I am counting days until my return to Slovakia: Natalia

Natalia Stundova from Slovakia came to India to study Construction Study at CEPT University Faculty of Architecture

I was super excited to come to India

I arrived in India on January 3 and was supposed to fly back on May 17 after a three-month course at CEPT University, but by the end of March the situation around the world worsened and I thought staying behind was a better bet. Then came the shutdown, and it got scarier because Covid-19 spread more across the globe, too. When I first came to India in January, I was super excited as I always wanted to travel to this beautiful country, but the pandemic made everything worse and made things difficult for everyone. I was physically or mentally prepared for something like this. Now my resources are also running out and I am concerned.

I speak to my family several times a day

My family and I have kept in touch through video calls and they are my sister's 18 years. th bir th day today and we will celebrate it over a video call in a couple of hours from now. Initally, th ey were very worried about me but now th ey are assured th at I am safe and th at I have my flatmates to give me company. I stay wi th a girl and a boy who have helped me th rough th that th ough times. We watch television toge th er and play games too.

Feel I feel going back home now is better th an staying here since we don’t know how long th e pandemic is going to take to settle ’

Though initially even my parents asked me to stay back because we all th ought staying in one place was safer th an traveling via various countries, (since th e lockdown restricted th e number of flights between Slovakia and India) now I want to get back home as soon as possible. We have been in constant touch wi th th e government and o th er concerned people who can get me on a flight. In fact, I was supposed to fly back on April 9 on a special flight but could not get a seat on it. Now, I have to wait for th e next flight which will be in a couple of days or weeks, since th ere aren’t too many people from Slovakia or neighboring countries stranded in India. I feel going back home now is better th an waiting because we don’t know how long th ings will take to settle down. Now, I am just counting days till my return.

Even getting home will be difficult

It's not going to be an easy journey going back home and if th e lockdown gets extended, th in Europe might just send ano th er one or two more evacuation flights. Ano th er problem is most of th ese flights take off from Mumbai, so reaching Mumbai wi th no public transport means I’ll have to book a cab and seek special permissions to travel. Once I reach Slovakia I will have to be quarantined for 14 days before I can see my family and I hope to test negative too which is ano th er anxious th ought on my mind since I will be traveling wi th so many people and probably via or th er countries.

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