Foreigners Self-Isolating in Slovenia: Do You Feel Safer? Erik Cox, from Washington DC

By , 05 Apr 2020, 10:05 AM Lifestyle
Rachel and Erik, in isolation Rachel and Erik, in isolation All photos by Erik Cox

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Do foreigners in Slovenia feel more or less safe sitting out covid-19 here than in their home country, and what are their experiences? All the stories in this series are here. If you' like to contribute, see here or at the end of the story

Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

 I am traveling with my wife, Rachel. We are healthy. We both retired last year and decided to spend some time traveling around the world. We have been traveling since mid-January, and we arrived in Slovenia on March 1. We have an apartment in Ljubljana with a full kitchen, a washing machine, and a balcony. We expect to stay here until at least late May, but if we can extend our tourist time here, we will because it is safer here than in our hometown of Washington, DC. We are staying sane because we have developed routines. We read news or watch videos on our computers in the morning, we try to go for a walk in the park mid-day, then we have a late lunch (on our balcony if the weather is nice enough), and we read books on our Kindles in the evening. I also take photographs and sometimes amuse my wife by Photoshopping them. For example, I changed the name of the restaurant, "Landerik" to "RachelandErik" in Photoshop. In general, though, it's like we are living the movie "Groundhog Day!"

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 When did you realise that coronavirus was going to be a big issue?

 We realized the coronavirus was going to impact the whole world in a serious way when the northern half of Italy was locked down in early March. Then, when concerts and events here in Ljubljana were starting to get cancelled, we realized that strict coronavirus restrictions were going to soon be imposed here in Ljubljana, which would change our holiday here to be more of a "staycation."

  What is your impression of the way Slovenia is dealing with the crisis?

 We are impressed by how the Slovenian government is handling the coronavirus crisis. The general consensus of experts around the world seems to be that if the restrictions seem like too much, they probably are appropriate, and it appears to me that Slovenia is following that example. I wish restaurants were open, or that I could get a haircut, but I understand that these businesses must be closed for the greater good. We feel completely safe here in Ljubljana. With rare exception, people give each other enough space when walking past each other, and the queues inside and outside the shops are orderly.

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 Now compare that to your home country and how they are handling it.

 We live in downtown Washington, DC, less than 2 kilometres from the White House. Washington, DC and the two states that surround it -- Virginia and Maryland -- all have coronavirus, and they all recently locked down. There are several differences between how Slovenia is handling the crisis versus the USA. Different states in the USA have had different responses to the coronavirus crisis; some were quick to lock down, and some still have not. In the absence of clear advice from the federal government in the USA, the states have had to try to figure things out for themselves and some of the results have been disastrous. In contrast, Slovenia promptly decreed restrictions, and all municipalities and towns were bound to follow them. Simply by comparing the curves of the rates of infection in Slovenia versus the USA, Slovenia's method seems to have been more effective.

  What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

 We do not receive communications from Slovenian authorities. We check Slovenian news websites to stay up-to-date on Slovenian news related to the coronavirus. We receive regular updates from the US Embassy here in Slovenia, and the ambassador recently hosted a Zoom video call for all Americans in Slovenia, where she told us what the Embassy is doing to help, and she answered our questions. We also receive daily emails from the U.S. Embassy here with news and infection numbers in Slovenia.

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 What's the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation?

 More pajamas! Yes, seriously. We are in our apartment many hours per day, and I stay in my pajamas for much of the day. I only brought two pairs of pajamas. I wish I had others because it is getting old wearing the same ones most of each day, and I assume my wife is tired of seeing me in the same ones every day, too!

 One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis.

 My wife and I have learned the importance of health over everything else. You can have all the material goods in the world, but if you get sick or worse, they won't do you any good. And we have learned about the deep goodness of most people. Slovenians have been so kind to us during this time of crisis. It warms our hearts.

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Erik and Rachel Cox are retired lawyers from Washington, DC. In their spare time, Erik enjoys running and photography, and Rachel enjoys studying homeopathy and healthy living. Follow Erik on Instagram at @erikcoxphotography and follow Rachel on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homeopathyexplorer

If you’d like to contribute to this series please answer the following questions and include a paragraph about yourself and where you’re from, and a link to your website if you would like. Please also send 3-4 photos minimum (including at least one of yourself) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Subject: Corona Foreigner.

Firstly, how are you? Are you alone/with someone? Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

What do you think about the economic measures the government is taking, are they helping your business? (PLEASE IGNORE IF THIS DOES NOT AFFECT YOU)

When did you realise that coronavirus was going to be a big issue?

What is your impression of the way Slovenia is dealing with the crisis? How safe do you feel?

Now compare that to your home country and how they are handling it. What is Slovenia doing better/worse?

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

What's the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation.

One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis.

 

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