International student Madalina Ursache was doing her internship at Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa in Dubai when the corona virus broke out and she had to be quarantined. Read about how she learned to cope with Mr. Quarantine!
Mr. Quarantine started knocking at my door for a while now and eventually, I had to let him in, even though he is not the most hospitable guest. His stay had a huge impact on my life, starting from my internship experience to my perspective over human behavior. I know that I am not the only person who had to deal with this “unwanted guest” but he treats everyone differently. Therefore, here is how people at my accommodation, including me, had to adapt during his visit.
A lot of changes had to be made as imposed from the UAE’s government and by the top management with the first one being, putting a restriction on movement. From my first day on, I was not allowed to go outside and all groceries had to be done online. Moreover, the gym and pool area were shut down and we could only gather around in the garden and gaming/ computer room. Hmm…“That’s not too bad” you might be wondering. To be honest, I had the same thoughts till Mr. Quarantine started to complicate the whole situation.
The self-service canteen became a fully employee-operated cafeteria. We were not allowed to touch our plates, to pick the food ourselves, to pour our own water, to come too close to the next person or even enter the cafeteria without using sanitizer. We had volunteers from the F&B department that would do everything from serving, cleaning the tables and chairs after every single use, to managing the human traffic by respecting the holy 1.5 m rule. On top of this, the list of available grocery stores shrunk to only one corner market that we were allowed to order only 3 days in advance with a form.
I said earlier that Mr. Q is not the most hospitable guest and that is due to several factors. Firstly, he put so many physical barriers between people which made it hard for us to socialize and keep up with our motivation. At my hotel there are lots of people working to support their families at home and bringing uncertainty in their lives and tacking away their daily habits, had tremendous psychological effects. For me, it was hard sometimes to change the topic of a conversation from “corona to salary and salary to corona”. Secondly, having so many rules to follow while being locked away from your family can become tiring and very stressful and therefore leading to negative impact on our mental health.
On the other side, during this lockdown, new learning opportunities arose and the management tried their best to look for fun ways to make us feel better, such as arranging social activities (bingo, painting, video-making contest, puzzle time and sports), creating trainings about wine, first-aid and encouraging us to meditate and reflect on our well-being. I participated in the majority of activities and took this time as an opportunity to catch up with things I wanted to do.
At the end of the day, Mr. Q has taken from us many things but he also gave us the chance to take a break from our permanent busy lives. Even though I wish that Mr. Q had never visited me and I hope he will leave soon, I will always try to remain positive.
International student Madalina wrote a blog about how to stay positive during quarantine.
About rescheduling her travel plans (again and again) and return to the Netherlands!