Natalia Andreeva

Ready to Check In, April 2020
Ink on Paper
10 x 7 in
The coronavirus pandemic brought unexpected changes to my life.

I was out on a much-anticipated painting trip to Argentina with a group of 8 painters. Certainly, we have heard about the COVID-19, we just did not expect how quickly things would change. We departed the U.S. without any problems and everything looked fine.

But as soon as we arrived in El Calafate, we learned that things have changed and there is a pandemic back at home. We were the last Americans to enter Argentina and since we came from a dangerous country we were asked to quarantine ourselves for 14 days. Lucky us, our hosteria El Pilar was located in Los Glaciares National Park, in the remote area of glaciers and stunning views. The 14 days in the park went by quickly; we could hardly believe what was going on in the world, on the other side of the park fence. Every day we heard more and more confusing news, our tickets back got canceled, all flights in Argentina have stopped, all world went under "Do Not Travel" advisory and Americans were requested to return home; future paint outs are canceled, galleries and exhibitions are closed.

Our hosts Cristina and Guillermo were amazing, not only did they accommodate us for the quarantine, but they also secured our trip back: a dangerous eight-hour drive overnight down south to the near tip of Argentina to catch the only emergency evacuation flight to
Buenos Aires and then a few days later another special evacuation flight to Miami.

The trip was full of ups and downs with cancellations and bad news being continuously resolved with new solutions and changes in our plans. This sketch shows the last effort: we are waiting in an hours-long check-in line to the only flight in the otherwise completely empty Buenos Aires International Airport. We were tired, worried about cancellations, and concerned about coronavirus.

Our group stories and artists' work can be seen here: