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Laureen

    Message From Cyprus Lockdown

    Message from Cyprus

    Edition Three

    Location: Argaka, Cyprus

    Message from Cyprus Lockdown 2020 – Cyprus Day 22. Lockdown Day 8.

    Note: Since Wednesday is a regular blog day for Reading Wednesday, I hope you won’t be confused by this second blog. I’ve never posted two blogs in one day. Please see the Reading Wednesday blog here. Thanks.

    It’s feast or famine here with either a whole lot of nada going on or so much happening it’s overload and hard to keep up.

    Nada

    It’s been seven days since we received an email from the Cyprus Embassy telling us there may be a flight out for US Citizens within 48 hours. Since then we have heard absolutely nothing. I am getting much more information from other embassies around the globe than I am getting from Cyprus. No explanation on their website regarding their silence. Nada.

    HOWEVER tomorrow there is a live Facebook feed for US citizens with the US Ambassador to Cyprus. We will sit in on that and hopefully get some news. Check the My Fab Fifties FB page tomorrow (Thursday) to see if we learned anything.

    Overload

    Every morning I check the Cyprus Mail website for the latest information. On Tuesday further restriction to movement were put into place. Now we can only leave the house once a day, still using the SMS system and asking permission for one of the 8 categories. Which sucks because we have to choose do we go for a run today or do we go to the grocery store. They are also closing grocery stores on Sundays. Locals are really up in arms about all of this…one man laments what is he to do about walking his dogs on a day he needs to go to the store, pharmacy or doctor? Another crazy new rule is anyone who has tested positive and told to self-isolate will be forced to wear monitoring ankle bracelets so authorities can track their movement…just like a criminal.

    Nada

    I’m kinda pissed at Airbnb right now (and ya all know I’m a big fan) but after 22 days we still have not received our refund from Jerusalem that was promised to be sent within ten days. Additionally they aren’t communicating with us any longer. I’m sure they are overwhelmed but all I was looking for was a status for the delayed refund of nearly $900. They have just updated their website however, giving us an option to either get 50% cash back for our Airbnb in Malta or 100% in credit. We are taking the credit…and still waiting about Jerusalem.

    Overload

    The Cyprus Mail has the total number of cases on the island now at 232, despite the fact that last week all signs looked like it was leveling off at just under 200. No such luck. They are now considering loosening restrictions on Cypriots abroad who are trying to return home.

    Nada

    We would like to help local businesses, but the tiny village we are in has no restaurants doing take-out or curbside. We would need to go to the big city of Paphos for that an hour away. So unfortunately we have had zero chance to enjoy the local Cypriot cuisine from local restaurants. So glad we took the cooking class the first few days we were here…it may likley be the only thing we get to do on this beautiful island.

    Overload

    The exasperating news from the USA gives me a headache and I’m trying to train myself to not spend so much time looking at it. It’s grim and the politics of it all makes me sick. If only, if only, if only. Two months ago and things could have been so different – one month ago would have saved lives. It’s sad how many people will die and how many people still can’t see the forest through the trees.

    Nada

    My hands are tied as far as being able to help small businesses back home. Can’t really get take-out can I? I did however order a bunch of Easter yummies for delivery from Boehm’s Chocolates of Poulsbo, owned by a good friend of mine. It’s not much and I wish I could do more.

    Overload

    Spring is in full force here on the island and the pollen is in total overload and the symptom are kinda like Covid; eyes, throat, lethargic. Ugh. Too much.

    Nada

    Cyprus loves its holidays and TODAY is Cyprus National Day – a celebration of the day the war between Cyprus and Britain began in 1955 that eventually resulted in Cyprus Independence in 1959. But, no celebrations anywhere…churches are closed, parks, beaches and no one can gather. Party pooper. I’m interested to see what happens with Easter in this very religious country. Curiously Easter in Orthodox is not celebrated on the same day as everyone else. It’s celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon which in 2020 is April 19th.

