TULSA, Okla – A Tulsa woman who was quarantined in Italy for the past month is now worried about going home.
Jan Peppler arrived in Italy for a nearly six-week trip on March 9, the day after the Italian Prime Minister locked the country. Nearly a month later, Peppler said nothing had changed.
“I see more people on the streets now,” Peppler said. “At the same time, there are more police patrolling and making sure that people leave due to legitimate reasons.”
Peppler’s photos show empty streets of the small town of Balestrate in Sicily. Everyone has been ordered to stay at home except for important tasks or risk being stopped by the police.
“His comment to me was, ‘Where do you live?'” Peppler said. “‘Do you live in Balestrate or do you live in the United States?’ And I said I live in the United States, and he said, “But why are you here now?” And, you know, that is a very good question. “
He decided it would be safer to live in Italy.
“There is a universal understanding that whatever one does does affect an entire country,” he said.
Italy’s lockdown is now set to end April 13. His flight was again booked for April 15. However, when travel is not recommended, it will be a public transportation and flight trip through four different countries.
“Do I risk going through five airports and all those exposures to return to Tulsa, which hasn’t even begun to feel the heaviest burden of this virus yet?”
Peppler is in Italy working on books about home and how you find them anywhere. Despite all that, his home in Tulsa is where he wants to be.
“As concerned as I am about how the United States handles this, I want to be there with my family, with my friends, even if we are all alone,” he said.
As he prepares to return to his potential home, Peppler says he learned a few things from Italy.
“Lessons from Italy: cooperation, compassion and solidarity,” he said. “And I think all of us in the United States really need to gather around those three things.”
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