We are not ready for the apocalypse. Not in Miami!

Updated: Apr 18

As I tried to accomplish my regular weekly grocery shopping trip for the second time in a row I found myself rushing through supermarket isles to get it done as soon as possible. Not necessarily because I was fearing contracting the Coronavirus itself, but because of how people are freaked out in general. Honestly, I just can't stand that kind of energy.

One of the things I most enjoy about being a stay home mom is the fact that I have the convenience of running errands at a time in which stores and grocery stores are almost completely empty. I highly appreciate having the place almost all to myself and not having to waste any unnecessary time in lines, seeking a parking spot or stuck in traffic jams. Mostly, I delight in taking my time to pick my produce and stroll around with nothing to worry about.

Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case since the end of last week. To my surprise, when I arrived at Target to buy a couple of cleaning supplies the store was packed. Shelves half empty. One of the products I was looking for was sanitizing wipes, which we use on a daily basis. I always place one pack inside my daughter's lunch box and another with her snack pack. Unable to find it I reached out to one of the staff members who was restocking a shelf with watermelon decorated hand sanitizer. I asked her if it was possible to estimate when some more would arrive.

"We had some this morning when we opened at 8 O'clock, but there was a line outside and everything was gone almost immediately. We should have more available tomorrow morning, but you need to be here right when it opens. It's not even 9 am and everything is gone. It has been crazy since early today!"

As a replacement in case I ran out of wipes I asked her a couple of the small hand sanitizers she had. Other shoppers who heard the conversation approached her and took the remaining even before she placed them in their spots. I had a very similar experience right after when I headed to Whole Foods and Publix to finish my shopping trip.

This week, during the afternoon, as I went to buy some fresh produce and items from the butcher shop, one different thing I noticed on my way to the grocery store was the fact that the golf course was busier than ever. Which made me happy to see that people are taking their free time to be outdoors and being active during such stressful and overwhelming times.

At the moment, California governor Gavin Newsom have already issued an order for the entire state to stay home, but he has not forbidden people from leaving their homes to exercise or to shop for essential needs like food and medication. Restaurants are still allowed to deliver. Here in Miami and Miami Beach as well as in many other places pretty much everything is closed, including beaches and parks. My only hope is that we won't get to the point in which we are not even allowed to go out to run and be active like has happened in Spain and most likely in many other places.

I do understand that that might become a necessary measure in the near future, mostly due to the lack of cooperation from individuals. I just read an article informing that even Marinas will be shut down given the fact that boaters are gathering at sand bars. Unfortunately, not everyone takes this situation as serious as it is and we all will have to pay the price for it if there's no stop to negligence and stupidity.

Something that still amazes me is to see individuals at the supermarket, wearing masks and gloves or not, yet still have no sense of social distancing, which means to stay at least six feet away from others. Clearly, one thing that hasn’t changed in this city is the fact that people, in general, are still extremely rude, clueless and selfish. As I walked towards the Brazilian mini-market I noticed a note at the door requesting that only one customer at time should be in the store. Before I went in, as I opened the door, I made sure to ask if I could come in.

As I was stood inside the store requesting a couple of products to the attendant, another customer opened the door and walked in. As if it wasn't enough, she heading straight to where I was, standing right next to me. Uncomfortable, I immediately moved away from her. She kept walking all over the store.

On the other hand, this whole new experience has brought me the opportunity to rethink a couple of thoughts as far as certain aspects. Not long ago I shared a post entitled "cooking is caring". (https://kleinnanda.wixsite.com/thenandakleinjournal/post/cooking-is-caring) where I shared my belief that cooking is a way to care for others and a form of expressing love. Meanwhile I still share that same point of view, now I came to realize that cooking goes way beyond: in 2020 it is still, in fact, a matter of survival. In modern society we are so spoiled with so many products and services available that we tend to forget the importance of basic things fundamental for living and caring for ourselves. Thankfully, at our household we are used to staying home, cooking and enjoyIng our time together, which is actually making things easier on us.

Back at the grocery store, as I looked around for items in my grocery list and realizing I wouldn't be able to find all of them, I had to go with whatever was available. As an example, the only kind of organic potato available in abundance was the Japanese Sweet Potato, which I not only find delicious, but it also happens I know how to cook it.

