BETWEEN TWO HOMELANDS: BETUL’S LOCKDOWN STORY

COVID-19 pandemic is a thing we all share and everyone has their own story to share about it. When the first case was announced on the 11th of March in Turkey, I was at home. In the following day, I leave the house by covering myself with a surgical mask, which I have never done in my entire life before.

Starting from the 12th of March, I had limited the times I spent outside and kind of self-isolated myself. In this way, I felt a bit more safe. During that period, I had been following the cases in Turkey but also keeping an eye on the news coming from my parents who live in Xanthi, Greece. When I heard that Echinos were under lockdown on the 25th of March, I became more anxious since my parents’ place locates there. Therewithal, national lockdown was announced in Greece so that we were considerably calm. 

Personally, I did not consider going back to Greece. Although the borders were closed already, students were able to go back to Greece with special permission provided by the Greek Embassy in Edirne (Turkey). I felt so weird when I learnt that my last chance was to get the last permitted bus, which were scheduled to the 2nd of April. I felt worried about the uncertain future that I faced with and the fear of not seeing my parents challenged me. I was all packed but it was hard for me to decide until the last minute. Eventually, I thought I could feel better and safe there and I took the last bus with 15 other passengers. We were all careful and stayed distanced during the trip.

After our passport controls were done in the Greek border, they transferred us to another bus that was arranged by the state. Afterwards, we were settled in a hotel that takes place in Komotini. Two days later, COVID-19 tests were made. Waiting for the results were a way more tiring and psychologically damaging than the decision I made and the whole trip. To be more specific, I was worried about diving into a random crowd and taking a bus that is full of people after spending long time at home.

Fortunately, our test results were negative and we could either go to our places or spend the risky 14 days in the hotel. Since the lockdown in Echinos were continuing, I had to stay in the hotel. The ones who wanted to stay in their own places were informed about the rest of the procedure which consist of being under regular check by the police during 14 days. In case if they don’t follow the rules of lockdown, they were obliged to pay 5.000 Euro.

I was comfortable during two weeks I stayed in the hotel, there was a bedroom and a separate living room inside. I got three meals per day, which was left on the door of my room.

I had a lot of books with me but I couldn’t read something new, just reread the things I had already completed instead. Also, I couldn’t follow the news. All I could do was watching outside the balcony while the days were passing. Luckily, the hotel takes place inside of nature so that I found some time to introspect myself. That meant something to me because I met all faces of nature during my staying.

The day I arrived, it was freaking cold outside and I woke up to a snowy view in the next morning. The following day was a hell of rain, even my room was flooded and the top of the mountains were foggy. Another day, I watched the trees that were shaken by the breeze -after waking up to the sound of a chair that fall down due to severe wind.

The second week was sunny so that those snow in the mountains had melted. The sound coming from the birds and dogs accompanied me while sunbathing in the balcony. Then one day, I realized how the time had gone so fast. Those trees that were all dry when I arrived were coming into leaf now. Just as they did, I had also passed through a lot -experienced various emotions, thought on tons of stuff and listened myself. I even celebrated my own birthday! Although I don’t really care about such celebrations, I wanted to make this one memorable. Since I had some Nutella in my fridge, I was happy just as I had a birthday cake so that I didn’t feel upset about being under lockdown in my birthday. On the first day of my new age, I got a call from the reception of the hotel and I learnt that I could check out. Both in the manner of time and place, the lock down period was meaningful for me. I finally feel rested and purified.