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World Mag > WM Summer 2020 Resilient > From Three Locations, A FAMILY OF FOUR STAYS TOGETHER


For eight weeks, starting in March 2020, I was quarantined in Washington DC. My father has been quarantined for nine weeks in Norway and my mother and sister for eight weeks in Montana.

For eight weeks [at the time of writing], starting in March 2020, I was quarantined in Washington DC. My father has been quarantined for nine weeks in Norway and my mother and sister for eight weeks in Montana.

Two months ago, none of us fully understood or could comprehend what this growing pandemic meant and how greatly it would affect not only us but truly everyone else. Similar to most people living this we went through a period of feeling immune and untouchable. COVID-19 seemed so far, yes incredibly serious, but not close enough.

But then I got sick. I did not have any of the major symptoms health professionals and the media told us to look out for: a fever, trouble  breathing, and a dry cough. I had a minor cough, fatigue for the first two days, and then complete loss of smell and taste. The first couple of days I didn’t get tested because health professionals stated they would not test anyone without a fever. As the days went on, I physically started to feel better, but my taste and smell were still gone.

Two weeks after I first got sick news broke in the United States that loss of smell and taste was a significant symptom (which had been a known symptom in Europe for weeks) within younger adults.

I called my doctor again for what felt like the thousandth time of explaining my symptoms and I was told to immediately come in and get tested. It was supposed to take three to four days for my results to come back and eleven days later they came in negative/ inconclusive.  The doctor said that my coming in over two weeks after my initial symptoms would explain my results but based on my symptoms, she could confidently estimate that I had probably contracted COVID-19 but was now healthy.

I am grateful and lucky that my situation was not as serious as others, but I was frustrated  because I hadn’t not gone in because I was irresponsible but because I had continuously been advised not to. It taught me the importance of being an advocate for my health. I knew something was not right with my body and had to constantly convince others otherwise.

My dad was in Norway at this time because that was where he was relocated for his job. My mom would usually be with him, but as my sister's university closed for the remainder of the semester, my mom stayed in Montana so my sister was not alone for months on end. We talk everyday through Whatsapp and Facetime, checking in with each other, we like to know what we all have planned for the day, and we send each picture of food we have been cooking and exchanging recipes.

The difference in rules was pretty extreme. In Norway things quickly closed down. Even within the United States though the difference in rules between DC and Montana was large. DC essentially shut down and you could not and still cannot enter any public building without a mask. In  Montana they took it seriously for the first few weeks and then things went back to normal. For example, when I wrote this article, restaurants were still closed in DC but Montana had reopened restaurants to 50% capacity.

My family’s and my resilience was and is still being tested. We talk everyday with the awareness we might go many more months without being able to see each in person. My mom has always referred to us as a nomadic tribe. For over 20 years the four of us moved around the world solely relying on each other. Now for the first time we are spread across the world unclear of what the future holds. We are aware there are families experiencing much stronger heartbreak and struggle and are thankful for those sacrificing themselves every day to help others.

As a whole, humanity has been forced to be resilient. Through my family and friend’s resiliency, optimism has been possible.

Isabella S.



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