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5 masks hanging on a clotheslineAddio 2020!  Is that too polite? How about vai via 2020?  Via al inferno 2020?  Vaffanculo 2020 may be the most appropriate send off to this year that most of us would like to forget.  COVID 19 has affected life for everyone.  Even in my weirdest dreams, I never imagined plague and pestilence in the form of a planetary health crisis during my lifetime…..yet here we are.

My word of the year is sottosopra (sot•toh•SOH•prah)…..upside down.  I doubt I am alone feeling like an extra in a bad science fiction movie, where everything in the world is upside down. Kisses and hugs spread disease, lounging on the couch binge watching Netflix is responsible adult behaviour, NOT visiting family is a sign of love, and losers are the ones who DO go out on New Year’s Eve!Personal Protective Equipment

The loss of life, paralysis of the world economy, and mental health effects of this pandemic have been devastating.  It has been more stressful than most of us are willing to admit.  Each of us copes differently with the confusion, fear and stress of quarantine, distancing, and finding distraction from all things 2020.  Some of us are madly productive, and others slow right down.  As long as our activities help us cope and we follow local guidelines to help everyone stay safe, it does not really matter.

This has been a time for many of us to reflect about what is important, especially so in this quieter of Christmas seasons.  There are not many positive things to discuss during a global pandemic.  Even so, I have felt humbled by the outpouring of kindness, humanity and creativity that has come out of this terrible situation and speak to the resilience of the human spirit.  Just a few of my favourite examples include:

  • The adaptability and creativity of businesses, workplaces, schools and social groups, offering their services differently and online.  I have been doing zoom yoga 3-4 times a week! Many of these practices will likely continue in some form when the world is no longer sottosopra!
  • The world becoming emotional watching videos of neighbourhoods throughout Italia singing in solidarity from their balconies and windows.  This uplifting show of unity and community support spread positivity around the world.
  • Collective rounds of applause and banging of pots for frontline health care workers.  As a healthcare worker, I thank you all for your enthusiasm! This video ‘A Violin flies over Cremona’ of Lena Yokoyama playing Ennio Morricone for health care workers on the roof of the hospital in Cremona makes me cry.  The full 15 minute documentary, with English voice over by my amica Anna Ambrosini is available here 
  • Pandemic street art!  A creative response to the pandemic, often with a dose of humour.  I wrote about street art for International Nurses Day and have another post planned soon.John Doh street art
  • Volunteers helping the elderly with groceries and errands, sewing masks, donating blood and many other wonderful things.
  • Nerdy science geeks are finally cool!
  • The elementary school near home had to cancel their Christmas concert.  They walked around and sang in front of the homes of the older and housebound neighbours instead.  Singing with their antlers and little masks on-they were adorable.  My parents were so thrilled, as was 98 year old Pasquale across the street.
  • The extra effort to spread Christmas cheer this year with outdoor decorations and lights.   Tree lots here sold out the in first week and many stores almost sold out of seasonal stuff by mid-December.  My lights and decorations always help me get through the cold, wet, dark, depressing days of winter, so I have really appreciated this.

    was consistent…ha fatto schifo dall’inizio fino alla fine! It sucked from beginning to end!

    Please remember the global Christmas message of goodwill towards everyone.  We are all facing challenges that are not visible.  Do not assume you know what others are going through. As our Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says ‘Be safe, be calm, be kind’.

    Il Bacio TV Boy Pandemic street art

    Wishing all readers of Un po’ di pepe a safe, healthy, happy, better New Year, where the world is not upside down!

    Tanti auguri a tutti i lettori di Un po’ di pepe per un migliore Anno Nuovo piena di gioia, salute e sicurezza, dove il mondo non è sottosopra5 masks hanging on a clothesline

     Forza!  Hang in there everyone!

     Virtual baci e abbracci, Cristina

    Street art images from the artist’s instagram:

  • No need to shit yourself @johndohart
  • Trust Science, not Morons, Mike Dellaria @dellarious
  • Il Bacio @TVBoy