That's when I realized that cooking is more than carrying but also a matter of survival. Which is exactly one of the reasons I didn't feel like there was any need to panic. When you know how to cook it's easier to be creative and put a bunch of ingredients together and still make something delicious out of it. The same sense of confidence struck me when I went to buy some seafood, where there were absolutely no customers, except for me, meanwhile the butcher shop had quite a line.

I wasn't able to find white rice and beans, but it didn't cause any concern at the time since I already had some cooked at home and it should last me at least one more week. On the other hand, the isles with frozen meals, chips and not so nutritious options were completely empty. And that is one of the other reasons I didn't freak out: I believe in having a healthy lifestyle; to eat balanced meals, fruits, vegetables and to take good care of the immune system in a daily basis so we know we have greater chances of fighting back.

Just in case, I decided to head back to Target to check if I could find rice and they did have a few bags left: jasmine and parboiled. Not the most common, but once again, I proudly grabbed one bag of each - considering that not all the household members like the same kind. Nonetheless, what caught my attention was the note attached to the shelf informing that the limit on the amount of bags per customer was nothing but eight of the same item. Which is a lot of rice! No wonder why they had barely any left for other shoppers...

Trying to reset from most of the craziness added to so much nonsense, I am at least trying to keep up with my runs. Wednesday early morning I had my second run since all of this started to erupt. Since all run clubs have been canceled until further notice, I headed out alone for the first time since I was training for the 2019 Miami Beach Half Marathon. Luckily, during the previous Saturday after debating if we should meet, it was decided that if we followed the government requests it would still be safe to run as a small group. So we took it seriously, starting by the pre-determined rules of "no touching" and "bring your own water" to the social distancing group picture, in opposition from the previous week:

In fact, the adjustments have been major. Not only when it comes to running but thus far in the entire family routine. My days now resume in basically homeschooling my daughter starting from 8 O’clock to about 3 pm with a break for me to make lunch and practice P.E so she can get at least thirty minutes of exercise per day. I would be liyng if I said I am not enjoying it, but it hasn't been easy.

I am grateful, though, for the time I have been able to spend with my family, since my husband has been working from home as well. The modifications have been so great that even Andres Viglucci from the Miami Herald wrote about the changes in greeting that have happened because of the Coronavirus and I was flattered to be a part of it. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article241233391.html

To be quite honest, I do not enjoy running by myself at all. Although, given the facts, with a public health crisis I was left with no choice but to run solo. Usually, what keeps my mind busy it is to listen to the sound of our sneakers trotting on the asphalt; to pay close attention to our cadence as we move along. By myself, all I had available was my own thoughts, so inspired by some of Andres questions I decided to observe my surroundings and analyze the differences in the patterns since all this Coronavirus started to keep myself busy as I ran.

In a three and a half mile route during what would be rush hour, along my way I encountered forty five drivers (in which only two were driving over the speed limit. Astonishing fact, by the way!), four runners, two walkers, two bike riders and a dog that took his owner out of the house to use the restroom. However, watching the yellow lights flashing to warn drivers of the school zone was certainly the moment that stupefied me the most: a sign of caution for merely anyone about children who weren't even at school when, in fact, they should be if... well, we all know what.

Grasping a sense of what is going on around the entire world made me truly feel like I was in a movie. It is indeed, unrealistic what we are living. But I try to be positive and enjoy each and every moment God has given me. At that time I was just glad for having the road pretty much all to myself. Not having to worry about anything except for my pace.

I have no idea when and where this is going to end. I do know, however, that God is above everything and I feel peace in my heart. I have been trying to be positive and appreciative of all the great things I have in my life and what surrounds me. Also, I am trying to learn from this experience and I have already recognized how out of my comfort zone I have been pushed to. Nonetheless, I noticed I have been able to find new ways to accomplish whatever I need to find joy and happiness in my heart.

Now after a pretty cold Miami winter it's finally spring. My favorite season! I have heard of some people putting up Christmas lights to cheer up a bit in these difficult times. For me what has worked it is to appreciate the nature, which I always do, but spring brings light to life. So today, I planted a bunch of beautiful colorful flowers in our garden with my daughter. One of the fun things we have done as well during this week was to do a flower scavenger hunt around the neighborhood.

You know, we might run out of toilet paper because some people bought more than then they really needed and ironically they won't be able to return it. But we still have plenty of hope, love, faith and positivity within us! So as long as we have God and plenty of pretty flowers to look at, we should be fine!

“What about you? What have you been able to learn and realize so far?”

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