Monday, 1 March 2021

March Covid status

So, yet another month have already passed, let's have a look at the pandemic living in Abu Dhabi at the moment.

The first week of February it was announced, together with a bunch other capacity restrictions, that f.e malls would only be allowed once again to operate at 40% capacity, and cinemas would be closed completely until further notice. Fine by me. But when it was announced that you could only be one passenger per taxi (no, you couldn't even travel with other people of your own family) the lack of logic completely baffled me, again. It lasted only for about a week though, ha ha.

Of course, the biggest thing this month was having school starting again! For ALL students, f-i-n-a-l-l-y! Wiii-hooo, happy times!
It has been announced in the media that the current restrictions will last (at least?) until the start of Ramadan, which is in the middle of April. So we'll keep chugging along and it will be interesting to see if something changes then.

In NZ, Auckland went into a Level 3 lockdown for one week from yesterday, because they found ONE new case! Sweden has new restrictions from today as well: restaurants and bars have to close at 8.30 pm, trains and buses can only run at 50% capacity, gyms and shops have limited capacity rules, no sporting events for kids younger than 16, no gatherings with more than 8 people etc. But... it feels like... a little bit too late..?? About... almost a year after the rest of us?? Ah well.

Here's today's numbers in the UAE:
* 2526 new cases today, from 175,033 tests
* 1107 new recovered cases today. Total death toll 1238
* Since the start of the pandemic the UAE has had a total of 394,050 cases. That number globally is 114M+ with 2,5M+ global deaths.

And from the UAE Vaccination Program:
* 7956 doses of the vaccine have been administered today (small number, lagging reports from the weekend where no doses are given). In total 6M+ doses have been given, that's 61% per 100 people.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

21-27th February 2021

Sorry, not sorry - I can't quite let the diary form go, luckily it's my blog and I do what I want with it!

was such a good day! I had a really good padel coaching session in the morning, I think I played better than ever before. Then I joined the 'International Tourist Guide Day' celebrations via Zoom, and after that it was so nice to get to pick the kids up from SCHOOL! Who would've thought that seeing school buses drive around the neighbourhood would bring such joy!
Nathan was at work, Lucas took a nap and Linnea and I popped to Souq Planet to get some more lunch box supplies. Then we had an easy dinner of pasta and sausages.

Monday felt like Tuesday already, as Sunday had been such a long day - in a good way, it was almost like two days in one! I did my exercise and then got stuck into some Uni work. So much that I forgot to go pick up the kids!! Ha ha! Well, Nathan was home too, but both of us got surprised when the phone went at 14.10 with Lucas wondering where I was... Oups!
Steak and veggies for dinner.

Tuesday I sure was on the ball when it came to picking the kids up! Exercise in the morning, only did the minimum on treadmill, no real mojo - and then my LAD Study Group. We have finally got into the "juicy" chapters, where there is just endless things to discuss and highlight!
Nathan went to the track in the evening, and then we had Sloppy Joes for dinner.

Wednesday was a busy day. Nathan was working and I went to padel with the Swedish crew in the morning - there was nine of us playing, so two full courts (and a spare)! Great fun!
After picking the kids up we went straight for their PCR-tests out in Al Bahia. I also got a PCR, from the Mobile Testing Bus which came to the compound!
And in the evening, I dressed up and went to Emirates Palace for a night out at their 'Hakatini Night'. There was actually 15 of us, but as you still only can sit 4 a table, I only kind of talked with Katarina, Susanne and Mi at my table. We enjoyed dim-sum and super tasty cocktails, or mocktails for me, as I was driving.

Thursday Nathan went to work again, and I had another padel game. Good fun as usual, and even in the rain for a bit of it! I didn't stay for coffee as I had another coffee date at the LAD with my colleague Emilie. She hadn't seen the new temporary exhibition yet, so we did a browse through that, then had coffee and chatted for a bit. I did some research in trying to decide for the theme of my big essay coming up, and I think I have finally narrowed it down. I bought the catalogue as I think I'll use some of the artwork from this exhibition for my work.

In the evening the boys took on the drifting experience at the Yas Marina Circuit, as blogged about earlier in the week. I wanted to go out for dinner after, but got voted down and instead there was pizza ordered for the sofa back home (although I opted to have spicy lentil and tomato soup).

