By: Adele and Cecily
Our cousin Will is 19 years old and is from Toronto, Canada. But right now, he is in Barcelona in Spain for a squash training program. Barcelona has one of the strictest lock-downs due to the coronavirus pandemic. The lock-down started on March 14th. On April 13th, the government let some people go back to work, including people who work in factories and construction workers.
We thought that it would be interesting to interview him about what it is like to be living in Spain right now.
Cecily and Adele: Why did you come to Spain?
Will: I came here for professional squash training because there are a lot of professional squash players here and there is a good group that trains in Barcelona.
Cecily and Adele: What are some of the hardest parts about being stuck inside?
Will: It’s really boring. As much as I want to go outside and take a walk or get some fresh air, I can’t really step out of our front door. It feels a bit like being under house arrest.
Cecily and Adele: Who are you living with?
Will: I have two roommates. One of them is from the Canary Islands and one of them is from Colombia. They both play squash and are training with me.
Cecily and Adele: Who are you able to see besides your roommates?
Will: Here, you are only allowed to leave your house to go grocery shopping. I see other people when I do that. I go grocery shopping twice a week.
Cecily and Adele: When you go grocery shopping, do you have to wear a mask?
Will: I tried tying a shirt around my face, it wasn’t working very well, it kept falling off. Whenever I go grocery shopping, I make sure that I’m never within six feet of anyone. And then at the grocery store, there is a police officer and you have to put on plastic gloves.
Cecily and Adele: What do you do inside to keep yourself from getting bored?
Will: I play video games with my roommates and I watch a lot of Netflix and YouTube. In the past week, I’ve been learning how to cook a lot more things. I’m supposed to eat really healthy. I’m f0llowing a diet, so I’ve been keeping busy lately learning how to cook a lot more stuff.
Cecily and Adele: Is there any way for you to train for squash inside?
Will: Yeah, my coach sends my roommates and I a work-out. We are supposed to do two work-outs a day, one at 10:30 am and one at 5:30pm, but sometimes we miss the morning one just because we want to sleep in. We have some weights and some elastic bands and stuff that we can work out with. For cardio, we have a jump rope or we do foot work on the spot. So, at least we can work out.
Cecily and Adele: What do you like about Spain?
Will: The weather is really nice, it’s really sunny and warm. The city is visually stunning. It’s really nice and a lot different from Toronto.
Cecily and Adele: Why did you choose to stay in Spain instead of going back to Toronto?
Will: Well, I am supposed to stay here until July. Hopefully, the quarantine won’t last that long. When it’s over, I’ll just stay here and continue training where I left off. If it lasts a super long time, I might consider going back to Toronto. For now, they say the lock-down will go until April 25th but it could get extended.
Cecily and Adele: Have you had any scary moments?
Will: At first, I didn’t realize how strict the rules are. One day, my roommates and I were going grocery shopping and we thought we were following the rules. We didn’t think we were doing anything wrong, but then a big police truck came down the street and stopped right beside us. Four police officers got out and stood in front of us and they started speaking Spanish really fast. I didn’t know what they were saying, but one of them spoke English. Apparently, we weren’t supposed to be walking together. We had to walk one at a time. They were going to give us a fine, but we told them we didn’t know. We were very lucky we didn’t get a fine, but it was scary to have a big police truck speed up beside us. They took our names and talked to us for a while.
Cecily and Adele: What has been good about your time in Spain?
Will: I really liked living on my own. It’s fun being able to take care of myself and get by. I have two good friends and we have fun. So, it’s not the worst thing in the world.
One other thing Will told us was that he and his roommates do not have toilet paper and that instead they have to use paper towel. Even in Spain, people are hoarding toilet paper!
The view from the roof of my cousin’s apartment building in Spain. Photo by Will Harris.