Living through the end of the world

By Monica Baricevic/El Inde

While my friends and I were tucked away in a small boat town, with little to no cell service, the Covid-19 pandemic began to unravel in the States.

Back when the coronavirus was just a whisper in the U.S., the University of Arizona was out for spring break.

My friends and I went to Los Angeles for a few days, and continued our break in the little town of Nayarit, Mexico, located about two hours from Puerto Vallarta. Our spring break consisted of hiking to waterfalls, tanning, and eating ceviche from the fish that we caught that day.

Two days before we left, we began to receive alerts on our cell phones that the United States was calling a state of emergency urging travelers in different countries to come home.

Despite the little to no information that we were receiving, we were able to piece together some of the news. But nothing compared to what we would find out after returning back to the U.S.

On our returning flight there were a few people wearing masks, but nothing out of the ordinary. The flight attendants went about their normal flight services, and a man helped me get my luggage out of the overhead bin.

When we landed in LAX, one of the busiest airports in the world, we were sent directly to customs, where there were very few people. Every TSA worker wore a face mask, there were hand sanitizer stations everywhere and people kept their distance.

The TSA workers escorted all those who were coming in from Mexico into a separate line where we showed our passports and got out as fast as possible.

I had seen the news stories, but it all seemed fictional. When I saw it for myself, I had no choice but to let reality sink in.

As I was walking out of the U.S. Customs area, I looked up at the second story and saw the Center for Disease Control workers, covered head to toe in their hazmat outfits. I saw people wearing masks, standing in a line, waiting for their temperature to be taken.

What was once a news flash I could swipe past on my phone, immediately became a moment in history that I will never forget.

As my self-quarantine in Tucson extends into yet another week, I continue to replay the events that took place that night in LAX.

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