    That’s It

    And so we sit tight. Few options but we are still healthy and comfortable. Our Airbnb hosts have been wonderful, continuing to deliver fresh produce and baked goods several times a week. It’s so quiet here…no airplanes and few cars…just the wind and the waves.

    Our original dates on Cyprus were supposed to be March 25-April 7. Our changed plans had us arrive on March 10 and our departure date remains unknown, it could be tomorrow…or it could be in June. Your guess is as good as mine.

    Stay tuned.

    See Message from Cyprus Edition One and Edition Two


    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review City of Thieves by David Benioff

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Book Review City of Thieves by David Benioff

    Note: There will be two blogs today (extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures). I hope you can enjoy both this is the first.

    Such a great story. And a true story too. You will love City of Thieves by David Benioff – his telling of his grandfather’s life during the Nazi’s seige of Leningrad.

    Somehow Benioff has grown up not knowing anything about what brought his grandfather and grandmother to America. He knows his grandfather was a soldier…he has heard it whispered all his life that his grandfather killed two Germans. Is it true? Benioff finally decides to sit down with his grandfather and find out. The story he gets is beyond belief.

    Poignantly told in the view of Lev Beniov, the sweeping tale is both hilarious and terrifying, heartfelt and thrilling. It is a tale of love, friendship, survival, optimism and the deepest and darkest of wartime crimes.

    Benioff is a magical writer and brings the characters so clearly to life through a masterful storytelling talent that will have the reader shivering in the Russian winter snow, feeling the terror of Nazi torture and tasting the warmth of a cup of tea while starving. You will be transported to Russia during World War II. This book review of City of Thieves by David Benioff is a definite thumbs up for a unique WWII story in a current plethora of books on this topic.

    *****Five stars for City of Thieves by David Benioff

    Read last week’s review of The Delight of Being Ordinary

    My current read The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

    Inspire  --  Message From Cyprus Lockdown

    Message from Cyprus

    Location: Argaka Cyprus

    Cyprus Day 19. Lockdown Day 5.

    Message from Cyprus Edition Two

    Note – this will now be a regular update, possibly weekly, in an effort to answer so many questions we are getting and the extreme fluid situation. Love you all.

    Cyprus Musings – things are happening quickly now and all indications from where I sit is the world is in this for a very long haul. We are now receiving notices of flight cancellations we have in the future. We are seeing a lot of activity and messages from the US State Department and embassies we have in our itinerary in the months ahead. We received a notice from the embassy of Cyprus that they are trying to secure a flight for US Citizens. I am normally very decisive but now vacillate over this issue because reports here say Cyprus is nearing its peak in virus cases (approaching 200 cases) and I feel safe here. I feel any movement right now, particularly to the USA; on planes; through airports; with other humans; puts us at high risk. But I also feel we might be in Cyprus for months….three, six, more if we don’t take the last plane out. What to do?

    Getting home would be a comfort…but if I get sick trying to get there it will create a burden for ourselves and those we love. But if we stay in Cyprus we are useless to my family if they need us. And if we get sick here it could be a financial nightmare (yes we have insurance but it still could be costly). 

    Mostly I’m no longer worried about the loss of travel money. It’s irrelevant at this point. 

    When I compare the governments responses between the USA and Cyprus starting when we arrived here 19 days ago I am convinced Cyprus’ quick, decisive and egalitarian approach has saved lives, even though the tight restrictions are causing strife. Nineteen days since we arrived in Cyprus and the USA is still chatting about what to do and state by state mandates are clearly not effective enough for a country the size of the USA. The freedom of assembly will kill us…

    Although surreal, watching the world melt down from here is like a giant movie screen. A horror film. With no end in sight and real people at risk. Any one read Station Eleven? It’s happening.

    Time to think long term my friends…it’s gonna be a long long time until we have anything resembling the old normalcy. Definitely not Easter. Acceptance of the new normal is the healthiest thing we can do now. It’s okay to grieve. But also prepare. Stay safe. Breathe. Don’t stick your head in the sand…we can be kind and compassionate and try to stay positive while distancing and being ready for a long journey.

