Thursday, 17 March 2022

Awaiting normality (as soon as we work out what that is)

 I have a lot of unfinished things to do that need me to travel abroad but it's hard to know whether to start planning anything. Despite (or because of) the steady reduction in restrictions regarding Covid, the number of cases is soaring. The Russian offensive in Ukraine seems stalled, but it could erupt into something fiercer, and the stream of refugees keeps coming. We have many displaced families in my area now. I need a new passport but I've no idea how long it will take as the backlog of Covid-delayed applications will take time for the ministry to get through.

One of my sisters is getting married in a few weeks but I really have no idea if I'll be able to attend the wedding. Best to assume nothing as speculation only causes stress. I need to collect my belongings in a deposit in London, including two dozen crates of clothes, and I still have an open insurance claim in respect of the flooding there in August 2020! Again, I've no idea when I'll be able to get there to sort it all out. 

There's the possibility of a friend visiting me in a few weeks' time, which would be wonderful but is not guaranteed. And maybe I'll try crossing the border into France for a day out there soon, just to see if the Covid travel arrangements work as they should. I shouldn't need a passport for that, just my European ID card and Green Pass. Some chic fashion for my wardrobe maybe? But again, I don't know if things will change in a few days to make that impossible.

There has never been this degree of chaos in our lives before. Maybe we have been uniquely lucky in history, more likely we have worked hard at making the world a healthier and more peaceful place and this is just a blip. 

So I am simply waiting for things to return to normal. Not a 'new normal', just normal. Rather than battling this fate that's befallen us and getting stressed, I am just sitting it all out.

The Home Front

As mentioned, we have young families arriving from Ukraine, mothers and children mainly, usually staying with Italian relatives or with Ukrainians already resident here, but some with no connections who are being taken in by foster families but all within the same close area so the Ukrainians are not too dispersed, and this is a good policy. The welcome that Ukrainian children have been getting at Italian schools has been really heartwarming. See this video just as an example.

Italians are very welcoming even though their authorities are not. Refugees from civil wars in Libya and Syria land exhausted after days at sea and are taken in by families despite some politicians wishing to turn them away. I see much humanity here.

Last week I wrote about Raimonda the Ray, a cuddly toy I bought myself. She was the one I kept, in fact, as I've been getting toys for the refugee effort here as these afford comfort to kids in the trauma of displacement. A furry friend you can hold is always loving in a hostile world. 

Stay safe and try not to get stressed. In most ways, this is out of our hands. As far as war reporting goes, try to listen to more reputable news sources like CNN who at least interview people with genuine expertise. Proper strategy think tanks such as Harvard's Kennedy School, the US Centre for Naval Analyses, the Rand Corporation, etc. are cautious and therefore competent in analysing the situation, rather than gossipy journalists. The ORYX blog has a balance of losses that have been verified rather than the propaganda from either side. 

I feel at this point that wider war is unlikely now, which is good. 

Sue x

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