Quarantine Experience in Athens
Hi dear Jennifer,
I’m writing this to show a small portion of what I’m experiencing during this Coronavirus crisis.
I’ve been in home quarantine for over a month now. Three weeks under governmental lockdown. Since the beginning of the term, I’ve been continuing my university lessons online.
Everything has its pros and cons. Of course staying at home, where you feel safe and are relaxed, is a good thing. Waking up every day and seeing my husband not leaving for work, instead working from home, does seem easier, in a way.
But there are several things to write about. First what I’m experiencing under quarantine as a foreigner, then my experience studying online, and then the concerns that we are faced with now.
For the first part, I can say that it is actually very hard for me as a refugee in a foreign country to be going through this crisis. I imagine being home next to my family in a crisis would be easier. At the same time I am worried for my parents in Iran, who are very old. The virus has a high death rate in Iran. In addition to this, the fear imposed from the strict lockdown, not knowing the language, not being able to visit the hospital, and not going outside at all for this long, is really stressing. I can feel the situation depressing me. I just have to hope that nothing happens to me during this crisis, because if anything happens, there will be no help available. Even going to the supermarket is a nightmare. Now everybody is being checked to have exit passes, then proof of ID, and for us that we hold an asylum card, it’s tough because most police don’t know what this card is. It just confuses them.
They say to do all shopping online. We tried that, but the next available delivery date was one month later. Even if we need a gas tank for cooking, we can’t go outside to purchase one now, and can’t call them because they only understand Greek. So, living under these strict conditions is really depressing as a foreigner.
At the same time, I’m using my time very well to continue my studies online. Because I don’t have to spend time going to the university, and coming back, I now have a lot of time to work on my assignments and essays, which I am very satisfied with. I am very satisfied with the Webster online opportunity and the technology it’s using to keep the classes running. Even though I lack some equipment like a webcam, I was able to get creative and attach my mobile to my small laptop and use my mobile as a webcam. The good thing was that since the first day of the crisis, the university never closed and immediately started the courses online. The professors are very cooperative and flexible due to the conditions of the crisis. Everyone is helping one another because it’s online and some don’t have the technical skills. Also some graduate students are helping the undergraduate students in case they didn’t understand any parts of the courses. The negative part was just that the material we normally receive in printed form, now we get in a soft copy, and we have to write some assignments by hand. I just realized how much technology could be helpful. This is an opportunity for us students to not lose any time and continue our studies during the pandemic.
Also, because I’m taking a statistics course, the class is very well incorporating the current situation of the virus in the course, so I can now understand the media very well. We are learning how to distinguish scientific statistics, and not the fake news on the media. Also I’m taking a course of Gender Rights, which is relevant because it is well documented that domestic violence has increased in houses during the quarantine. So, everything is being blended together very well and I’m very satisfied with the courses I took this term.
It is also noteworthy that because the current crisis has led to many people losing their jobs, salaries being reduced, and we know in Greece that there will be another economic crisis after this, I’m very worried about our future. Right now my husband is working online, but nobody knows how long this will last and if everything will be back to normal or not. Will he lose his job? What will happen here? At the same time, I’m worried about my refugee status and receiving the resident permit and travel document which was postponed. It’s been 6 months we’re waiting for our residence permit but it’s still not ready. I also had a court date for my travel document which was postponed due to the crisis. So everything in my life is kind of postponed now.
There are many concerns, but I have to take advantage of the positive things going on now. Like the university continuing…
Lastly, I wanted to let you know that I was invited to join the Webster University Lambda Kappa Chapter of the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business. It is a nice feeling to have my hard work recognized by such a prestigious organization.
I hope for the summer term we will be able to return to the campus and continue there.
Very truly yours,