At this point, we have a worldwide virus on our hands. But we can learn something from the coronavirus in Italy. Here, we chat with an Italian in quarantine who shares how she is surviving shelter in place orders and even finding time to exercise self care strategies and be productive. If you're under an American quarantine or are staying at home elsewhere in the world, embrace these tips today.
I first met Rosie Mcgrath Panchini in Lisbon, Portugal several years ago at a sponsored nutrition conference. She's an incredible person who I immediately clicked with. Since then, we've traveled together to Toronto, Canada and Budapest, Hungary (also for work). Her home base is in Cortona, Italy, in the Tuscany area between Florence and Rome. When I heard about the horrible coronavirus scare in Italy, I immediately thought of her, as the Italian death toll from COVID-19 has been unimaginable.
I've been following Rosie's daily Facebook posts, as she is a true inspiration and is one of those people who always embraces the bright side. She posts daily about her culinary adventures while in quarantine, whether they be chocolate making or cake decorating. When things recently got very real in a very unimaginable way here in the United States, I reached out to Rosie and asked her to provide her thoughts and advice—as Italy's experience with the coronavirus pandemic is several weeks ahead of ours and may provide a picture of what's to come to America in the weeks ahead. Without any further ado, read on to hear from Rosie and her experience with the coronavirus in Italy, as well as her self-care strategies for sticking out the coronavirus quarantine.
Q: What does being in quarantine look like for you?
A: "We have been under quarantine since March 5, 2020. I am here with my husband, Alessandro Panchini. He is a pianist and a music professor. The levels of quarantine have changed dramatically since the beginning. At first, we were allowed to go and walk in the park, maintaining a distance from others. Restaurants and bars were open until 6 pm; and hairdressers, osteopaths, and podiatrists were still open. Now, they are all closed until further notice. We were initially allowed to do the food shopping together. Now, either I go or my husband goes. Only one person in a family is allowed. Also only one person is allowed in the car; otherwise, you cannot maintain the distance of at least one meter [3.3 feet] apart. We are allowed only to stay in our immediate area. Whenever we leave home, we have to have a signed document showing the date, time, and reason for going out—for example, food shopping, visiting elderly parents, or a medical emergency. If the police believe your reason for being out is not one of total necessity, they can fine you €3,000 [$3,265]. The only shops that are open now are food shops and pharmacies. As of last Saturday (March 21, 2020), our parks were closed. So the lovely walks that we were originally allowed to do are no longer permissible. You can go no further than 50 meters [164 feet] from your home, and you must still take your self certification with you. Also, the cleaning lady is not allowed to come anymore. so we are the cleaning team!"
Q: Are you and your husband still working from home? If so, how have you changed your day-to-day routine to be able to do this while in quarantine?
A: "With regards to my work, I have a separate studio that is 20 meters [66 feet] away at the end of the garden. As an event organizer [Rosie is the founder and managing director of The Big Event], my work is on hold at the moment. I initially started researching a future event. But as the locations and restaurants started to close down, it became unproductive to continue. However, now I have the time to cook, bake, produce, and even improve recipes I had created in the past. I had started to write a book 11 years ago, making lighter healthier versions of mostly Italian recipes. I am now working on recipes for that book. At first, I was able to do my long morning and evening walk, and everything else during the day was slotted in between. Now that these have stopped, my routine is less structured than before and needs improving.
"My husband teaches at a specialized music school in Arezzo that prepares students for the conservatory. He has been able to continue working and has been giving lessons via Zoom. The students have responded very well, as it is new and technological. In fact, many are studying better than before. Alessandro misses the personal interaction with them, and he is definitely not used to being here at home all the time. His music room has everything he needs, but he yearns to get out of the house and see people! Of course, he has no live performances."