On lockdown in Italy, Minnesota woman shares her story

One woman with ties to Minnesota is among millions of people under quarantine in Italy.

Rachelle Hangslaben is from Minneapolis, but she’s lived in Bolonga for the past 15 years. She and her family have spent more than a month under quarantine as the country battles to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“We’re just trying to stay positive. We do lots of fun things. I mean, we have hard days; there are some days where you don’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “I think we’re on a month and half of being in here, in our house. We’re working really well together, and we have a small apartment. In Italy, our spaces are a lot smaller and we don’t have yards so I’m out on my terrace right now.”

Hangslaben shared photos showing what life is like now for her, her boyfriend, and her 11-year-old daughter. Under lockdown, they spend nearly every waking hour inside their home. There are now more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 in Italy.

The Minnesotan is currently a language expert at the University of Balogna. She also teaches young students English through an after school music program. While her daughter continues with her studies online, Hangslaben has also turned to the internet to reach her students. 

With family throughout the Twin Cities, Hangslaben is also keeping a close eye on the developments here.

“I'm worried about the U.S. I see what's happening in New York, it's scary. It's what was happening here, and I'm worried about the people who went on vacation still and who were not taking it seriously. But, I'm really quite proud of Minnesota I’ve seen how people, right away, like my family - they are in quarantine they are all separated. They all understood, they heard me.

Hangslaben anticipates that she and her family will be under lockdown for weeks, if not at least another month. More than 11,000 people have died due to the virus, but health officials say the pace of infection appears to be slowing down.

Hangslaben says that despite the uncertainty, the health crisis has brought her family closer together. She hopes that the worst has passed.