12 Results

Colombia Expats in a COVID-19 World

Search

Dateline: June 21, 2020  The little lad in this photo is my dad, Frank K. Baker. He was maybe 4 or 5 (circa 1938) and proudly showing off the newspaper suit his mom made him for a parade in my little hometown of Fort Stockton, Texas. He was a walking billboard for the family business, the Fort Stockton Pioneer – the local paper that was published at the time by my Granddaddy George. The printers’ ink got into Frank’s veins and he went on to take the reins of the Pioneer and become an award-winning publisher and president of the Texas Press Association. He was the quintessential small-town journalist, back when that actually meant something. It’s because of him that I am a working writer to this day. Dad left us a year and a half ago after struggling bravely with Alzheimer’s for several years. He was 84. I still…

Dateline: June 8, 2020 What a week. It’s hard to believe only 10 days have passed since I woke up heartsick about the murder of George Floyd and then wrote this. In the meantime, we’ve seen mostly localized demonstrations against racial inequality and police brutality grow into a national – and now international – movement.  Even the media seems to be getting it now: Whereas initial reporting was focused on lootings and riots, now the coverage is on the peaceful protests by millions of people in capitol cities all over the world. And every day the movement grows. More and more politicians, large corporations, military leaders, police authorities, and other public figures are taking a stand with the protestors. Such as the NFL commissioner’s stunning reversal and apology to Colin Kaepernick and other U.S. football players who had previously knelt in protest over police brutality. That one’s REALLY astonishing to…

DATELINE May 17, 2020, Medellín, Colombia. We don’t know about you, but the longer this pandemic drags on, the more we’re craving even the smallest signs of normal. At least, what we considered normal before the coronavirus hit the fan. Even little things  – like the workers getting back on the job at the construction site across the street (we don’t even mind the noise like we used to), or the reappearance of the corner empanada vendor this morning after many weeks – are enough to put a smile on our socially deprived faces. Since we’re still so very early in the trajectory of this pandemic, any ideas about a new COVID-19 normal are mostly speculation. While speculating in public can be a dangerous thing (bleach injections, anyone?), sometimes a little musing is good for the soul. And since we don’t have the bully pulpit of POTUS, hopefully our musings…

DATELINE May 10, 2020, Medellín, Colombia. Happy Mother’s Day! My amazing mom, Mary Lea Baker, is doing well in Austin, Texas. It’s hard not being with her today and knowing we couldn’t get there, even if we really needed to. But I also feel incredibly grateful that she was able to visit us here in Medellín in February, before the COVID sky starting falling. Here are a few photo highlights of that visit: Travelers’ Crystal Balls are Coming Out We’re getting just as antsy as other fellow travelers as the global pandemic drags on (and on, and on), and as the future of travel continues to be highly speculative. Just this week, we began to see more prognostications and proposals on what world travel might look like in both the near term (um, nonexistent) and further down the road. This CNN article takes a look at a proposal to create…

DATELINE May 3, 2020, Medellín, Colombia. These updates are getting harder to write. It’s clear that this pandemic is not going to end soon, and any real resolution – whether it’s brought about by effective treatments, vaccines, or some other unforeseen factor – is going to take many months, if not years, to pan out. And, being an impatient species that’s used to getting its way with the planet, we humans are chomping at the bit to get back to our “normal lives.” It’s been difficult to watch the protests against mandated social distancing in our home country, including the (relatively small) gangs of armed thugs making threats to state officials. Especially since social distancing seems to be the ONLY somewhat effective approach to containing this thing. Which brings me back to why these pandemic posts are getting harder to write.  We’re beginning to realize just what a big uphill…

DATELINE April 25, 2020, Medellín, Colombia. It’s day 41 of mandatory quarantine here in Colombia. A day in our COVID-19 world looks something like this: Wake up early because you went to bed early the night before. Put on the coffee and read for a bit. Feed and walk the dogs around 7. Do our exercises and have breakfast. Work all morning, have lunch, walk the dogs. Work all afternoon, read emails and catch up on online news. Watch the BBC and Colombian TV news, have dinner, walk the dogs. Then watch something on Netflix or Prime until we both fall asleep. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, punctuated by two exciting trips to the grocery store every week. It’s Groundhog Day, Medellín-style! If that sounds like a whine, it’s anything but. There’s something really calming about this routine, because we know it’s keeping us safe. And it keeps us centered, with…

DATELINE April 18, 2020, Medellín, Colombia. The Big COVID-19 Travel Quandary If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ll know that travel has been a priority in our lives for a long time and one of the big motivators in our decision to become expats. Therefore, if we had to name one thing we miss the most about our lives before quarantine, it would be the ability to travel at will – or at least as and budget and Susan’s work schedule allow. It’s anyone’s guess what the post COVID-19 travel landscape will be like once this all blows over, but it might be years (if ever) before international travel recovers to pre-pandemic days. Although our journeys are only part-time, at least until Susan retires, we still have dreams of becoming full-time nomads and pet/house-sitters someday. Through our blog, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting several couples who…

DATELINE April 11, 2020, Medellín, Colombia. As of this morning, there are 2,473 cases of COVID-19 in Colombia with 80 deaths. That’s an increase of 1,067 cases and 48 deaths since last week. As the pandemic escalates, it’s clear that Colombia hasn’t reached its peak with the virus. And sadly, this week our country lost its first healthcare professional to COVID-19: a 33-year-old doctor in Bogotá. His name was Carlos Fabian Nieto and he left behind a wife and two young children. Our hearts go out to them. While the largest percentage of cases are in Bogotá, the numbers are more encouraging here in our home province of Antioquia. The graph below is a couple of days old – we’ve gotten 7 more cases since then – but it shows that of the 239 cases reported on 9 April, only 17 were in hospital with 6 in ICU. With so…

DATELINE April 4, 2020, Medellín, Colombia. We’re feeling a little more downbeat this week. There’s been a lot of gloomy COVID-19 pandemic news lately: By some estimates, a third of humanity is now under some type of movement restriction. The global food supply chain is holding up for now but is on shaky ground. It’s been hard to shake the horrifying images from Guayaquil, Ecuador, a city that has been completely overwhelmed by the coronavirus. It seems an anomaly, since the rest of Ecuador and most other South American cities and countries are managing the crisis reasonably well. And the U.S. . . . oy vey. How is it possible, during a global COVID-19 pandemic, that the governor of New York has to beg and plead for lifesaving equipment? That getting federal help seems to depend on how much your governor has kowtowed to POTUS? That some states have STILL…

DATELINE March 28, 2020, Medellín, Colombia. Cheers to all! Hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and hunkered down. Here’s the latest from our little corner of the coronavirus pandemic. Check last week’s entry to see how much things have changed (quite a lot).  John and I are now on day 14 under COVID-19 quarantine. We started a few days earlier than the official, nationwide COVID-19 quarantine that began last Wednesday. So far so good – since I’ve always worked from home and John’s retired, our lives haven’t changed radically. We miss eating out, riding the Metro, and seeing our friends. But the silver lining is time to read, time to reflect, time to take a breath and count our blessings. And time to eat popcorn while we binge-watch our Netflix shows! Apart from our permitted 20-minute dog walks, we have not been anywhere except to get groceries last Tuesday. The…

%d bloggers like this: