• Marie Bateson

Familiar Faces

One of the things that's made life seem a little more normal these days is to continue seeing the people we regularly saw before lockdown. (Side note - do you think this is going to be like a BC and AD situation? As in, there will be life before lockdown and life after lockdown? Or do you think humankind will forget the 'lessons' we thought we were learning during these weeks of isolation?)

Like everyone else, we're now having virtual happy hours with the friends we used to hang out with prior to the lockdown, but we're also having regular online get-togethers with people we never used to do that with. For example, some of my oldest friends and I are scattered across Europe in the Czech Republic, Germany, the UK, Sweden and me in Spain. We all keep in touch individually but haven't managed to get all five of us together for literally years. However, since lockdown, all five of us have managed to meet up online for a drink. And, my family?! It literally took the world as we know it coming to an end for us to manage to arrange a call with all 8 of us.

We're also continuing to take the classes that we took pre-lockdown, albeit in a different format. It's obviously for our benefit - we really value the services these people provide - but it's also for theirs. Most of them are entrepreneurs whose incomes have been absolutely whacked by this lockdown. If there's anything we can do to keep them buoyed during this, we're happy to do it. The only person who we saw regularly whose services are now impossible to use is our wonderful cleaner. This doesn't mean we've stopped paying her - it's just now a sort of retainer fee to ensure that she can continue living and working here post-lockdown.

The wonderful thing about all our lovely people moving their services online is that now those who aren't living in Valencia can also enjoy their talents. Here are my top recommendations for fabulous folk that are worth every penny they charge:

Spanish lessons: I have two Spanish teachers - one comes to our house for conversational Spanish and the other holds group classes in the city centre. Right now, they're both hosting classes online. They are both absolutely wonderful at patiently listening to my god-awful attempts at Spanish and our chats are so interesting and amusing that I barely realise I'm actually learning. You can find Ivana (conversational Spanish) here. Chiqui's group classes are now individual and online - find her on Instagram or Facebook.

Personal training: I've been training with Kyle for just over a year now and can't say enough about how effective and fun his training sessions are. He has the very rare super-power of being able to see exactly what minor adjustment needs to be made during each exercise to make it even harder. We've actually upped our time with him to three sessions a week during the lockdown because I need as many excuses as possible to avoid my children. No, in all seriousness, since training with Kyle, I've never been stronger, I sleep so much better and my energy levels are sky-high. I may not be prepared for the COVID-19 apocalypse but, if we make it through this, I'm more than prepared for a zombie apocalypse. Find Kyle on Instagram or Facebook.

Yoga: I have to admit, I never really 'got' yoga until I moved to Valencia. It seemed full of people who took themselves far too seriously and was more of a competition over who had the most LuLu Lemon yoga pants. But, after moving here, I started taking Jennison's classes. She's one of the most supportive, warm, and good-humoured people I've ever met and I'm now totally addicted to her yoga retreats. She's offering small live classes online during this time at home which I'm sure will be such a pleasure. Check her out at www.bravasinthesun.com or on Instagram or Facebook.

HIIT training: I took Katherine's group Metafit classes in the Turia park here in Valencia shortly after we moved here and LOVED them. Unfortunately, the schedule/location made it tough for me to continue attending them as we're out in Patacona. I'm delighted that she's now running awesome classes for adults, teens and kids from her apartment during the lockdown. Check her out on Instagram or Facebook.

Jazz and lyrical dance for all levels: Cameron's classes here in Valencia are an absolute blast. I have less than zero talent for dance but love busting a move with a bunch of wonderful people who don't take themselves seriously at all. This is one of the loveliest communities of which to be a part and my kids love his Little Flamingos classes as well. He's posting new classes from his 'bunker' every day during lockdown so check him out on Instagram or Facebook or subscribe to his YouTube channel.

Ballet for all levels: We're supposed to be attending the wedding of the lovely Sarah and Ben this July... fingers crossed coronavirus has buggered off enough by then for the festivities to go on! In the meantime, Sarah's online ballet classes are wonderful for everyone from kids to adults. Check her out on Instagram or Facebook.

Basketball training: For those of you who have a bit of outdoor space, check out my brother-in-law Rhys coaching you through some highly effective basketball drills. He's the Academy Head Coach for Melbourne United and really knows his stuff. Catch the first episode about halfway down the page here.

If you're following someone's free online classes during this lockdown time, see if there's a way to give them a financial round of applause for all the hard work they're doing. If that's not possible, give them a shout-out on social media and point others in their direction.

On a completely different note, who's watching Tiger King on Netflix now?! We just watched the first episode last night and I really don't see how it can get any more mental, even though everyone tells me it does. It's the perfect way to get your mind off coronavirus!

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