Friday, May 08, 2020

What it's like to be quarantined in Côte d'Azur in the South of France

Many years ago, before AirBnB, my friends and I joked that each of us should buy a house in a different country so we can stay over there for holidays and we won't need to spend on hotels. Well, it's come true. They have scattered with the wind save for me, still here in Manila. Thank goodness for social media and messaging apps, we can keep tabs on each other!

Like us, my friends are also quarantined in their little spot on the globe. I still can't believe it, how all over the world, we are fighting this COVID-19 pandemic together. It suddenly makes the world such a small place. My friend, Nicole, suggested I share how people's lives are like everywhere during this strange time. It was a fantabulous idea! It will make us feel less alone in our cooped-up existence by making us virtually visit someone far away. I hope you agree!

Pogi ng asawa ni Nic!

So today, let me introduce you to my friend, Nicole. If you're a Loyal Reader, you must've spotted her here and there in old blog posts. We became friends while working as magazine editors. Nicole was the super chic and talented beauty editor of Cosmopolitan before becoming the freelance beauty editor of OK! magazine. These days, she's not on my blog anymore because I haven't seen her in years since she married and moved to the South of France. She is delightfully happy and soooo in love these days. I can imagine how lovely it must be to be required to be stuck at home with the love of your life in such a gorgeous place as Côte d'Azur! Here's what her life's like:

What are your lockdown rules specifically?
The lockdown rules in France are pretty much the same for the whole country. The only difference (that I am aware of) is that a few cities require you to wear a mask or implement certain curfews. 

Whenever we go out, we have to prepare a form called the Attestation de Déplacement Dérogatoire. It's like a permission slip where you have to enter your personal details and indicate the pre-approved reasons for going out: essential work, groceries, exercise, to walk your dog, urgent family matters like if you’re sharing custody of children, medical appointments, etc. The attestation can be handwritten, but if it’s printed or filled up on your phone, then it comes with a QR code that can be scanned at checkpoints. If you don’t respect the rules, you get a €135 fine for the first offense. 

Still stylish even in the empty streets!

How is your town taking to the lockdown? 
I think everyone is doing the best they can. At 8 p.m., people gather by their windows to pay tribute to the frontliners—you’ll hear clapping, random trumpet playing, dance music, occasional fireworks, and even boats blaring their horns. The only thing that’s strange to me is that I see a lot of people walking around and even kids playing outside without masks. But our town started distributing them for free to encourage residents to wear them and you can also buy masks at groceries and pharmacies now, so hopefully this will change. 

How do you get your food? 
My husband goes to the grocery every two weeks. So far, the stock situation has been fairly good and there are delivery options available. Our local market and some restaurants have also opened for takeout recently. But I think the funniest thing I noticed was that a lot of people were ordering wine for pickup from one of our neighborhood restaurants. Of course, the French need their wine! 

Nic prepared this for their Easter meal.
Another Nic confection. I don't know how this couple stays slim!

You can go out! Whyyyyyy??? 
Everyone is allowed to go out for exercise once a day for one hour and within one kilometer of your home. We’ve been on strict lockdown since March 16, but we only started going out for short walks towards the end of April since we wanted to stay home as much as possible. But now that masks are more available and the weather is warmer, we take walks on paths where we run into less people maybe 2-3 times a week. It's been good for our sanity! 

What will you do once lockdown lifts? 
Since we live near the sea, I find myself daydreaming about going on a nice picnic and taking a dip in the ocean. I definitely hope I can visit Manila again soon because it’s unnerving when you don't know when you'll be able to see your family again! But I try not to think about these things too much since everything is so unpredictable anyway. I just take it a day at a time and try to appreciate the simple things. As long as everyone is healthy and safe at the end of the day, that’s all that truly matters. 

Oh, what a view! The South of France is one of the prettiest places in the world.

What have you been doing during quarantine? 
We usually spend most of the day cooking and baking! Making bread really helped me relax and experimenting with different recipes in the kitchen made us both happy. I tried studying a little French and did some yoga a couple of times a week, but it never really stuck. So I switched to crocheting while he'd watch a series on Netflix or catch up on the news. After dinner, we turn off our screens and play a game of cards, Monopoly Deal, backgammon, checkers—something old school. And of course, there's Instagram, Facetime calls, and lots of texting with friends and family. Making videos for those with birthdays in my family actually became a trend, so I think we also made at least four or five of those. My husband also learned to cut his own hair! I'm hoping I can teach him how to give me a manicure next! Haha! 

Nic making the most of quarantine by baking bread.

Gosh, I miss this woman. Nicole's quarantine diary sounds dreamy — I'm looking forward to spending time at her place instead of an AirBnB! But even she lets slip that there is anxiety for the uncertain days ahead for all of us. Well, we can choose to despair or we can make our shuttered life at home beautiful, safe and heavenly for us and the ones we love just like Nic did!

Get to know more of Nic's adventures by following her on Instagram @beautyandsparkl!  

Have a good weekend safe and healthy at home, mamas!

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