Tuesday, June 8 – Just Breathe

By Alessia Martino TURIN, ITALY

We are still here, in a COVID world, in a locked country. The situation is, however, changing, always in motion, on every front. According to the official website of the Italian Health Ministry (Ministero della salute), where I got the information from, as a reliable source, lockdown measures effectively helped to control the virus transmission in the country, although there are differences per region. We have COVID-free areas and others going towards the same goal. Others might be further from reaching it, but the situation is generally under control. There are more cases, but the rate is declining. More tests are carried out as the country decided to randomly select a sample of 150 thousand people (diversified by gender, six levels of age and occupation) to inquire further about the current situation and the development of antibodies (working to understand herd immunity). This will also permit scientists to uncover some data about asymptomatic cases. The selected are not forced to take the test, so they can opt-out, however getting tested is seen as a civic duty, other than the fact that said test cost 30-60 Euros to get it privately. To keep moving towards a COVID-free Italy, rigorous measures have been put in place. People are living life with new normality. Not everything is open, not every problem is solved, but hopefully, we will get there soon.

June 2 was the Italian National day. On June 2, 1948, Italy officially became a Republic, a place for equality and with new visions. The celebration started early with Italian flags coloring the skies of cities across the country. This was also an homage to those that died or are recovering from COVID-19. A nice gesture for sure, but a bit counterproductive if you ask me, as some people gathered outside to see the show. Some people probably gathered on the day as it is tradition to celebrate with a barbeque or something, as it is a day off. My region asked for masks to be used even in more settings, for the occasion. I guess we will see. I personally took it easy and used this time to rest well, to reorganize thoughts and things.

I went back to the mountains just to enjoy nature and breathe outdoors. The weather wasn’t all the way agreeable: it was at times rainy and windy, but then finally sunny. It was nice, however. I got conscious about needing new trekking shoes, as I only had a pair of old and heavy hiking boots. Therefore, I went to buy some new trekking gear. I can’t wait to try it out. I also need a new phone as mine died on me, but there are always too many people (long distanced lines or only limited numbers people allowed to enter) in stores selling electronics. So far, I have been a week without, which isn’t terrible, but I hope I can get one soon—lucky me for having to buy a new phone during a pandemic. I can’t wait to be finally able to video call people.

I went out on a Saturday night; I can’t even remember when was last time this happened. I sat with family and friends at a friend’s cafè to do an aperitivo (cocktail and snacks), all in respect of the rules. Masks when moving around, like going in or to the bathroom, a meter distance while seating, hand gel provided. I got a peach-based cocktail, which was amazing, and snacked on pizza, breadsticks, and salami. I took my time to eat all the peach inside, and I might have used two wooden sticks (from mine and my sister cocktail) to get peanuts from a small ball, chopsticks style. My little sister tried as well, and I was so proud as she succeeded as well. I got back home with a smile on my face, and the night only got better as I witnessed fireworks happening from my window, even if from distant, just before going to sleep.