Wednesday, 30 September 2020

First day of school - again

Yes it really felt like another first day of school yesterday!
Lucas was finally going back to campus again, for the first time in 208 days, as thankfully ADEK had now given permission also for Grade 11 and 12s. All younger kids up to Grade 5 have been going to school all term already, but unfortunately (and for some reason I fail to understand) the MYP students in Grades 6-10 are still supposed to continue with their e-learning. So Linnea keeps studying at home, now it's just said "until further notice"... arrghhh.

So, six and a half months later, the alarm was set at 6.15 and I got up early preparing his lunch box, and drove him off to school. He was, in his own teenage way, quite excited to go back, and to see his friends again.
New uniform this year - white shirt with black piping, and black trousers, for the DP program.

Coming home he didn't have much to say other than that it had felt very safe in school with all the new precautions in place. School is well prepared and have been working very hard for the past months to accommodate all changes in regulations, to be able to welcome all students back on campus.
Wearing a mask all day long of course is not so much fun, but if that's what you have to do, that's what you have to do.
Now the next thing will be to try and get that hairdressers appointment sooner rather than later...

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Preparations

During the summer holidays we were told that all students would come back to campus for the new school year, in one way or another. We never really expected full time, there was talk about different hybrid models, like every other week, or every other day etc. We would find out closer to school starting.
Unfortunately just two weeks before the school start we got completely different news than what we were hoping for - only primary students would go back to school and all secondary students in Abu Dhabi would continue with e-learning for the first four weeks of term. (Only here, in Dubai all students went back to school from the start. Same country, different regulations.) Super disappointing. 

Anyway, this week the four weeks were finally up and we eagerly awaited more information. Again, not really happy news - "Secondary students should continue with e-learning", and this time "until further notice"... Argh!
But as you know things change quickly around here, and already the day after it was announced that at least the DP students, the kids in Grade 11 and 12, would be welcome back to campus. So for us this means at least one of our two will be able to start school again next week and we had to get him ready. That meant getting a PCR-test, obligatory for all students returning to school:

And going to get the new DP uniform. They wear special shirts once they reach this high grades, so we needed to purchase those; but also, the old ones wouldn't have fit anymore anyway after nearly seven months out of school...

Today we are hitting the mall to get black trousers and fresh black shoes, and then he should be ready to go! Hopefully nothing will change again between now and Tuesday, which is supposed to be his first day back at campus. He is kind of excited to finally see his friends again, and get back to a more normal routine.

Friday, 25 September 2020

The first Corona Birthday

Luckily in a way, none of us are celebrating any big birthdays this year or next, even though EVERY birthday is special of course.
Yesterday it was Nathan's birthday, and he still got woken up with presents, coffee and balloons, as per usual!




We went out for a nice birthday meal as well, at the Meat & Co restaurant.

We all enjoyed it a lot. The kids said it was so nice because it felt kind of normal. You don't have to wear your mask when you sit at the table, and even though the tables are fewer and spaced out, all tables were occupied and the restaurant was full of atmosphere thanks to the buzz of people.


Nathan had no chance forgetting which day it was as ALL the desserts came in with birthday messages!

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Morning tea time

This morning I had asked a new friend of mine if she was keen on trying out a new offer of 'Mummy Breakfast' (yeah, don't get me started about the ridiculous name...) at one of the country clubs close by.
We started our feast at 10 am and 3,5 hours later we were still there..!

 
It was lovely, almost normal, as you don't need the face masks while you are at your table. We had been placed with a great view of the golf course, the chairs were plush and comfy and the morning tea set they brought us was delicious.
One of the restrictions we are still living by here in the UAE is that we are more than welcome to sit together (four at a table max) and enjoy a meal, a coffee or a drink in restaurants, coffee shops and pubs; but we are not allowed to have the same four people around our own dinner table in our homes, as "no gatherings allowed". Ah well, you do what you gotta do - so Morning Tea at the posh hotel it is!

Lots of coffee and lots of talking later I left full of yummy food and positive energy for the rest of the week. In these times, it becomes more and more clear what is important - good friends, easy conversations and face-to-face time together with people.

Monday, 21 September 2020

Waterproof

On the weekend Linnea and I really wanted to get out of the house for a bit, to get some air and some sun; so we decided to go to Yas Waterworld for the afternoon as we still have our Annual Passes.


Yas Waterworld and the other theme parks on Yas Island opened up again in the summer, of course with a lot of restrictions in place to keep all visitors and staff safe. Some more understandable than others, like the signage all over the park to remind you to keep distance, contactless payments encouraged, all sun beds being placed at a distance from each other and with green tics when they have been sanitized etc.

You get a waterproof face mask to wear while at the park, although PA announcements keep reminding you to take it off when you are on a ride, or in the water. Not sure it then makes a difference really. It also felt even more unsanitary seeing people constantly fiddling with their masks, non-stop putting them on and taking them off, keeping them by their neck, on their arm or even in their hair while they were going on rides or going swimming... 

Ah well, you do what you gotta do of course and we wore our masks when needed. Yes, it was still a bit hot, but winter is coming, the weather is getting more and more bearable each day, yay!

Friday, 18 September 2020

The great divide

This week I found one of the posts in my Instagram-feed particularly well written and spot on. It really hit right home with me. It was written by one of the fellow expat-spouses here in Abu Dhabi, about one aspect of this whole situation that is really hard to deal with - the different views, and more importantly - experiences, of this whole COVID-situation, and how it comes to affect friendships.

You would think that a crisis like this would bring us all together, but it seems to go the opposite way. 

