Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Corona Diary, Day 19-20. Second week of home school

Day 19, Sunday 28 March
Back to school. I like the school days best, as it means I get up in the morning (someone has to wake the kids up, they've never learned to wake by normal alarms...) and get on with my day a little bit earlier. I like routine.

The sanitation program which has been in place this weekend is now extended for another full week. This means we can not under any circumstances leave our houses between 8pm and 6 am every night. During daytime we can move around, but we have to follow all new restrictions now in place, failing to comply will cause hefty fines. For example these: we can only go out for necessities, food supplies or medical reasons and we can have no more than 3 people in a car.

Today was also grocery day. I try to go only once a week, and even though you are allowed to go get food supplies, it feels like I am doing something I'm not supposed to leaving the house. Today I took Linnea after school was done. Felt nice to actually dress up (I always do get dressed, but most days it's just comfortable clothes, which also needs no ironing, ha ha), put on lenses (I just wear my glasses now that we are just at home all the time) and even a bit of a "face"!
To get into the supermarket, you have to pass through and have your temperature checked. New today was that we weren't allowed in without plastic gloves and face masks. Luckily they were handing some out so we could get in.

The supermarkets here are well stocked, of both food, toilet paper and hand sanitizers. A lot of other new things are in place, like markers on the floor to help you maintain safe distance for the queuing at checkout, and protective plastic screens in front of the cashiers:

It felt pretty apocalyptic watching everyone walk about with masks and gloves on. Even though I had looked forward to my only outing of the week, I actually couldn't get out of there fast enough...

Day 20, Monday 30 March
Today started out a pretty good day. Nathan, Linnea and I did some workout together after school which was really nice. So much sitting around these days, I NEED to workout and move about every day.
Linnea also had got a hair colour kit at the supermarket, so we dyed her hair blue, since her home school have slightly more relaxed uniform rules..!
Then in the evening the dreaded news came, expected maybe but we had still been hopeful - e-learning will continue for the rest of this academic year... What a bummer. School is going alright as such, but kids are missing their social life. Booo.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Corona Diary, Day 17-18

Day 17, Friday 27 March
All we have at the moment is time, and lots of it. Lots of time to think if nothing else and I sure am not the only one have a brain in overdrive, thinking about all sorts of things. For example how this co-living will affect our relationship, our family. Hopefully in a good way, but who knows!!
We are lucky to live in a house big enough so that we are all able to get our own space if needed, but I have also realised (at least this far into this isolation, ask me again in a month or two...) that we actually do enjoy each others company. I imagine some might experience the opposite. I read an article about the expectancy to see a rise in divorce rates when this is all over. I guess many people will actually never have spent this much time together 24/7 in one go.

Today it is the weekend here. No school. Not much change in the daily program though apart from having a wee sleep-in before getting on the treadmill. Linnea joined me for my strength session which today was a CrossFit video off YouTube.
I have cleaned up our two boxes with receipts and manuals, and thrown out everything that was out of date, no longer under warranty or of things that we don't have anymore. Cupboard by cupboard and room by room I am cleaning and sorting through. This house is going to be the tidiest it's ever been once this is over!
I made some banana muffins because the bananas were going bad, and we ordered Chinese for dinner. We have decided to support the local restaurants during the weekends to make sure they are still there when this is all over.

Day 18, Saturday 28 March
Every day is the same, yet every day is different. It's all in my head of course, but some days feelings are running higher than others. I really try not to read too many news, as the frustration and hopelessness eats away at me and there is nothing I can do about this situation anyway.
To be completely honest, staying home a lot and being by myself is kind of my normal, most of the time. At least when it's not tourist season and I'm not working. I don't have a huge amount of friends, I usually spend most of my time with my family only. BUT, and this is a big but - there is a HUGE difference between choosing to stay at home to chill and see noone, and being told I have to stay at home and see nobody... Especially as it is until who knows when! I'm surprised though at how down it brings me some days.

One day at a time. It's all we can do. I try to accept that some days it's just tougher than others. I tend to spend longer and longer on my treadmill every day, just to pass time. At least I will be super fit at the end of this!
Well. this weekend is over, back to school tomorrow for the kiddos. I have canceled our cleaners so I guess I know how I'll keep busy the next few days. Yay...

