By Njomza Gashi-Rrustolli

At first, we were shocked because we didn’t know what we were really facing, we didn’t have enough information about the virus in question. It was a confusing, as well as a frightening, situation because it was something unknown. There was new information everyday, which sometimes negated any prior information, and I really didn’t know what to think. I was afraid for my family because in the beginning they said the elderly would get sick the most, the thought that something could happen to someone close to me and who I cared about made me feel very bad.

So I can say that the pandemic brought me a lot of worries. I wasn’t comfortable and I was distracted because these worries took up a lot of space in my daily life. I heard conversations about COVID-19 everywhere: In conversations with family members, in the media, in every part of everyday life. COVID-19 came and started directing our lives. However, I learned to deal with this information and, after a short time, we calmly accepted the change, stepped up measures to prevent the COVID-19 virus, and began to enjoy the closeness and stay with other family members.

Since I have children, commitment to them took a lot of my time, because I became a teacher at the same time. Online learning, homework, communicating with the teacher, all this required commitment from the children but also from me as a parent. It was hard at first but then we got used to it. When you are a parent, you don’t live just for yourself, but you put yourself second, and sometimes some obligations can’t wait but also children can’t wait, and this is a situation when you don’t know what to do. 

When you take your child to school, in a way, you give the responsibility to the teacher, they’re there and take care of everything. Of course, I would check their homework and what they were learning  when they would go to school, but it was different at home. Just checking their homework wasn’t enough, I had to make sure that my children were learning something from online teaching. I had to make sure it was working for my child. But, with time, we adapted to this, we had to get used to this or we would fail, children wouldn’t learn anything.  

Actually, we were preparing for the opening of a new business, but since the whole world is waiting for the pandemic to be over, so are we, because it is impossible to think of something new in these conditions. Of course, every risky move is impossible in this time of crisis, so the business opening will have to wait for a while. It seems like the whole world stopped and the main concern was to surpass this pandemic, which drained us. Apart from the problem of taking care of our health, educating our children, there was also the financial situation. As a family, we have to deal with it somehow, so this was a concern that came as a result of this virus.

Thankfully, there aren’t any people who got the virus in my close family. We are more careful and clean at home, we are also trying to keep our distance. We are obeying the measures which are in the regulations of the Ministry of Health in the streets or in shops.  During quarantine, we fixed the house, we had enough time to do things that we didn’t have time to do before. We went for walks in the mountains, where there were fewer people. We engaged in sport activities at home, we played games with the children, we tried to be positive. Despite all the difficulties and problems, we didn’t want to let any of us get sad and feel bad.

We talked to each other and to our children. We tried to read, even though there was a lack of attention. I’ve noticed that during lockdown I lacked focus, because my mind would also wander, I thought about a lot of things. It was hard because I couldn’t meet my parents and my other family members so we wouldn’t be a risk to each other. But family connections have strengthened, even though we communicated over distance, but we appreciated how important family is, even though, in reality, we don’t have enough time to meet or communicate.

I would talk to our family members a few times a day, because I was worried about them. Everyday the number of infected people would increase and so did my worry. The number of infected people turned into an obsession, it became an important topic of all our conversations. We were so worried from all this and we didn’t even sleep well, the situation kept getting worse and not better, and we didn’t know when it was gonna get better. When you don’t have a secure future and you don’t know how things are gonna be, you’re always worried.

The situation wasn’t getting better, people were scared, they went away, created distance. Masks have become an inseparable part of our everyday life. The most important accessory which we can’t leave the house without. Sometimes I think that there will be consequences in socializing from the pandemic, we will still be afraid of bacteria and viruses. I’m hoping that the whole globe will recover as soon as possible, and believe that we will return to reality, full of energy and health. 

Njomza Gashi Rrustolli, born on June 17, 1984 in Mitrovica. She completed primary school and high school in Mitrovica. She continued studying law in Prishtina at AAB College. She continues her postgraduate studies at the University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina” in the civil department in Prishtina. Married, mother of three children: Elsa, Ëmbla and Orik. She lives in Vushtrri, where she also works in a private business.

Illustration by Renea Begolli.