The learnings, and do we intend to take them ahead?

Aradhna Sethi speaks to women from various walks of life – mothers, professionals, locals. Here are some viewpoints – straight from the heart!

Yes, we’re all tired of the terms and hashtags: #Lockdown, #COVID19, #coronavirus, #flatteningthecurve and so on. A reality that will go down in history – a reality that we will live to tell, a reality that has brought out creativity – be they by way of memes, jokes, businesses, cooking, taking care of a baby through #WFH with no childcare facilities, or fitness hacks (well – truth be said – hacks don’t work!).

Switzerland has seen the peak of its first wave of Corona – and after March 17, we’re lucky to be witnessing a stage-wise loosening of the Lockdown through May and June. People are talking about a second wave – so social distancing, stepped-up hygiene practices, a broadened limit on social gatherings, some travel restrictions are still in place. We hear about the “new normal” – and sense it, too. The handshake and three Swiss kisses have given way to awkward waves, eyebrow-lifting ‘hois’, and tilted-head ‘gruezis’ when meeting friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Work from home is being looked upon as do-able and acceptable practice of the future. Perhaps, many neighbourhoods in smaller Gemeindes would want to keep the option of voluntarily shopping for the elderly or those differently-abled.

There are learnings and take-aways, and these are as varied and as personal as you can ever imagine.

Sharing unique experiences

Andrea Hertach is a business economist based in the canton of Zurich. For her, the crisis began along with 2020 – just before the corona lockdown was placed. She says, “My husband had a stroke. A few days later my father died. My world toppled upside-down in every way. I organised the funeral, visited my husband in the hospital along with my two teenaged daughters, and then accompanied him to the rehab hospital.”

“Due to Corona, we were not allowed to visit him until he would come home at the end of April. That seemed far away… I couldn’t sleep for nights and thoughts haunted me: Will my husband recover? How will I organise everything with two teenage girls suddenly on a homeschooling schedule? As if this wasn’t enough, in April I lost my job due to Corona.”

Usually, full of energy, Andrea is a person who likes to take new challenges, but this time, life was taking a toll on her. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, she was told that her husband, while recovering from the stroke in the hospital, had contracted the coronavirus! It seemed like she was in a horror film!
She continues, “Many of my dear friends offered their help and somehow I managed to ‘sit back’ and take one step after another to really get a grip on the situation and move ahead. Along with my daughters, I planned our days at home, the daily video calls with my husband were a great joy. I didn’t forget to remain connected with my mourning mother. Each of us had our duties and we scheduled the time to sit and talk together every evening and accepted the help of some of our friends. I also tried to take some time only for me – even if that meant 10 minutes: drinking a coffee in our garden, sitting on a bench in the forest and let my thoughts wander. Luckily my husband recovered quickly and is now home again. Our daughters got used to homeschooling routine.

Going ahead, she says, “I will stick to my ‘me-time’. It helps me to calm down, gain an overview of my feelings and needs, and find the energy to start in life again after Corona. Another big realisation was that I now wanted to be professionally more self-reliant and start my own business – be my own boss for a change.”

Manuela who originally from Croatia lives and works in the city of Zurich. The onset of the Corona crisis did not spell a huge change for her. She says, “I used to work from home as a freelancer in my past, so the concept was not new to me. Fortunately, our lockdown in Switzerland was not so severe, so I could enjoy nature as much as I wanted and go for long walks by myself.”

Her takeaway: “I realized, that now that I don’t freelance, but have a fixed job, I would want to be able to work 2-3 out of my 5 days, working from home. The crisis has proved to formal offices and institutions that this is doable and a very effective concept as we go forward with daily post-crisis business as usual.”

Nadia Horber, another Swiss resident from Zuri-Oberland looked upon the COVID crisis situation as an opportunity to be able to spend more time with the family. Brimming with enthusiasm, she began jogging with her teenaged son for a while and alternated that with going for long walks with her primary school-going daughter. Family meals together with her husband and kids became a joy as baking became a fun-activity in the house, while outdoor activities had their own charm. “I have truly come to appreciate the place we live in, and the nature that surrounds us,” she says.”And the best part,” she smiles, “grocery shopping just once a week! It leads to better-planned meals and more time for other stuff! That is something I would like to retain post lockdown, too”

Amarjit Kaur alias Loni, Founder of German Language School, Einfach Deutsch, the multimedia way is a resident of Baden for over 12 years. She shares her Lockdown experience: “The first and the foremost thing the lockdown has taught me is that life is precious and our breath, essential to life, cannot be taken for granted. For this life, I am truly grateful to the Almighty.”

“This situation has inspired me to be not only kind and affectionate towards each other, but also to help each other in our best possible way and a large degree of calmness in the times of adversity. It has taught me to hold on to a positive attitude through negative situations, not forgetting the fact that we are on this earth for a very short span of time. Life now feels like a dream. Like a puff of smoke, we all will vanish one day from Mother Earth.

Sharing her perspective on life, she concludes: “In life, survival is essential, and while doing that love should be forever. I sincerely wish that each of us could unite, regardless of the differences created by our own selves. I wish for us to be the reason to smile, and pass that on to the next generations.”
For me personally, the situation has made many revelations pertaining to myself, the fragility of life, value of relationships, the power of a submicroscopic organism that brought the world to a grinding halt, the light of life shrouded in a heavy seriousness and so much more!
I’m sure we’ve all had our own learnings. The idea is to make the best of those learnings as we go forward and be aware of our actions, our surroundings and the impact we create on the future of our children, and theirs ahead.

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