From my office chair to my home sofa

By Manushaqe Rexhepi

Pandemics are never easy to go through, so no one is ever ready to face their effect. This happened to me and my family as well. In such an unexpected situation, where we had to get used to a new way of life, with fears of health and insufficient information at first, we were certainly unprepared and not ready for this situation.

Therefore, the management of this situation, especially in the beginning, was only based on obeying the measures set by the government and the ministries. But as time went on and we accepted these terms, then we started to understand new things, like each other, just like me personally. Now, since I have more time available, I am taking advantage of the latter to do things I previously could not. 

Spending time with family members has made me realize how much I needed this type of therapy, how much I missed it, and how much I needed them in a situation like this. But then we also use that time to read books, watch movies, karaoke, small concerts that we create just for fun, then I went back to cooking as a passion, or hobbies as like handicrafts. Everything I lost before, I am doing now. Personally and with family in general. In terms of work, it hasn’t changed that much. 

At the end of the day, it’s still me with the laptop in front of me. The only difference is that I am not sitting in an office chair, but on a sofa at home. I work in a public institution and my office life is the same that I have been doing for the past ten years. Now since I travel to work by bus, my employer allowed me to stay home, in distance. But again, I have the same tasks, so I can’t say that there was a drastic change in the line of work, like in life in general, as I mentioned before.

Still I have to check my email all day, I have to respect the deadlines, stay in touch with other colleagues for anything that happens, or just give my best when it comes to something important. My contribution is necessarily regardless where I work from, or in what way.

There is a noticeable difference between how the situation was in the beginning, and how it is lately, and I say this with the utmost sincerity. Prior to the measures to stop people from going out based on the penultimate ID number, citizens weren’t very interested in the whole issue of the pandemic, therefore, the protection measures were not at good level, the streets were full of cars and the distance between people wasn’t appropriate.

In our home that wasn’t a problem, because we were careful to not get sick and infect those around us. We followed the rules and always had masks and gloves whenever we had to go out to do shopping or banking. We did these things according to the rules with the identity cards.

But lately, perhaps realizing the importance and danger that comes from this pandemic, citizens have become aware and are no longer making the same mistakes, which makes me very happy. Now when I look at the empty streets, I realize that we needed fresh air, or this sudden greenery that has begun to spread. I only hope that, even when this is all over, we will be able to maintain the latter and those who we love.

Now that about a month and a half have passed, I would be lying if I said that I haven’t adapted to this whole situation. But, on the other hand, although as human beings we adapt to change, we are still social beings with the need to go out and meet other friends or family. This has been the hardest part so far, nothing else.

I hope this whole situation doesn’t last long, but again I can’t deny the fact that this period of the pandemic gave me a good lesson, not only me individually, but the whole world in general. And this lesson stands on two main pillars, which show that our health is important and that our earth is worth it. It also helped me reconnect with myself, get to know myself in those corners where I could not reach before due to limited time, also get to know my family better, as well as society.

It has taught me to respect others’ health, other people whom I have never had contact with. It has generally made me realize a lot about what surrounds me, which will be a good thing to have even when the pandemic is over. Until then, we have to hang on for a little while more, to obey the rules, and we will get through this together, trusting the medical staff.

 

 


Manushaqe Rexhepi works as a Legal affairs officer at the Municipality of Fushë Kosovë. Ms. Rexhepi shares a first-person account about her experiences while in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Illustration by Renea Begolli