Being quarantined in a Greek hotel means that my family are constantly calling to offer support in as many ways as they can. Every person I’ve spoken to has been extremely helpful and kind to the five of us quarantined here by offering us money, kind words and constant prayers. For that, we cannot thank them enough! May Allah reward them immensely in this world and the next.
There’s just one thing that I want to reassure everyone about. Something which everyone is highly concerned about for good enough reasons. ‘Our quarantine is not going as bad as some of us expected‘.
Over the last week, we have received several texts and calls from family and work colleagues, and a common phrase we hear is, ‘it must be a nightmare’, or ‘it must be really hard’, or ‘you must be feeling really vulnerable’. With the exception of the third one, I have to honestly say that the experience is not as bad in our case. Here’s why:
I’m With My Wife & Siblings
Five of us have been placed into four rooms right next door to each other. Each room has a balcony which means that every morning we all get to catch up whilst having breakfast. We also organise zoom sessions throughout the day to catch up and read the a book together. We see each other briefly whilst we go and get our food from the dining area. Having other people around you whilst quarantining, wherever you are in the world, is always a blessing. Whilst being alone is nice and refreshing (and necessary!) at times, personally I feel having a companion/s over a longer period of time keeps you sane and healthy.
There is a catch to this though. My wife and two younger brothers have now left the quarantine hotel as they were only close contacts of those tested. My sister and I still remain in the quarantine hotel, but at least we have one another and only another three days.
We Are Getting Some Form of Work Done
All five of us, in some way or another are trying our best to accomplish some work before we get out of here. Whether that’s studying, writing, reading or even learning the greek language, we knew from day one that this would be the only way to make it through this experience. The human mind has a strange way of going into ‘relaxation mode’ when it’s not invited to engage in something productive. And that’s probably the reason why many of us in this day and age fall victim to and resort to music and Netflix when sat in isolation. I honestly was not concerned about things like money, food or even the condition of the hotel when I first arrived here. My main concern was, how are we going to stay productive whilst in here. I can proudly say that we have done many readings through zoom together, have learnt some basic greek, have learnt about the geography of this country, bonded with the local greeks, tried local greek cuisine (albeit limited), and partially completed homework that was set.
Honestly, we could not have asked for a better setting! Palm trees in front of our balcony, green hills on the side of our hotel, mountainous surroundings and the sea right in front of our hotel. All these add to the experiencing of quarantining here. Whilst it is bittersweet being so close to the sea yet unable to access it, we are thankful that we’re not exactly in front of a factory or near abandoned buildings. That’s another thing to be thankful for.
The Hotel is Good
Whilst the hotel we’re quarantining in is not a 4 or 5 star, the conditions are average. We can awake each day and freshen up. We have a continental breakfast served to us every morning. Warm water is always available for when we need to shower or wash our clothes (no washing machine here). Wifi is SUPER FAST here! I think it beats my 4G and home wifi! The beds are very comfortable and the balconies make a massive difference. A fridge and kettle is provided in each and every room and fortunately there is no case of infestations or cockroaches here. Lunch is served everyday at around 2.30PM and dinner is served at 7.30PM. If we need anything from the supermarket, the lady at the hotel (who also happens to be the cook, cleaner and security guard, bless her), goes out of her way to get us what we need.
Contentment & Gratitude
I’m not going to mention too much here to avoid sounding all preachy and self-righteous. But honestly, I think if you have these two things, it makes your experience so much more different regardless of where you are and what you’re going through. I’ve realised this from visiting developing countries and poorer neighbourhoods around the world (not trying to compare our situations). If there’s any two things we have been trying to do more than anything throughout this experience, it is being content with what we have and showing gratitude for what we get. I honestly think that it’s because of these two things that my younger brothers and wife have made it through, and how my sister and I are still pushing through.
This Time Shall Also Pass
In the end, this will be over. We’re not here forever. At the time of writing this article (29th October 2020), we are in day nine of quarantining and have another three days remaining. Soon we’ll be out of here, on a bus to Thessaloniki to tour the place for a few days before we return to our beloved home in England!
Anyone who is currently self-isolating/quarantining, hang in there! You’ll get through this.