Quarantine diaries: A teenager asks, ‘Am I dreaming?’

CBC Montreal wants to know how you are living these days. What are you doing differently? Have you learned, realized or observed anything?

Here is the next instalment of our series, Quarantine diaries: Life in the time of COVID-19, written by Francoise Hall, a 15-year-old student at the Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie and swimmer at Club Aquatique Montréal.

Waking up from a bad dream feels great. What was terrorizing you disappears and you’re saved by the feeling of relief. You realize everything is okay. Waking up from a good dream feels terrible. Your wonderland disappears and disappointment invades your happiness.

On March 15, I left my incredible student exchange in Sevilla, Spain, three weeks early because of the spread of coronavirus. Selfishly, I couldn’t shake the sadness of leaving my second family or the feeling something had been stolen from me. There were so many more things I wanted to see and learn.

We left at 1:30 am and traveled through three countries over 22 hours to get back to Montreal. When I woke up the next day, the dream was over and I was pulled, harshly, into this challenging reality.

Fortunately, my school, the Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie, was quick to organize our online classes through platforms like Showbie, Studyo, Google Classroom and Zoom. My swim team, CAMO Natation, also created different training programs for us, which helps keep my schedule somewhat normal.

Norah Njonjo, Françoise Hall, Ophelia Lu, Gabrielle Nuyt-Racine, Simone Mayrand-Thibert, all Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie exchange students, upon their arrival at Trudeau airport in March. (Submitted by Charles Hall)

But what is normal?

Oscar Wilde once said: “They’ve promised that dreams can come true. But forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams too.”

– Francoise Hall

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