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We are not ready for the apocalypse. At least not in Miami!

Updated: Dec 25, 2020

As I tried to accomplish my regular weekly grocery shopping trip for the second time in a row, I found myself rushing through supermarket aisles 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-at-home mom is the fact that I have the convenience of running errands when stores are pretty empty. I highly appreciate having the place almost all to myself and not having to wasting time in line, seeking a parking spot, or stuck in a traffic jam. 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 were 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, but there was a line outside and everything was gone almost immediately. We should have more tomorrow morning, but you need to be here right when we open. It's not even 9 a.m. and everything is gone. It has been crazy all day!"

I asked her for a couple of the small hand sanitizer bottles she had. Other shoppers who heard the conversation approached and took the remaining ones even before she placed them on the shelves. I had similar experiences right after that at Whole Foods and Publix.

This week, on my way to buy some fresh produce and items from the butcher shop in the afternoon, I noticed the golf course was busier than ever. It made me happy to see that people were taking time to be outdoors and active during such stressful and overwhelming times.

At the moment, California governor Gavin Newsom has already issued an order for the entire state to stay home, but has not forbidden people from leaving their homes to exercise or to shop for essentials 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 where we are not even allowed to run and be active—like in Spain and probably other places.

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

It still amazes me that individuals at the supermarket, wearing masks and gloves or not, still have no sense of social distancing. Clearly, one thing that hasn’t changed in this city: in general, people are still extremely rude, clueless, and selfish. As I walked toward the Brazilian mini-market I noticed a note on the door requesting only one customer to enter the store. Before I went in, I made sure to ask if I could.

As I stood inside the store requesting a couple of products, another customer opened the door and walked right in. As if that weren't enough, she headed straight to where I was and stood 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 few things. Not long ago I shared a post entitled "Cooking is Caring" ( about my belief that cooking is a way to care for others and a form of expressing love. I still have that same point of view, but now I 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 the number of products and services available that we tend to forget the importance of basic things fundamental for living and caring for ourselves. Thankfully, our household is used to staying home, cooking, and enjoying our time together, which is actually making things easier on us.

As I looked around for items on my list at the grocery store and realized 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 I know how to cook.

That's when I realized that cooking is more than caring; it’s also a matter of survival. 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 and there were absolutely no customers, Meanwhile, the butcher had quite a line.

I wasn't able to find white rice and beans, but it didn't cause me concern at the time since I already had some at home and it would last me at least one more week. On the other hand, the aisles 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; eating fruits, vegetables and to taking good care of our immune systems on a daily basis so we have a greater chance of fighting illness.

Just in case, I decided to head back to Target to see 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. Nonetheless, what caught my attention was the note attached to the shelf that said the limit on the number of bags per customer was eight of the same item. Which is a lot of rice! No wonder they had barely any left for other shoppers.

I am at least trying to keep up with my runs. Early Wednesday 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 training for the 2019 Miami Beach half marathon. Luckily, during the previous Saturday, our run club decided that if we followed the government requests, it would still be safe to run as a small group. So, we took it seriously with rules from "no touching" and "bring your own water" to the social distancing group picture, as opposed to last week’s.

Our family adjustments have been major. My days now are basically consumed with home schooling my daughter starting from 8 to about 3 with a break for lunch and PE so she can get at least thirty minutes of exercise per day. I would be lying 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 greetings because of the Coronavirus and I was flattered to be a part of it.

I do not enjoy running by myself at all. Although, given a public health crisis, I was left with no choice but to run solo. When running with my club, I listen to the sound of our sneakers trotting on the asphalt, paying close attention to our cadence as we move along. But alone, all I had was my own thoughts, so to keep myself busy as I ran, and inspired by some of Andres’ questions, I decided to observe my surroundings and analyze different patterns since the coronavirus started.

On a three-and-a-half mile route during what would be rush hour, I encountered 45 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 certainly 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. How we are now living is indeed unrealistic. But I try to be positive and enjoy each and every moment God has given me. I was just glad for having the road pretty much all to myself. Not having to worry about anything except 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 far out of my comfort zone I have been pushed. Nonetheless, I noticed I have been able to find new ways to accomplish whatever I need to find joy and happiness in my heart.

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. What has worked for me it is to appreciate the nature, which I always do, but spring really brings light to life. So today, I planted a bunch of beautiful, colorful flowers in our garden with my daughter. Another fun thing we did this week was 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, 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 learned or realized so far?

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