    We wait.

    Read Cyprus Message Edition One Here.

    Canva

    Everything Else Fabulous

    The Surprising Things You Learn From Full-Time Travel

    Location: Cyprus

    I never ever imagined the word pandemic or quarantine becoming a part of my daily vocabulary. And yet it is. Wow. So many surprising things you learn from full-time travel.

    A world pandemic is at the top of the list of surprising things you learn from full-time travel. I’ve said it many times, despite all the preparation and planning, reading and studying – there still are so many surprising things you see and learn and experience that you never ever imagined. Pandemic one of many.

    Planet in Pain

    So today I thought I would share some of these things, since we are still stuck indefinitely here on Cyprus (currently day four of a new three-week total lockdown), it’s a good time to write a blog about the things you don’t realize you will learn from full time travel. The lessons keep coming but here are a few that stand out for me;

    How the World Views America

    America view

    We try to be good ambassadors for our country, but it can be really hard. Because many people have a view of Americans as loud, selfish, gluttonous and most of all ignorant and misogynistic. The view also extends to American media as biased and unreliable.

    Where are you from?

    My hometown of Gig Harbor

    So we get this question a lot. Sometimes the question is phrased like this; “Where are you from? Australia? England?”

    This always cracks me up because anyone who is a native English speaker is very in tuned to the nuances of those who speak English in the USA vs England, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland etc. But for those whose first language is not English the subtleties are often lost. It’s rare that we get asked if we are from the USA. I believe that is because the countries we are visiting for the most part aren’t often visited by Americans. We are often surprised by how surprised people are to meet someone from the United States.

    But the other odd thing when we get asked this question is how the answer goes. We answer “From the United States”, and 95% of the time we get a blank uncomprehending stare. So we rephrase our answer and say “From America.” Ahhh light bulbs come on and faces light up, “Amerikah!”. Despite the fact there is no country called America…much of the world refers to the USA as America.

    Metric System

    Metric (Canva)

    The USA is only one of three countries in the entire WORLD still not using the metric system (Myanmar and Liberia are the other two). I mean honestly people this needs to change. I have no choice but to learn the metric system as we travel and although I don’t have it down perfectly, yet it is an integral part of everyday life from cooking to driving to filling up the car with petrol. We think in Celsius and kilometers, meters and liters. You should give it a try.

    Holy Days and Holidays

    I left my heart in Guatemala
    Semana Santa

    In the 110 countries we have now visited we have not visited anywhere that celebrates holy days and holidays by spending the amount of money Americans do on holidays. Most holidays are about family and church with minimal decorating and gift giving. One strange thing…they often leave the Christmas tree up (artificial) until spring.

    Airplane Etiquette

    Flying

    Here is a win for the USA. I have been horrified by how some cultures behave on airplanes – ignoring and harassing flight attendants, barging up the aisle on landing and not letting other people get out into the aisle, as well as other rude behavior. We have found this particularly the case in Asian and African countries. In the USA this would be almost unheard of.

    Dogs and Cats

    Dogs and Cats

    It never occurred to me before beginning our travels that we would witness often horrifying conditions for dogs and cats around the world. I can’t and won’t describe some of the things we have seen…things I try to put out of my mind.

    English Speakers

    Do you speak English? (Canva)

    Before embarking on this full-time travel we had visited many countries in the nearly 40 years we have been married. Some of those countries we found communicating easy and others not so much. But in the past decade most countries have begun teaching English in schools and I can’t think of anywhere we have been in the past four years where we have not been able to speak in English to just about anyone we encounter. English is definitely becoming the world language.

    Oh My God

    Sunrise over Rabanal

    This has become a travel joke for us. Everywhere we go, whether or not the place we are in speaks good English or not, the phrase “Oh my God” is used. It is sometimes the only English words some people know. It is used to express frustration and surprise. I’m not sure if most people even know what they are saying – it’s just a colloquial term used around the world similar to Uff Da or Oi Vey or Gesundheit. Oh my God.