Friday morning I had longed for a sleep-in, but I woke up well before 8 am and with a head ache. Duh. Unfortunately I didn't feel all that for much of the day. I drove Lucas to and picked him up from volleyball, but that was about all I was in action all day. I think it might have been a bit of social hangover from an unusually full schedule and lots of new impressions the past few days - not that I am complaining at all!
Nathan was at work and Linnea took a chill day too. Soulful take away for dinner.

Saturday I managed to sleep in at least part 8 am, and started the day without a head ache. Nathan had work, I did my exercise, and then I had promised Linnea to take her to the mall. We ended up spending most of the afternoon, or actually ALL of the afternoon at IKEA and Yas Mall; but we came home with the things we had been looking for, groceries, and sushi and shawarma for dinner.
Then I had an end-of-the-week-bath with some Epsom salts, Swedish TV and a G&T (of course!) before calling it on this week. Bring on the next one!

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Going drifting

Almost a year ago I participated in a competition on Instagram, you know the ones where you "like and tag" a post - and I won a racing experience on the Yas Marina Circuit! Then came Covid and everything closed up. We've also had Yas Island shut down repeatedly for the UFC Fight Island, and of course, for the F1 race in December. So I hadn't really got around to redeeming my prize, until now!

This evening we had booked in for the experience, which turned out to be a Chevrolet Drift Passenger Ride. It was for two people, and both Linnea and I were happy to let the boys do it. Linnea and I stayed watching from the balcony.

Nice sunset over the circuit:

Many people getting ready for different kinds of driving/riding experiences:

Here's the car the boys were going to drift in:

Lucas all geared up and ready to get in:

And off he went! Lots of smoke, and very loud noises!

Then it was Nathan's turn:

They both liked the experience very much! I think we are lucky that Lucas is not old enough to do his driving license here, as he might have gotten a few new ideas..!

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

PCR bonanza

We sure are taking our fair share of PCR-tests at the moment! Nathan of course gets them at work, both  after he has been flying and on the mandated dates after, but also scheduled at random on his roster.

And also, for all students to be able to stay in school full time from now on, it has been decided that all kids above the age of 12 will have to do a PCR every 10/11 days. The schools have been put on a rolling schedule, and today it was RIS turn. We had to go to the drive-through again, so I took the kids straight after school. It could've taken quite a long time as the queues were building up once we got there, but we were so lucky as they opened a new lane just as we arrived..! Lucky-la-la!

Then 10 minutes after we got home, the Random Testing Bus turned up in our compound! It's part of the National Vaccination Programme; they canvas through all the different areas of Abu Dhabi escorted by police, knock on doors and test everyone in the house, for free.
Luckily as the kids had literally done a test an hour previous (ha, ha, what a coincidence!) they were let off; and with Nathan at work, I was the only one. It was super efficient, I had to register by the window of the bus on one side, then go sit down and have the PCR done on the other side. 30 seconds tops!

I was actually very happy to do one, as my latest test was when Linnea and I landed here back in August. I haven't needed to to do one since. Since I have now passed my 28 days since the 2nd dose of the vaccine, my Al Hosn App should (with a negative test) now show green with an 'E' tomorrow! Exciting!

Monday, 22 February 2021

International Tourist Guide Day 2021

Yesterday it was 'International Tourist Guide Day' and the past two years I have celebrated that day with my colleagues at beautiful events organised by the DCT. Unfortunately this year, the situation is different and we can't gather - but there was an online event to attend yesterday morning to celebrate.

It had both an interesting speech by Ali "Ask Ali" Alsaloom, a live Bait Al Oud music performance and presentations of what is going on in our sector around the emirate at the moment. While we are waiting for the borders to open and the tourists to return, we were also briefed of all the efforts that are going into creating new (Covid-safe) experiences, both virtually and in real life.

It was finished with an Abu Dhabi-themed online quiz, where the top 10 results were premiered - and I was amongst the winners! Yay!

Even though it was all online, it was nice to connect with "my people" and feel like part of a community again. This Covid-living is pretty lonesome and very boring... oh, I miss working so badly!

Sunday, 21 February 2021

So this happened

So, last night this happened: 

No, I wouldn't say it was a total spur of the moment, Lucas has wanted to shave his head before; but last time I said no because of things we had planned shortly after. This time I had no objections. If he would end up changing his mind, it will grow back quickly.
So, here's a before photo. He has had this long hair for quite a while already:

We did it in a few stages. Nathan really, really wanted him to have an undercut with the long hair still there on top, but Lucas wasn't too sure about that, so off it all came.

