I was in San Francisco for work last week, and I didn't think twice when I arrived at immigration in Monterrey on Saturday afternoon and the guy stamping my passport had a mask on. I've been traveling to Asia for years and am used to seeing many masked people. Since the outbreak of SARS in 2003, people have been extra cautious and are still (6 years later) using masks to try to protect themselves and others. I met my cute hubby in the airport and he asked me if I'd heard what was happening with Swine Flu. Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, I hadn't. We watched the udpates on TV and saw things escalating somewhat, but it all still seemed to be under control.
On Sunday at church the usual suspects were there, but people were cautious about greeting others with a kiss if they had any type of cold. On Sunday night we went to Alex's parents house for an overdue birthday party for his dad and many others who had birthdays in the month of April. Alex was checking the news on his phone (he's an addict), and saw that the Mexico Secretary of Education had closed all schools and canceled all classes for the week. (My thought...Mexicans finally get their snow day!) They've discouraged any large gatherings of people, so all church activities, institute and Sunday services have been canceled as well. I thought they were overreacting, but then again, Mexicans are the ones who have been worst affected by the mutated little monster. I checked CNN when I got home and saw that the U.S. government had not sealed any borders and had not issued any travel warnings, so I thought I'd be fine for my trip to Miami the next day.
On Monday morning (yesterday) I left Monterrey and boarded a plane bound for Dallas, TX and then later Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I was sitting in the Dallas airport waiting for my delayed flight to Ft. Lauderdale, when an email from my boss popped up on the screen of my blackberry. It was a general email addressed to a large number of us, regarding the company's reaction to the swine flu. The email bascially said that any Mexican employees should not plan travel to the U.S. within the foreseeable future and U.S. employees should not travel to Mexico. He also said that if any U.S. employees were in Mexico, they should return to the U.S. immediately and then plan to work from home for 10 days. I replied "In Dallas, left Mexico this morning, waiting for flight to Ft. Lauderdale. What should I do?" He called immediately. He hadn't remembered where I was going to be this week. He told me to go home (back to Monterrey) and to stay there for at least 10 days. The company doesn't want to risk infecting U.S. employees by any who might have been infected. See! I'm officially Mexican!
Seriously, it has been very interesting to be in the middle of this. I work from home and interact with so few people that it's very unlikely I'd be exposed. So...here I sit in my little home that I've spent 2 of the last 3 weeks away from and am so happy to be here. Happy to have the internet that allows me to work from anywhere. Happy I have my food storage, which would tide me over through any short term disaster. At the rate they're shutting things down here, the grocery stores may be next. Not to be dooms day, but it occurred to me as we were shopping last night, that the disasters of the future may be biological. It may happen that people may not want to leave their homes for fear of infection of some horrendous disease. At that point in time, we would be grateful for having listened to the words of a prophet.
In other news, Alex and I will be moving to South Florida. Levi's has an office there, and I've been asked to relocate. It seems like it'll be a good market for Alex's furniture, lots of modern/contemporary stuff. We'll probably make the move sometime mid-July. I'll let you know when I know more. We expect many if not all of you to visit us as soon as we're settled in. As the famous Will Smith has said, "Bienvenidos a Miami!".