    Water

    Drinking water

    Boy oh boy I sure don’t take clean drinking water for granted anymore. It is to me the biggest problem around the world, and it generates another gigantic problem – what to do with all that single use plastic?

    There are some countries and cities making a huge effort. In Antigua Guatemala there are free filtered water stations. In Thailand you can refill giant water jugs for just pennies. Good on ya. I’d love to see this expand.

    Germs and Hand Washing

    We are all now washing our hands more than ever before. But one thing I have witnessed in most countries is very consistent hand washing already…way more than what I see in public places in the USA. Particularly in Muslim countries but in most other places too people wash not just after using the bathroom but frequently throughout the day, before and after meals and in both public and private places.

    Green Africa

    Rwanda

    Hey guess what? Africa is really, really green. So many Hollywood movies and even NatGeo portray it as a barren brown place – and there are certainly some deserts and dry areas. But most of it is so beautiful and green and big and diverse. You really should go there. Any country…just choose one. They are all great.

    Risky Business

    Dangerous Hippos

    I find myself in situations often while traveling that make me pause…what the heck am I doing? Things like being in a sinking boat in a hippopotamus infested lake, swimming next to the edge of Victoria Falls, hiking on a snowy mountain without clampons, standing 4 meters from a wild Silverback gorilla …crazy stuff. Stuff I wouldn’t be allowed to do in the USA because of much tighter laws and a litigation culture that keeps us away from danger. In most of the world, that is not the case.

    Mangos

    So many mangoes (Canva)

    You might think this is a funny category…and it is. But how did I never know how many kinds of mangos, bananas and so many other kinds of tropical fruit were waiting out there for me? There are 500 kinds of mangos for heavens sake! There are 1000 different kinds of bananas! Have you ever eaten a custard apple? How about a dragon fruit? What about a pomelo or jackfruit or langsat? I’ve been living a sheltered life.

    Left or Right

    Left side driving (Canva)

    Although most countries of the world drive on the right hand side of the road, it still is surprising how many countries drive on the left (including here in Cyprus, a former British colony). Even more surprising is a country like Myanmar, which switched from left-hand driving to right-hand driving in 2015 BUT 90% of the cars still have the steering wheel on the right side. Talk about disconcerting.

    Toilet Paper

    What can I say?

    As toilet paper has become such a valuable commodity in the USA I’ve chuckled about how different Americans view the little white squares compared to the rest of the world. Many cultures don’t use paper…the sprayer attached to the toilet does the job. Many countries you must bring your own paper if you want it, and most countries you aren’t supposed to flush it. Including here on Cyprus where flushing is a no no. Systems are not designed to handle paper, and so it goes into the bin next to the toilet.

    It may seem very strange if you haven’t lived somewhere like this but just like anything else you get used to it. I always have TP in my suitcase (and paper towels too) and always have some kind of tissue in my purse.

    Have You Learned Anything

    Have you learned anything crazy and surprising on your travels? Have you learned anything crazy and surprising from this blog? I could go on and on because there is so much more (cheap medical care, free universities, corrupt governments, government supported community days) that most Americans can’t comprehend.

    For me it’s one of the absolutely best things about travel…an eyeopening experience to how the other 96.25% of the world lives. Because get over yourself…the USA is not the center of the universe and we should all try to be more neighborly and interested in our entire planet and the diverse peoples and cultures that make it such a wonderful place.

    Don’t give up on travel…we will all hopefully be back traveling again in a few months. Just wash your hands.

    We love it when you pin or share our blog. Thank you.

    Many of the photos in this blog are from Canva.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Delight of Being Ordinary by Roland Merullo

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    This is a fun, sweet (but totally unrealistic) story of how the Pope and the Dalai Lama decided to take a vacation. I enjoyed this lighthearted story and I think you will too.

    As the world has been on lockdown for weeks and months, I came coming back to this story and how it must feel to be someone like Pope Francis or the Dalai Lama whose lives are scheduled to the second and there is no control of your own personal time…ever.

