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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 6, 2020
My partner and I (and our dog) are in the middle of our two-week, provincially imposed, self-isolation. Until Saturday, July 18, we are confined to our property on the north shore. We must remain on our property, and are reliant on friends and neighbours to drop off everything for us, from groceries to personal items we forgot to pack when we left Ontario last week for the 20-hour drive to P.E.I. There is no running out for fresh seafood, no getting up early to go to the farmers’ market, and no long walks on the beach ... yet! And every day we get a checkup call from a government agency to make sure we’re at home and symptom-free.
Since I am still working full-time, the “house arrest” has not been too difficult so far.
We arrived on a Saturday, and by the time we unpacked and took care of a few on-site details our property people hadn’t quite gotten around to, it was pretty much time to go back to work. For me, that means 8-10 hours of attending video conferences, writing or revising policy documents and answering time-sensitive emails each day ... and the one-hour time difference now means I am often online before some of my colleagues, allowing me to get ahead of the game a bit.
The first three days I was working from home, I had time to run from the building I’m using as my “office” to our actual house and throw together something to eat twice. The other day, my partner — who has been unemployed since COVID-19 wiped out the airline industry in March — was kind enough to deliver lunch to my ”desk”. In meetings, colleagues at work have started noticing and commenting on the change in my background from the apartment wall in Toronto. “Are you on P.E.I.?” they ask. “It looks beautiful out there.” And I answer gleefully: “Yes”!
My partner has been filling her days with the same things she started in Toronto once furloughed: learning French, studying math, and reviewing aviation-related systems and safety procedures (she’s a pilot, and wants to stay fresh for when she’s recalled). She’s also been working out regularly, although it looks a little different here ... in Toronto, she hangs a pressure-mounted bar in the doorway between our living room and the kitchen to do pull-ups, and runs at night when there are fewer people crowding the waterfront path outside our apartment. Here she does push-ups on the deck, and runs around the property 30-40 times! And since our groceries are necessarily being delivered for the first two weeks of our stay, she doesn’t even have to fit grocery shopping into her day. It’s a pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.
The dog is happy. After four years coming to P.E.I., she recognizes the smell of the Island. And although she looks at us quizzically when we head out for yet another walk through the meadow behind the house instead of going to the beach, she’s just happy to be able to be outside instead of cooped up in the apartment.
Although I, too, am eager to get to the beach, I must say I am finding this arrangement quite OK. Working and sleeping on P.E.I. is a welcome break, even if I’m confined to my property. (And yes,I recognize that I am privileged to own property here, rather than rent a space — having a few acres to romp around makes for a different experience than being confined to a small town house or apartment ... even here on the Island.) I love the city and lake view from our west-end Toronto apartment, but by the end of June, I’d had enough of the locals screaming in the parking lot next door all day while I tried in vain to concentrate on reading and writing highly sensitive documents on my computer at the dining room table. And the almost total silence of rural P.E.I. evenings is a welcome relief from the incessant fireworks that seem to have become the new normal along the lake every night in Toronto.
So far, so good!
Vera C. Teschow is a certified teacher, lisensed pilot and parent of monozygotic twins. She shares her time between Ontario and P.E.I., and has been doing so for over a decade. Part 1 appeared Wednesday and Part 3, How Kijiji saved my life, will appear Friday in print and online at www.theguardian.pe.ca. For more, visit verateschow.ca or Instagram.com/schlagzeug_usw.