Giselle Rufer, Macolin, Switzerland
On March 13th 2020, I was coming back from the 11th Annual Women's Leadership and Empowerment Conference in Bali, Indonesia.
For the first time, the atmosphere at the airport surprised me! There were very few travelers, which meant very little noise. The silence made everything strange, and even disturbing. I remember looking around trying to figure out what was happening, for a second I thought I had landed in a different world.
My husband knew something was not right, so he decided to pick me up in Geneva, rather than letting me take the 2h train, which I usually take from the airport to my home after my travels. Once home, I realized nothing had changed and maybe it was all in my head, so I proceed with my normal day to day tasks. However, in just a few days my fear became my reality as I heard on TV: ‘People over 60 are at risk’. – That means my husband and I are at risk. But wondered what does this mean? I thought.
On the blink of an eye, I saw it clear. I was no longer allowed to see my grand- children, nor my friend Marija with her two little girls, which I was so used to see almost on a daily basis for teatime. I then decided the best thing to do, was to pack the girls’ toys that were at my place and give them back to Marija, when she came to collect them, the only sign of affection we could share was a kiss on the air. What do I do now? I asked myself. How am I going to cope not seeing or doing anything? When I am so used to take matters into my own hands.
As I had no other option, but to stay at home. I opted for cleaning my storage, while doing this, I came across a quire of mandalas and a large box of color pencils, which I had bought several Christmas ago. Here is my savior! I said to myself. I have been wanting to color these mandalas for some time now but never had the time to do so. I was fascinated by my discovery. Without thinking it twice, I sat by my desk, looking into the Swiss Alps and I entered a dreamlike state, with the coloring pencils in hand. One hour later, I let my work proudly on the desk and made a list of all the things I wanted to complete during this lock down period.
How long will this confinement last? No one could give me a clear answer, so I called my 94 year old mother, who is luckily in good health.