Day 18: Half the world in lockdown

Friday, 3rd April

Half of the world’s population is now in lockdown – that’s nearly 4 billion people.

Again, the figures seem impossible to grasp. Just over a month ago, I confess to having no idea we were heading for this. Like many people, I just didn’t realise what was going on.

Here in France, we are now in our 3rd week of confinement. I am growing weary. I love my children more than anything in the world, but I am not a teacher at heart. I’m not very good at explaining the proportionality principle or French grammar. And I’m lucky: mine are still relatively small, they’re not passing any important exams like the baccalaureat for example. For those kids, the education minister announced this morning there would be no exams but a “contrôle continu“. Which in essence means they will be assessed on their results up until schools were closed on March 16th.

It is reminiscent of what happened in 1968. That year, following mass student demonstrations in May, exams were abandoned, and the pass rate increased enormously. We will have to see what impact this all has on the education system.

After a bit of a struggle to get started and focussed, my kids finally finish their schoolwork. We head over to our basket ball court for our daily game. There, we see a couple of strangers sitting between the flower boxes of our shared garden. They are having homemade pizza. We wish them “bon appétit”. This gives my son an idea: why don’t we do the same? At first I refuse. We’re not supposed to hang around, we have just one hour to get some fresh air. He pleads, the sun shines relentlessly, and I yield. We pop home, grab some leftovers in the fridge, and go back for a picnic. The three of us sit on a cloth in a large, empty flower box – which we will fill with plants and flowers once lockdown is over and we can get our hands on some soil – and we enjoy this silly, improvised moment of freedom away from the four walls of our flat.

My 8-year old waters the strawberry plants in our shared garden

In the evening, Otherhalf returns from work with a surprise. Though all the reporting he does is Covid-related, today was not so bad: he and his colleague visited two of Lyon’s main “chocolatiers” to find out how they are weathering the crisis and preparing for Easter: one is offering a pick-up service, the other proposes online orders. Of course, he brought us some samples to taste. Not sure they’ll make it to Easter!

Easter treat

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