so much to look forward to. We are all in this together and we will all make it through it together!
You can follow Nikki on Instagram at @adventure_panda_