‘I’m here. I’m embracing it’: Lincoln County woman talks about living in Italy during pandemic

Updated: May. 21, 2020 at 8:56 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It’s been more than two months since WBTV first spoke with Lincoln County resident Rebecca Ross.

Ross, a recent graduate of Western Carolina University, has spent the last few months living in Italy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

She is currently studying at the Milano Fashion Institute in Milan, but is now taking her courses online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ross said that up until a few days ago, most of her time was spent inside of her apartment because of the restrictions that had been imposed.

“Basically we were in lockdown with a lot of just indoor time, reading by myself, watching Netflix,” Ross said.

Ross said that while she has maintained her cheerful demeanor and bubbly personality, she has had some difficult days living abroad during the pandemic.

“There are some days where I’m just like, ‘Wow, what am I still doing here?’ Why did I stay?’,” said Ross. “I just get in a really down mood and I just have to keep reminding myself that I’m here for the endgame of getting my Master’s degree and having a different experience here in Italy.”

Ross has documented her time in Italy with pictures and videos. She’s recorded videos showing long lines of people waiting to get into grocery stores and she’s snapped pictures of people wearing masks in the streets of Milan.

She said she spent her spring break sitting near her apartment window in hopes of getting a tan.

“I sat in my window in my kitchen with my legs hanging out the window so I can get some color on my skin,” Ross said.

The graduate student said that restrictions have been eased up in the last week and she is now able to spend more time outside of her apartment.

“We’re allowed to go for runs. We’re allowed to go to the park. We’re allowed to kind of hang out outdoors at least as long as we’re at a safe and social distance,” Ross said.

She said the citizens living around her in Milan seem committed to preventing the spread of the virus.

“People are trying to take more precautions so we don’t have that second flare-up because we were in a full lockdown state over here,” Ross said. “We weren’t allowed to leave our homes for two-and-a-half months, almost three months now. We don’t want to have to go through that again.”

Ross said that while some days have been tough, she does not regret her decision to stay in Italy during the pandemic.

“I’m here. I’m embracing it. It was probably part of my path in life that I need to go through,” Ross said.

Ross said she plans on staying in Milan until she has earned her Master’s degree.

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