    Maybe they feel the need to “get away from it all” from time to time? Well in this fictional story that is exactly what happens. Many of the steps that take place to make this spontaneous get-away happen are ridiculous and could never really happen in real life, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun story.

    I enjoyed the portrayal of both the Pope and the Dalai, even though for me some of the religious and second-coming references were less believeable. And yet, anyone, whether religious or not will find this story a quick and easy read, with laugh out loud escapades as well as deep perspective moments.

    ****Four Stars for The Delight of Being Ordinary by Roland Merullo.

    Read last week’s review of The Secrets We Kept

    My current read Motherless Brooklyn

    We love it when you share our blog.

    Inspire  --  Message From Cyprus Lockdown

    My Fab Fifties Life on Cyprus Under Quarantine

    Location: Argaka Cyprus

    Message from Cyprus Edition One

    As I post this blog we have been self-quarantined on Cyprus for a week. Every day brings a new development. We are currently comfortable and healthy but unsure of how or if our world journey will continue. So for today I thought I would tell you a bit about life on Cyprus under quarantine.

    Some Background

    Some of you who follow my personal Facebook page might remember this post I made on January 23rd. I said “when people ask me if travel scares me it’s things like this (Corona) that scare me more than terrorism or crime. Luckily we aren’t flying for three more weeks but still its the kind of thing that can explode so quickly…”

    That was on January 23rd two months ago and we were in Mauritius. As soon as I read the first story about Wuhan I felt a strong foreboding. But also thought to myself that we had two months in Africa and it would possibly be gone by the time we headed towards Europe.

    Covid-19
    Wearing a mask on our flight out of Mauritius

    But the nagging in the back of my mind made me go to the pharmacy in Mauritius and buy some face masks. The pharmacists asked me if we were going to China? Even he wasn’t thinking about it spreading outside of Asia.

    It was late January when the first case was diagnosed in Washington State USA. But the US government did not react.

    Covid-19
    Carefree in Victoria Falls

    Fast Forward Late February

    We were carefree in Victoria Falls and in Uganda too as we continued with our planned itinerary. It wasn’t until our arrival in Rwanda on February 27th that we began to see significant changes in airports and hotels (as a matter of fact, Rwanda had the coolest hi-tech system in place for screening). This is when I began taking very strong measures such as washing hands more frequently, not touching railings or elevator buttons and scrubbing things in our room like remote controls and door knobs. I’ve always washed down my airplane space and now we began using a bleach product everywhere we go.

    Covid-19
    Still touching people in Rwanda

    In Kigali Rwanda we bought hand-sanitizer and more face masks, despite now hearing that face masks weren’t helpful. I still wanted to have some.

    By this point the virus was spreading in the USA and becoming epidemic in my home state of Washington but Trump continued to deny that it was a legitimate issue or take measures to protect his citizens or the US economy. He was not listening to Advisor’s and making statements like this one – “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear”. As we watched from afar the virus take over entire countries we were flabbergasted at the lack of concern from the US President.

    Worries about family back home

    People I know back home were split over the issue and not surprisingly along party lines. One faction thinking it was all getting blown out of proportion (and actually blaming Democrats for causing the outbreak to take the focus away from the election) while the other faction was beginning to hoard food, toilet paper and scream that something needed to be done.

    Because of the malaria meds we took all through Africa I was suffering with some tummy issues and I was really worried about being flagged on the arrival in Israel since I wasn’t feeling 100%.

    Israel

    We touched down in Israel on March 4th and absolutely breezed through the airport. We were totally shocked that Israel’s entry was easier than Rwanda or Botswana and Israel seemed to not be doing ANYTHING to check visitors arriving in Tel Aviv. It sounded just like what was happening in the USA. Head in the sand. I was a bit disconcerted.

    Covid-19
    Unknowingly, this was our final dinner in Israel after only five days

    We enjoyed our first few days in Israel but on day four we began hearing that they may close the border to tourists and our planned day trip with a local tour company to Palestine was cancelled when Palestine closed its borders.

