Mar 25th, 2020, 04:18 PM

Corona Diaries: Family Is Where the Heart Is

By Adaeze Nwokolobia
French Windows
Not the best of friends
Foreign second families make everything seem better

At noon, sunlight spills through the French windows and the living room is bathed in a golden light. The walls are painted white like the pristine family sofa, so keep your hands to yourself, and no jumping on the sofa... At least when the grownups are insight.

There are ten people in one house. We're all in quarantine. We meet the social distancing regulations at the max. We are living in the southern suburbs of Paris and bad things rarely occur.

I live with a multicultural host family comprised of French and Egyptian. I now find my self drinking green tea four times a day along with cheese baguettes. It's now my French Arabian routine.

Living with my host family has changed me in many ways. For one, I have learned patience since there are only two bathrooms. I live with my host sister (native French) and brother. I don't call them my mother and father, as we are closer in age, being 6 and 20 years apart respectively. They are the same age as my actual cousins. My home stay family also has kids, 9 and 6.

There's also my host brother’s sister who cooks amazing meals and is the hero of my life at the moment.  Her twin teenage sons (one has a crush on me and this is the bane of many jokes but that’s another story) and a 13-year-old girl, who is like my little doll.

Without failing to mention, the recently arrived Colombian Au Pair who sings beautifully and teaches us how to properly pronounce "gracias" every now and then. After dinner, the live musical theater begins, starring her and the kids. The rest of us are the eager audience.

We laugh a lot over the little things and broken English jokes. They mostly speak Arabic, a little English, moot Spanish and some French. During the day, I laugh a lot because everything is fun. And at night, I laugh as well when I talk to my real family.

I am good, even in these bad times.