Lady Who Productions
 
Some Perspective 
 
I was supposed to be at a Film Festival in Joburg, South Africa on Thursday, March 12th for a screening and Q&A session for my short film Raging Cult. On the 10th, the day I was supposed to fly out, France only had 1,784 cases and 33 deaths. People told me it would be OK, South Africa didn't yet have any cases and air travel was normal.
 
Luckily, Air France was offering free cancellations already, and I listened to my gut. I felt it wasn't safe to travel even if all was "normal" back then. By the time I would have gotten back from this trip on March 18th, Europe had closed its borders to visitors, the U.S. had banned non-citizens and told Americans to stay put for an "indefinite period of time" and France was on lockdown. By March 18th (the day i was supposed to come back), there were 9,134 cases and 264 deaths. Today, Sunday 22nd March, France has 14,459 cases and 562 deaths.
 
Since then, a film festival in Oxford was cancelled (despite the UK operating mostly as usual), my TEDx Talk in Montpellier was cancelled ...blah, blah. You know, LIFE IS CANCELLED.
 
FRENCH NEWS TODAY
 
I was listening to the radio this morning, and they are using drones to surveil the towns, they are checking you are in your primary residence (as opposed to your second homes) because hospitals are built to the capacity of the primary residences, and they don't want the smaller towns to be overloaded with patients.
 
A Time Where Neighbors Matter
 
 
VIDEOS: Pre-Quarantine in Montmartre: March 13th - 14th
 
Friday, March 13th, Macron announced schools were closed. That evening the French hit the town. The next day, cafes were closed. 
 
VIDEOS: American Pre- Quarantine in Paris: March 15th - 16th
 
By Sunday, the cafes were closed, but the sun was shining and they took to the streets. By Monday, Macron wagged his finger by quaranting us for 15 days minimum.
 
 
I can't explain the feeling of living away from family and friends in a foreign country during something like this. We are on day 5 of Quarantine in France (so you can imagine how I look as opposed to the meme above).
 
I've spent a lot of my four years in Paris uber connected to the rest of the world. I managed teams with the New York Times in Hong Kong, London and Paris. I flew back to New York once every few months. Now, as a filmmaker, my films are getting into festivals which allowed me to travel to London, South Africa, LA, etc. This isn't to flaunt how much I traveled, but it's to show how little I was connected to my own neighborhood.
 
And yet, the coronavirus is pushing me to recognize what's been in front of me the entire time. I'm now that much closer to the people across the street. They are the ones who know what this feels like right to me at this moment. They are the ones who see the sun rise with me everyday, who clap at 8pm for the healthcare workers, who listen to Macron's speeches at the same time. Just like I'm sure New Yorkers feel pride in being New Yorkers and Marylanders are hunkering down with their Natty Boh's and crabs, I decided not to leave Paris because it felt wrong. It felt like I was in this with them.
 
I'm listening to more local news than I ever have before because it directly impacts me more than ever before. My French is fluent but it's getting better by the day. I'm having happy hours online with friends in Paris and South of France and London because of the time zones. I'm training pigeons to carry my mail for me across the town. (Kidding, obviously, but that's seriously something I think we should bring back.) Oh, and I'm making friends with my mouse who jumped up on my couch last night - he's getting super comfortable with me.

It's a time where we are more connected than ever before but it's also a time where our realities are immediately in front of us. My neighbors across the street and I wave to make sure we are OK and still alive. I found out for the first time in a year and a half that this is a family consisting of two children, a stay at home mother and a father who is a psychiatrist. He's on the phone all day everyday with his clients, as you can imagine. I finally waved to the couple just below and across from me. I've seen them naked but never said hi before. I also waved to the little girl who looks like Amelie in the window next to them.
 
It's all to say - be kind to your neighbors. I took that for granted. Growing up, I was always close to my neighbors (hi Bob and Rita!), but in Paris, it's hard to come by. Humanity is coming out. 

More on my blog https://meaganadelelopez.com/prequarantine/ ‎
 
Love,
 
Meagan
 
 P.S. 
I've created a couple of videos above for you to see first hand what it's like in the days prior to a quarantine. I'll continue editing for this week as well. I had to pick myself up after the hit of feeling isolated, but now I feel good and hope sharing helps in some small way.
 
 
 
 
 
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