    We assumed we would be fine since we had arrived in Israel before the border closed, but when we woke up on day six (March 10), regular alerts we receive from the US State Department told us anyone who had arrived in the past week would be quarantined for at least two weeks from date of entry. Spot checks were going to be made and we would need to prove we had a place to stay for a 14-day quarantine. Since our planned itinerary in Israel did not include us staying in one place for 14 days we did not have lodging secured. We made a spur of the moment decision that it would be in our best interest to leave the country while the airport was open and we still could. We made this decision at 8:45 am and were on a flight to Cyprus at 1:45 pm. Never in our nearly four years of travel have we changed our plans so drastically. It was a stressful and heartbreaking decision but in hindsight the right one.

    Cyprus

    Before leaving Israel we had contacted the Airbnb in Cyprus to see if it might be available early. It was and they welcomed us 15 days early on March 10th. It’s a beautiful spot and perfect for a long stay. We currently have it booked until April 7th.

    Covid-19
    Cooking Class in Cyprus

    When we arrived in Cyprus ten days ago there were only three cases of Covid-19. We went to the grocery store, the pharmacy and stopped at a sporting goods store to buy sweatshirts. We had coffee in a coffee shop and visited the butcher. Our Airbnb host stopped by with cookies and citrus. Everything seemed normal and no one was panicking. We even did a cooking class and a winery tour and spent one day hiking.

    Covid-19
    Hiking in Cyprus

    But on the evening of March 15th we learned that Cyprus was limiting inbound flights and incoming tourists until April 10th. Schools were closing too and two of the island’s large hotels were closing. The island now had a total of 20 cases, all but one related to incoming visitors. Cyprus is a popular direct flight from London and many British expats live here.

    Covid-19
    Sunset in Cyprus

    This news also included the mandate that any visitor already on the island should self-quarantine for 14 days from the time of entry. So on March 15th we began a self-quarantine. We will stay quarantined until March 24th. For us that means we will still do our morning run, where we have no contact with other people, but spend the rest of the day at our villa.

    BUT THEN, on the morning of the 16th it was announced the island was closing all restaurants, hotels, malls, museums, archeology sights until April 30th. Even one hospital was closed for 48 hours for sanitizing. Cases now up to 39.

    We now realized that at the end of our 14-day quarantine, we still might not be able to enjoy the the sites of Cyprus because everything will be closed. But, it’s out of our hands.

    On March 17th they began turning away people, even residents, arriving on flights unless they had a medical statement of their wellness. And those who were allowed in, are going into a mandatory GOVERNMENT LOCATION quarantine. That’s big…we did not want to be in a government location quarantine.

    Today, March 20 th a big announcement. ALL FLIGHTS are to be terminated in and out of Cyprus beginning Sunday. All flights. Wowza. Even flights for Cypriots trying to return home. There is rumor of a possible curfew. Meanwhile today the US government declared a Level 4 Travel Advisory. Better late than never I guess. Hopefully the idiots partying in the Florida beaches aren’t carriers.

    Cyprus has very quickly, without a lot of politicizing, created a comprehensive economic assistance plan to help it’s citizens get through this. It’s impressive and quit thorough including such things as unemployment, childcare and elder care. I am impressed with their foresight and lack of political bickering.

    As of March 20th, Cyprus now has 81 cases of Covid-19. In the ten days we have been here it’s gone from 3 to 81, an exponential growth.

    Grocery stores remain open, but only a dozen people allowed in at a time. We went yesterday and were presented with hand sanitizer and rubber gloves before entering the store.

    So every day something new and foreboding.

    So Now What?

    So now what? I have no idea. Our next flight booked was to Ukraine on April 7th. But even if Cyprus reopens its airport by then, Ukraine’s borders are closed. Beyond that we are supposed to be in Malta in late April and May. As of today Malta’s borders remain open but anyone entering must self-quarantine for 14 days. No doubt that too will change shortly.