There is massive differences in how all different countries deal with this virus, and this has brought on a lot of judgmental comments, heated discussions and debates. Both officially between countries who fight over statistics, numbers and the wear or not of face-masks for example; but also personally with my friends.
The fact is that this crisis is far from over, and nobody can tell (yet - or maybe ever!) who did the right thing, which country was more reactive, who had the best safety measures etc.
One thing is for sure, there are no "winners" in this situation.
We all just need to get through it, but we are all experiencing it differently. Sometimes depending on where we live and the restrictions of that place, same storm - different boats and all that; sometimes it's basically down to our own attitude.

I feel like I have had a personality change during this past half a year+, or maybe it is just my real personality coming through now once everything else is peeled away, and nothing much is left but the very, very basic - but I'm a pessimistic bugger. I used to think I was a realist, but if there is one thing I've realized is that I'm a glass-half-empty kind of person. Yes, my attitude seriously lacks of positivity. I try, I do, to look at the bright side, enjoy the small things, focus on what I can do etc - but I mostly suck at all that and revert back to just thinking it all just stinks.
Maybe this is why I have always surrounded myself with the eternally optimistic types, I have realized many of my friends fit that category actually. I guess opposites attract? But at the moment I am not able to see them, and I feel like we are drifting apart - because of the distance and because our different experiences, the great divide. I have started to wonder if they'll still be there when this is all over. I sure hope so, but I'm worried I'll get out of this crisis lonelier than ever.

Monday, 14 September 2020

Corona Diary September status

I thought, as a time document, I should note down maybe once or twice a month about the Covid-status at the moment. I should probably have done it at the beginning of the month, but hey I was busy quarantining, so I'm starting now instead!

So, at the moment here in UAE (or sometimes specifically Abu Dhabi, as there are actually different rules for Abu Dhabi and the other six emirates) things are like this:

* 777 new cases, from 61,084 tests. The UAE has conducted 8M+ tests since the beginning of the pandemic. Today's total number of infected is 80,266, with 399 deaths. Global cases stand at 28,9M. These statistics gets reported in the media daily.
* It is mandatory to wear a face mask when out and about.
* Temperature is scanned upon entering anywhere, shops, restaurants, medical facilities, offices, hotels etc.
* You can not be more than 3 people in a car, unless you are family.
* You can visit the theme parks, the mall, restaurants and certain museums - all with restrictions in place of course.
* If at a restaurant, café or a pub you can be a maximum of four people at each table.
* Social gatherings are still limited to 1st and 2nd degree family only.
* To enter the emirate of Abu Dhabi you need to provide a negative COVID-test, not older than 48 hours. And six days later take another test.
* If you are arriving into AD from overseas you have to quarantine for 14 days.
* Only primary school students go to school (this is AD specific), secondary students have started the term with four weeks of e-learning from home.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Freedom!

This week has not only been the second week of school/e-learning, it's also been the week where Linnea and I were finally allowed to get out into society again! Saturday was our last day of the 14 day never-ending-quarantine and Sunday I was in the car early morning ready to go... - anywhere!


We've been rather busy. I've seen Linda, Linnea needed to get to the dentist to mould a new retainer as she broke one part of hers in Sweden; I went to the hairdresser and had a few other necessary appointments, and Linnea wanted to come along to do groceries on Sunday afternoon.

My University lectures started, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi is currently running a recurrent training course for us External Guides, so I have been following that as well as some independent seminars about art history and presenting in a museum. Tomorrow it's time for another visit to LAD with one of my colleagues to see if anything has changed or rotated over the summer.

Friday, 4 September 2020

Two more days

Two more days left of the home quarantine. Argh... it sure has dragged out a bit these last few days... I was rather positive up until day nine, but then I became crazy bored all of a sudden and the last few days have been suuuper long.
Probably because school started this week so my days became that much longer (getting up at 7 am); and also because when school started everyone else all of a sudden had things to do and a purpose with their days, apart from me.

I have been getting through these two weeks by doing pretty much the same things I was doing before the summer: exercising, reading, scrolling internet and watching TV; all in the same monotonously routinely way as before.
I have also been blogging about the summer and finished off and ordered my blog book for 2019/2020. That's a project I always enjoy.
I have organised and booked in a string of different appointments next week, for all of us, dentist, hairdresser, window cleaners etc; and I have been shopping for things online. Not only groceries, but new scales as the old ones broke the first day I was back, a new rug for the hallway and other bits and pieces from IKEA. I've ordered the special coffee beans we use, some new reusable face masks, tons of books etc. Grateful for efficient home deliveries.

 

I've been ordering books - because my new Uni-course started this week. I'm continuing my Art History studies with the next level - Konstvetenskap B - at Uppsala University. This time the course is done on part-time, so there is only one lecture a week and it'll not end until the summer. But with this course done, I will have a 'Filosofie Kandidatexamen (=Bachelor of Arts) in French, with Art History. Exciting!

I got a bit sad today when a friend asked what the first thing will be I'll do when I'm allowed out; because I don't know. It's too hot to be outside, and go to the mall - no thank you. Maybe I'll go for a coffee and do some people watching at some café, just so I can get dressed in something else than comfy clothing, and maybe even put a face on..! Maybe I'll just go for a long, long drive around town.

It's also made me sad since coming home, to realise that things here are just the same as they were before the summer. Having gone away and had a break made me feel like there would be improvements by now, but no. These past six months - it's just all blurring together, a long string of same-same days:
The kids are still e-learning at home, there is still (nor will there be anytime soon) no work for me; the Abu Dhabi borders are still closed (and even more difficult to cross), masks are still worn everywhere and we still have limitations and restrictions on having people over. The endlessness of this situation is so depressing. Not being able to plan anything, or dare to even dream about things changing when the future is feeling like a black hole is dispiriting. I've realised I suck at this one-day-at-a-time thinking.
The only silver lining is that the weather at least will get better in the next few months.