The Quarantine Chronicle

Jeanne Torp
March 23, 2020

It’s been a week since I’ve made my unexpected journey back to the United States. Besides being an unexpectedly early departure date, my feelings and my welcome home were much, much different than I ever expected them to be when I imagined them at the beginning of the semester.

For starters, my welcome home was much different than expected because the welcome didn’t really exist. Arriving home, I couldn’t see my family - at least not really, anyway. In light of the escalation of COVID-19 in Paris and in France at the time of my coming home, I was forced to go into a 14-day quarantine immediately upon reentering the United States. I perfectly understand the necessity of this measure and completely agree with my having to hold myself to the quarantine rules, but this meant that I was not able to truly see my parents when I arrived in my hometown from Paris. Not wanting to bring the virus to them if I was an unknowing carrier, I drove myself home from the airport and have been isolated in a separate part of our house ever since. My interaction with my family (who make up the only human contact I have had since returning) consists of conversations and “shared” meals through windows. That’s it. I haven’t been back in my room since coming home, and all my luggage from my unfortunately short semester abroad is untouched, stuffed away in the closet of my quarantine quarters. 

Now halfway through my 14-day isolation, I have started to establish a kind of normalcy and routine, but it definitely was not easy at the start. My emotions upon coming home were much more difficult to manage than I thought they were going to be, and understandably so. Returning to my house, instead of feeling excitement and relief, all I felt was disappointment and negativity. Instead of being happy to return and see all those people and things I had missed throughout my semester abroad, I was instead bitter because I couldn’t enter my home, because I couldn’t hug my parents and tell them stories of my adventures, and above all, because I knew I could still be in Paris if things had gone to plan. This was possibly the most difficult thing to come to terms with, as my “normal” just the day before consisted of walking miles each day to explore one of the most beautiful, cultural cities of the world, only to have that all taken out from under my feet and replaced with solitary confinement in my small town just 24 hours later.

My last week in Paris came and went in a whirlwind, bringing all sorts of unexpected and trying events with it. While I am of course upset to have left my home away from home for the semester in a rush and to return to my hometown in such strange, unfortunate circumstances, I know this was the right choice and that it was not an easy choice to make. I’m glad to be back with my family as the US is confronted with the challenges COVID-19 continues to pose across the world, but my thoughts are always with those I left behind in Paris.

Jeanne Torp

<p>My name is Jeanne Torp. I'm a junior at the University of Mississippi majoring in International Studies and French and minoring in Environmental Studies! I will be studying abroad in Paris, France for the Spring 2020 semester, working to better my language skills and immerse myself in the French culture. After graduating, I hope to enter into the urban design or architecture fields, which I'm especially excited to be pursuing as new green and sustainable methods are being introduced to the field every day. Some of my hobbies include traveling, writing, photo- and video-taking, music, and reading.</p>

2020 Spring
Home University:
University of Mississippi
Biloxi, MS
French Language
International Studies
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