    Covid-19
    Quarantined breakfast in Cyprus

    We were planning to attend a wedding in France in late June and then head to the USA for a six month visit. Even if we forego France we are currently unable to get a flight home. We have a lot of money at stake, with little help from airlines or lodgings as far as refunds so far. We did get a refund from Airbnb for our place in Jerusalem, but lost the money for the other hotels and flight changes in Israel. We also got a full refund from our Kiev hotel after we contacted them with a personal email. We are currently waiting to hear from Ukraine airlines.

    Of course our health is more important than the money, but we actually might be safer staying put than going to the USA. And we honestly might not be able to get a flight for an indefinite amount of time. We just don’t know.

    Our world tour

    We feel we can’t make a decision now until the end of March at the earliest, when several countries who closed their borders on March 14th will make a decision as to what’s next. If borders and airports remain closed we may be able to get flight refunds or at least credit. Or we may have to cough up (no pun intended) the money to get back to the USA. Currently a flight from Cyprus through London to the USA will cost us nearly $2000 per person – that is if the Cyprus airport reopens…and if any flights to the USA are running.

    My Biggest Fears

    My biggest fear is not about coming down with the virus; although we are in our sixties we are healthy and strong. My biggest fear is the economy and how this might effect jobs and lives of people I care about back home. Already my friends and family who own small businesses and restaurants are in dire straits. Even since I began writing this blog several days ago the changing economic impact to the USA seems catastrophic. Frightening.

    Covid-19
    This is where we are

    My biggest fear is that my father (age 87 Alzheimer patient), my mom (age 81) and step-day (age 90 with many medical complications) and my mother-in-law (healthy but age 86) will get the virus. And of course I’m very fearful for my adult sons.

    My biggest fear is this thing will go on for months…years? And we may get trapped indefinitely.

    I am in no way a “sky is falling” kind of person. I am definitely “look at the bright side” girl. In fact I have been criticized in my life as a “Pollyanna” by people with a less positive outlook.

    HOWEVER I am also a realist and see this as a long-term scenario. And that is why the things I listed above scare me.

    Meanwhile

    Meanwhile we have no choice really but to wait and watch at least until mid April. Hopefully by then we will be armed with enough information to move forward in one way or another. There are few other options. The only silver lining is the weather here in Cyprus is finally beginning to warm up a bit.

    I’d love your comments on the blog about your situation wherever you are. I am genuinely concerned for each of you and I am thinking of all of you and sending love and best wishes. God speed.

    Not in my wildest dreams. Wow.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

    Book Review The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

    What a surprise this book was.  A book about a book.  I loved it.

    Set in post-war era where the USA (CIA) is trying to infiltrate the USSR, this book is based on real events and a real plot to bring the classic Russian novel Dr. Zhivago, first out of the USSR to be printed and then back to the people of the USSR to read.

    Instead of propaganda, the CIA used Pasternak’s magnum opus against the USSR government. What you say?  Crazy right?  I had no idea that magnificent book by Pasternak was banned in the USSR and thanks to a net work of primarily female spies, the book was infiltrated into the USSR during the Cold War 1960’s.

    The story takes the reader from the height of the Cold War in the Washington DC region to the streets of Moscow and the the Soviet Union prison of Galug.  Pasternak and his real life mistress and muse Olga Ivinskaya dedicate their lives to get Dr. Zhivago published.  But without the “secretaries” turned spies from the CIA, this classical and epic novel would never have seen print.

    The book touches eloquently on so many societal issue of the day from lack of females in prominent roles in offices, to mysogenistic work places.  It touches on male dominance of females in the work place as well as the societal norms that women should be home with the children.

    I enjoyed this book, learning about the personal life of Pasternak, as well as some of the horribly brutal consequences of going against the government in the Soviet Union.  I also thought the author did a great job with the descriptive narrative bringing the reader back to the 1950’s with details about clothing and cars, decor and dining and a variety of other historical detail making the book come to life.  This is one book I would love to see as a movie.  I’m already thinking about who should play the leads.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five Stars for The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

    Read last week’s review of Say Nothing

    My current read The Ambassadors Daughter

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