The border

That is how a virus changed my family's daily routine...

"A wheel that turns gathers no rust" [Greek proverb]

You should know that I live in Como in Italy, but from my home country I see Switzerland, especially Chiasso. This should show you how close I am to the border.

On the eve of the fateful Sunday when the lock-down in Italy was announced, I had planned to spend a day with my family in the mountains in the snow, in San Bernardino in Graub√ľnden.

As soon as we got up, my wife started to prepare everything for the trip, and when I turned on my cell phone to check the weather forecast, I also had a look at the latest news. I immediately noticed something " peculiar": During the night, the government decided to impose a total lockdown, prohibiting travel and closing down all production and trade activities. This triggered panic situations, not metaphorically but in reality. Just one example: Milan's central station was literally stormed by citizens who, fearing being stuck in Lombardy, ran to the station to catch the next available train to their respective home cities. Amateur films documented these scenes, which were then shown in the national news broadcasts.

As I look at these images with astonishment, I talk to my wife to decide what to do with the trip to the mountains, and spontaneously the question arises: "Will the border be open?" For me and my family, the border has always been a very open border: I used to go to work every day and my children went to sports regularly (Tommaso does athletics in the SFG Chiasso and Bianca does figure skating in the Skating Club Chiasso). We often went to Switzerland to go shopping, meet friends or watch sports competitions.

Then the coronavirus came and the border was "sealed": the nearest customs office to my house was closed and the main customs office introduced very selective controls. I only had to go there once as I work from home, to send an important letter and I was confronted with a completely different situation than usual: few cars and people, many guards on both sides, the tension was perceptible. It reminded me of these borders between war zones or between enemy countries.

But now let us look at the positive feelings and hopes.

Thanks to SISA I can work from home, regularly and 100%. This is important because it has enabled me to remain active, to keep my mind busy and, above all, to feel part of a community of people who support each other beyond the normal work activities. This has also enabled me to stay in touch with Swiss reality, even when the physical border is closed.

Another positive aspect was to see how my teenage children dealt with this unexpected shared life and I must say that they did so with maturity and mutual understanding. In addition, the online lessons enabled them to stay in touch with teachers and schoolmates.

The first person to get up and go to work is me, then the children who "visit" classes online. The house turns into a small office with computers and desks in every room.

But without doubt, the one who benefited most was our cat Daisy, who spent most of her time alone before the lock-down, while now she does not miss any opportunity to join us in our daily activities.

I am happy to see that the restrictions at the border are now gradually easing and that all the children, including my children, can once again do sports together.

See you soon.

Author: Nicola Introzzi
Departement: Software development
Date: 20.05.2020

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