So much hair..!

The final result! (For now, we might have to have an actual hairdresser tidy it up once it grows back a bit I guess). Lucas was happy, even though he said it felt very weird - and cold!

The last time he had a similar hairstyle was back in late 2009, when Nathan had taken care of a hair lice problem, his way.

That was also when Lucas didn't have any front teeth, ha ha, not such a good look!

A near PCR-experience

As a part of the National Vaccination Programme, there has been random testing carried out in different areas of the emirate during the past many months. They have been canvasing through block by block, mostly in the city but also out here off-island where we are. We've understood that they usually come at night to make sure most people are at home; so I got rather surprised the other morning having just come out of the shower when Nathan told me to hurry up and get dressed and come downstairs, cause they were now at our house.

It was one of the days when Lucas was at school and Linnea at home, but the nurse who was busy setting the testing kit and everything up at our dining table didn't seem faced by the fact that we were missing one family member. She checked our EIDs and we filled out some forms and chit-chatted a bit, but it wasn't until she asked me when I was traveling that it got really confusing.

So, it turned out that she didn't come from the National Vaccination Programme at all, but from one of those private companies you can call if you don't want or can't leave your house for the PCR. Or if you are traveling and need a fast turn-around on your results. She had been booked for our address, so she was in the right place, but the name she had didn't correspond.
Funny that hadn't clicked for her checking our EIDs, but in the end we were just happy that we cleared up the mistake before she poked our noses unnecessarily..!

Saturday, 20 February 2021

A February Friday... and Saturday

I have said it before, I'm no fan of weekends. We don't really have "real" weekends, because Nathan so often works parts or all of them.
I don't know why but we always end up doing absolutely nothing on the weekends. Sure, I have done my exercise, Nathan went for a big bike ride yesterday morning and to work this morning. Lucas hung out with a friend, and Linnea has caught up with some school work. But nothing special at all, compared to other people who seem to do most of their fun things on the weekends.
I seem to have another strategy of filling up the weeks instead, to avoid boredom.

We ordered way, way too much take-away on Friday night which took us all through today as well. Yay for not having to cook at all, but a bit overloaded on Chinese now after we had left-overs both for lunch and dinner. I hate waste though, so there you go.

Friday, 19 February 2021

Pink lunch

This week Linda and I wanted to try a new place for lunch that had recently made the rounds on the foodie groups on Facebook, maybe not so much for its menu actually - but its interior. It was all the way in the city, but fun to go somewhere else than our normal haunts.
We were seated in their pink room:

You could also choose to sit in the lounge area:

Or what they called the Royal Room:

Although we found a room which we thought was an even more Royal Room, upstairs:

And art all over the staircase:

Even the garden was gorgeous:

Definitely a very Instagram-friendly place! Food was nothing special, but they had a whole page in their menu with speciality coffees to choose from. I stuck with my Flat White, but photographed Lindas very pretty 'Dior'-latte!

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Best week in a long time

Oh yeah, as you might understand with school opening again after very near to a full year of e-learning for Linnea - this week rates VERY high on my list of good weeks, probably the best actually! I have felt such deep relief, and gratitude, and joy.
Yes, I must admit, I was probably the one being the absolute happiest about the change in schooling circumstances, I think I even shed a bit of a tear dropping the kids off the other day... But the kids do belong in school, learning face-to-face, spending time with their friends - not at home alone in front of endless Zoom-sessions on their computers... This week was a good week and now we hope it'll only get better from here and the schools will stay open from now on.

I realised I now should stop the "Corona Diary", as I have counted that since the last day the kids had of real school last year, the 5th of March 2020, and now school is finally back!
Covid is nowhere over for sure, but apart from that small detail of 10 days quarantine = no tourists = no work for me (...) - things are rather close to normal now. At least, normal enough. I can live with the social distancing, the regulations and restrictions on different activities, wearing masks and having PCR-tests every now and then. That school would open again was the big thing we were all waiting for.

I will miss my diary though, I have enjoyed wrapping up each day and to be able to look back at what we have done, or not done. Also to be able to see what we had for dinner every night, ha ha! Yesterday by the way was cauliflower rice, Greek keftedes and baked feta-and-tomato smash; and tonight we are having citrus cod with potatoes, zucchini and corn on the cob. Might even celebrate the week, the weekend, the school opening and living life with a few G&Ts! Cheers!