• Marie Bateson

Yo Me Quedo En Casa

Last night, Daniel and I sat up later than usual discussing all our options. Neither of us are Spanish - we can technically still leave the country. We'd probably have to self-isolate for a couple of weeks at our next destination, but we can go somewhere remote with a large expanse of land so that the kids (and us) could still enjoy physical freedom.

Our top choices are Sweden, where Daniel's mother has a large house in the middle of the country and Australia, where Daniel's sister and her family live near Melbourne. My family is all in the U.S. so we ruled that out as we probably wouldn't be able to get travel health insurance at this point and... what was the other thing? Oh, yeah, GUNS. We'd already seen the photos of the long lines out of gun stores. No, thank you. I'm not getting shot by some deranged redneck who wants my loo roll.

On the other hand, is now the time to flee?

First, we're in the middle of the extremely lengthy process of buying a house here. As luck would have it, we're due to meet the sellers at the Notary's to exchange this week. We have no idea whether that process can still go ahead, or if we can even find people to help us move into a house anytime soon, or if we're even allowed to move house during that time. But, is it worth fleeing the country and delaying this whole thing more than it already has been? Our offer was accepted in mid-December. It's now March. We want that floofing house nowwww.

Also, this virus doesn't understand political borders. It's going to hit every country and we can't predict how those countries will react. Would we leave Spain for Sweden or Australia only for their governments to roll out even more draconian measures than Spain?

Most importantly, it feels incredibly irresponsible to be dragging our potentially infected miasmas across sea and land for our own personal comfort. The whole point of the lockdown is to stop the spread of this nasty virus. I really don't want to be the source of a COVID-19 outbreak anywhere.

And, finally, I feel an overwhelming sense of patriotism. Spain is our home. I love this country; I love this city; I love all our people here. I don't want to fly out and leave them knee-deep in caca. Abandoning Valencia feels very much like the wrong thing for us to do. That said, I'm not judging those who quickly booked seats on the next flights out. Every family has different circumstances and different allegiances. I'm also grateful to have that 'Get Out Of Jail Free' card in my back pocket, even if I never have the opportunity to use it. It's like a little security blanket right now.

For the moment, we're staying put. Yo me quedo en casa, Valencia, because I love you.

For those unaware of Valencia's enormous March festival, this week was supposed to be the glorious final act of Las Fallas. These beautiful giant structures were in the process of being hoisted up all over the city when Fallas was cancelled on March 10th. The creators of the sculpture in the main plaza quickly added a face mask to their half-built piece, which did nothing to remind the crowds surrounding her to practice social distancing...

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