Wednesday, May 22, 2024

A pandemic year

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Diplomat Magazine
Diplomat Magazine
DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

By Alexandra Paucescu.

2020 is definitely going to be a year to remember!

For me, it was the year I published my first book and I rediscovered my deep and old passion for writing.

For all of us, it is a year like no other. If somebody would have told us, while we were cheering and counting the last ten seconds till 2020, what kind of year it is going to be, most of us would have laughed frantically to such a wild imagination.

But as the year started to unfold, month after month, the strange and sometimes even cruel reality revealed how small and powerless we really are, how in just a moment, our whole world can turn upside down and there’s really not much to do about it… maybe only to hope it will go away quickly…

Viewed with distrust and detachment at first, this pandemic showed its ugly face, tragically ending the lives of many, changing the peaceful course of the lives of others. Sadly many still try to deny reality, history lessons seem useless and dark conspiracies are blamed for the situation. 

We were lucky to be posted to Germany, one of the countries with the best approach and strategy towards COVID-19, so far. But still, we learned to social distance, sadly all diplomatic events vanished (my poor high-heeled shoes, they miss me terribly, I presume), lovely lunches with friends became a distant memory. On the other hand, we spent more time within our family, with our children, we played board games, watched favorite movies and took long walks daily. I even heard jokes about spending so much time at home with family and partners.

Greece, during Covid restrictions. October 2020. By Alexandra Paucescu.

It is said that after the madness passes, either the birth rate or the number of divorces will increase…I would add that our mental state could also be affected … to always be worried about the health of loved ones, many of them in another country, far away and without our immediate help and support, is a difficult test for anyone. We are diplomats, used to live miles away from our parents and other relatives, used to see them seldom and for short times, but now it is even more challenging. 

So many things, which used to be familiar, have changed, some for good. But what this pandemic also taught us is that human beings are much more resilient than we generally think. We have the power to overcome any setbacks. We have also the optimism to look and hope for a brighter future ahead.

Spring went away in seconds, summer was soon gone too… and not too much changed…Same worries, same already established safety routines. School luckily started for our children again in autumn and we tried to pretend that our lives were normal (of course, for that to fully succeed, you’d need to completely shut down any news and concentrate only on everyday life, itself). But this disease affected all aspects of everybody’s lives and added an almost unbearable amount of stress at times. We desperately needed a break, time out. But where to go, in a world almost equally and entirely affected? 

We decided to go to Greece. As one of the least affected countries in Europe, it seemed like the best and only option for a sunny holiday in October. But, as you all know by now, things can rapidly and dramatically change for the worst, so we decided not to let ourselves get too excited, not until we stepped on the Greek soil anyway… I didn’t want to risk being disappointed, in case something would have changed or cancelled our plans. Travelling in ‘Corona times’ can be risky and awfully complicated, depending on your destination. And you realize there is nothing normal about your holiday, when you see that half your suitcase is full of masks and disinfectant gels.

Luckily, the long awaited departure date came. I have travelled many times to Greece before, but I was never so happy to see the perfect blue waters surrounding the islands! The sea seemed more beautiful than ever, the sun brighter and, unfortunately, the days shorter…

Looking back now, while writing this thoughts, it was a total bliss, a time to forget all worries, as sweet as a good cake after a long period of strict diet :). That’s how we felt. In times like these, when uncertainty level reaches its peak, my motto of life is more valid than ever: ‘Enjoy life today, tomorrow is never promised!’ After all, who knows what’s next? …

About the author:

Alexandra Paucescu

Alexandra Paucescu (42)  – Romanian, born in Bucharest. Former exchange high-school student in the USA,  has a university degree in Management and a Master in Business, she speaks Romanian, English, French, German and Italian. 

Turned diplomatic spouse by the age of 30, mother of two, active volunteer for UNICEF and United Nations Women’s Guild, author of ‘Just a diplomatic spouse’ book. Loves music, skiing and tennis.

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