Wednesday 15 April 2020


By Andrea Marie

Patience, passion and persistence are three of the many great qualities of my friend Martin Baker. Thank you, Marty, for your invitations to contribute to your blog. Thank you for believing, by asking again every so often, that I would not only agree but follow through. That day has come. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to participate and begin to find my voice.

This past February I treated myself with a trip to one of my favorite cities, Amsterdam. It was a wonderful time, and less crowded than I am accustomed to due to the season. I made new friends, visited with old friends and walked all over the city that I love. It graced me with some new energy and renewed hopes and dreams for myself after several years of illness, loss, grieving and survival.

Finally, that light that had seemed dimmer was radiating once again. I could feel it. It was peace, happiness and hope inside of me. Maybe I could even pursue a dream or two again. I was very excited as I found myself dreaming of a plan to live in Amsterdam, for a period of time at least.

Enter word of a virus in China that is spreading like wildfire.

Passing through customs for my return trip, every passenger was questioned as to if they had traveled to China or had contact with anyone relating to the coronavirus. If so, the individual was restricted from boarding the aircraft. Having never experienced such an inquiry, it was in that moment I knew I was returning to NYC/NJ – and the virus would not be far behind. If they were questioning us in the north of Europe about a virus outbreak in China, there must be something big looming.

Arriving stateside, other than the same questions to every single person going through customs, there didn’t seem to be much concern about the virus on the other side of the world. Sadly, this is a common disposition here and nothing new. Americans are stereotyped – often for good reason – as possessing a belief that we are exclusive and things cannot happen here to us. Until it comes home to roost. Then the gnashing of teeth and blame games begin. Personally, I don’t subscribe to such fantastical and fanatical thinking and wonder (doubtfully) if it is limited to Americans or is perhaps a human issue of character… But I digress.

The first case of the virus came to NYC March 1. It is also the day that I decided to in essence self-quarantine. The news had reported that asymptomatic people could spread the virus, there were no tests available and now there are tests but not enough to test asymptomatic folks. Staying home made sense to me, so as to not catch or spread the virus. Just one month later there are over 125,000 cases in NY/NJ. The new cases are started to decline here but rise in other areas of the United States. There is word that the government plans to reopen on May 1. In my opinion that would be a premature move and a deadly mistake.

This global pandemic is showing us the best and the worst of humanity, as crisis tends to do. It displays the age-old mortal struggle; Good vs. Evil, if you will. Selflessness vs. Greed. Humility vs. Ego. Life vs. Death. In the end, each of us gets to choose which side we contribute to.

As for me, my dreams are on hold. Amsterdam will have to wait for me. She’s been there since 1275 so I am sure she will come through and welcome me with open arms as soon as she possibly can. For now, I’ll stay as positive and grateful as I can for that is where true freedom lives, in the heart.


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