When thinking of a title for this blog, “sad” was the word that kept resonating in my head so hence the title.
I am slow with an update on what is happening with our lives right now. As with the whole world, our lives have been turned upside down over the last two weeks. At the end of February, Randy returned to the USA to get started on prepping the taxes and to touch base at home. He was scheduled to return to Albania on March 11th. Six months ago Elizabeth had made plans to come visit Randy and I in Tirana arriving on March 19th and staying for 12 days. All those plans changed with the coronavirus.
On Monday, March 10th school was called off at Albanian College because of two diagnosed cases of coronavirus. Randy and I decided that it was not smart for him to return to Albania so he stayed in the States. It was also decided that Elizabeth would not travel to Albania. So then I had to decide what I was going to do. Since I had not seen Elizabeth and her family since July, 2019 I made the decision to go to South Africa. I really thought I would only be there for a month at the most. With everything escalating so quickly, Randy and I had several discussions within the last few days about whether or not I should return to the States. Ultimately, I decided that I did not want to take a 24 hour flight back home at the risk of getting sick and then exposing Randy and Josh. I am staying in SA for the long haul. South Africa now has 225 cases. Elizabeth’s family and I are self isolating. School was canceled last week and we are choosing to leave the house on a very limited basis. The rest of South Africa is preparing to shut down on Thursday, March 26th. Just like all over the world we will all stay put in hopes of slowing down this virus.
Here are a couple pictures from Tirana as I was leaving. So surreal! Probably similar to many of your communities. I have actually been very proud of Albania for quickly reacting to COVID-19. Considering how closely tied they are to Italy in many, many ways it was a good decision to close everything up quickly. Here is a link to Albania’s current restrictions. Albania’s Restrictions
The airport monitor as I flew through Istanbul.
I arrived in Johannesburg on Friday, March 13th.
I love seeing and being with my grandchildren and their parents even though the circumstances are far from optimal.
For the last two weeks I have been spending 3 to 4 hours a day with distance learning for my Albanian students. My technology skills are improving daily as I learn to use one new app after another and then get my kids (and their parents) familiar with them. I am sure I am speaking for thousands of teachers around the world when I say it is a challenge to keep the children engaged and to make sure they are learning the skills they need to move to the next grade level. I miss my students and being in the classroom very, very much.
I start each week with a short video just to get the kids (and me) prepped for the upcoming week. Here is the video I sent out last week.
Before I close this post I want to give you a quick update on our son, David. As many of you know, he is finishing up his residency in cardiothorasic surgery at New York University in Manhattan. As expected, there have been fewer and fewer surgeries over the last week. David is expecting to be assigned to a COVID Unit soon. He has been told that all the healthcare workers should expect to be infected. Prayers for the safety and health of all healthcare workers worldwide.
I am so sad, sad, sad to say this may be my last blog post because I am not sure I will get to teach in Albania again. I would not be surprised if Albanian College closes down for the rest of the school year.
I am praying for peace and health for you and your loved ones as we move through this very difficult time in our lives.