Wednesday 18/03/2020 

Today is the first day I’ve had inklings of frustration and feelings of being trapped in a cycle of which the end is definitely not nigh. I believe it is because I spend about 8 hours a day connected to video conference calls talking about the only bloody topic that people can think about. I don’t blame people for wanting to talk about Corona and to be fair I can barely think about anything else either but it is tiresome to having the same conversation in broken English 5 or 6 times a day (I’ve completely given up correcting the pronunciation of ‘quarantine’). Between classes my friends, who find themselves in various exotic locations, are also scheduling group video calls. I am truly grateful for this incredible technology which allows us to share a ‘virtual vino’ – literally to have a glass of wine and a fairly fluid group conversation together. I hope one day I look back at this comment and chuckle at how much further tech has progressed – perhaps driven by quarantines becoming a common occurrence.

As in reality (as we are now referring to our daily normal lives that we now feel so detached from), I am in danger, during this quarantine, of trying to be too over-ambitious in setting myself unrealistic personal targets in the time that I have available. I am left feeling frustrated with myself when I inevitably don’t manage to carve every cork, write a diary entry, watch a film and read a book a day. I need to train myself out of this especially if I am going to survive the next few weeks mentally. I think this is part of a wider problem of social anxiety that is fuelled by social media and ironically isn’t lessening despite socialising having been temporarily prohibited. It is impossible to keep on top of all the virtual concerts, balcony meet-ups, pub quizzes and other various events organised through Whatsapp and Instagram (Facebook you are old news).

One uplifting moment that rings out across the city every day without fail at 8pm is the clap. These few minutes are enough to remind anyone in Madrid suffering from loneliness that we are in this together. It is a truly powerful feeling that I will never forget. For these few minutes every evening we are reminded of the deep caring nature of humans that we so often forget, and rightfully so, in the struggles and competition of our fast-paced lives. We are all acknowledging the sacrifice not only of the unbelievably dedicated and brave medical services, delivery drivers and supermarket workers but also each other. Having never made an effort and actually even gone out of my way to avoid neighbours, we are now applauding together and smiling at each other with mutual respect.

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