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Corona Diary, Day 16

Initially I thought I wouldn't blog much during this period of home schooling and home isolation. Honestly, not much is going on in our little bubble (=read, our house), other than exercise, school, cooking meals, reading and watching TV.

But then I thought that sometime in the future when all of this hopefully is just a distant memory, like a bad dream, it could be interesting to read about how it all evolved and what happened. Even if it feels like time is standing still here in our house and every day is Groundhog Day, a lot happens around us in the world and every week feels like a year. I actually regret I didn't start a bit of a diary already two weeks ago. Ah well, we still have some time to go with this I guess..!

Today it has been 16 days of staying at home without seeing NOBODY else than our family. Linnea has actually not left the house at all, Nathan was at work until Tuesday and Lucas have come to help with the groceries, but mostly - we have been just hunkering down.

This week we had our first week with home school. The first two days went by really fast, and I was impressed at how the kids tackled this new situation, and were rather positive about it. But then, it quickly became the longest week ever...
The school work is getting done, and it seems like they are more efficient when there are no distractions. I can see how they miss their friends and the school environment though, and it's hard motivating them. They too suffer from the same-same-every-day-blues we all experience. Understandably. Next week we will try with small tweaks to our daily routine to shake things up a little bit. We have realized we have to get these kids exercising in some way for example, let's see how that goes...

In the UAE, everything is now closed. Shopping malls also closed this week leaving only grocery shops and pharmacies allowed to keep open. Even our borders are now closed, no passenger air traffic for (at least) two weeks. The public has been urged to stay inside unless for absolute necessities this weekend, as there is a national disinfection and sanitation programme being performed. So we continue to hunker down, we got this.

As long as the treadmill, the coffee machine or the WiFi doesn't give up - I should have a fair chance of hopefully getting out of this with some kind of sanity left.

Monday, 23 March 2020

What a shit year this week has been

Well, after two weeks of Spring Break, or as I would say - of "same-same" as every day felt like Groundhog Day; we have now started with new routines since school is back again. Of course it's home school via e-learning, with the help of an array of apps and programs, but it still starts early in the mornings.

At 7.45 every morning the kids check in, and then they have nine scheduled lessons throughout the day, including a morning break, until lunch at 1pm. In the afternoon there is student support time when the teachers are available for online meetings, teams chats etc.

I would say so far, so good, but we are still only on day two! Let's see if it is just as fun come May and June, as I really don't see the kids going back physically to school any more this school year unfortunately.

In other news, the UAE has just announced today that things will get taken up yet another notch here in the fight to flatten the curve and ultimately beat the COVID-19. We are now urged to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.
That will not be too hard, as there is really nowhere to go anymore. Already we have the closure of all tourist attractions, theme parks, cultural sites, beaches, parks, cinemas, indoor play lands, pubs and night clubs; further to that restaurants will now also close, there will be no printed newspapers, the shopping malls will close (apart from grocery shops and pharmacies) AND there will be NO flights in, out or transiting for at least the next two weeks...

This means of course that nobody can travel nowhere. I will not be able to go to see my parents in Sweden if there is an emergency. A truly sickening feeling if any.
Still, I trust this is the right decision, we all need to do all we can to fight the spread of this virus. Staying at home isn't the hardest thing to comply with.

Also, had I traveled when we still could, who knows when I would've been able to come back. At least now we are together in this as a family. We will continue to hunker down here. Let's hope we also continue to like each other when this is all over..!

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Latest development

The latest development here in the UAE is that all cultural and historical sites and all major tourist areas in Abu Dhabi have now closed, as well as all pubs and bars. I guess next will be all shops apart from grocery shops, we will see.
The UAE still have only 85 cases though, hopefully these implementations is helping slowing down the spread.

(Compare this to Sweden, where there are now 800+ cases, but still in most places just business as usual. I have so many opinions on this so I'll just stay with - no comment.)

And this morning the decision was made for us about our trip - NZ has now imposed a 14 day self-isolation for all travelers arriving to New Zealand, which makes our visit pointless. Not unexpected at all, but still really sad of course.

Still there are bigger things to worry about:
The upcoming home-schooling period
The rest of the school year all together
Keeping my sanity spending the next four weeks all of us at home
The summer holiday plans
Nathans job
All the jobs in the tourism industry
All the people having lost or who will loose their jobs, in all industries
Our economy
The world economy
People who will loose their lives

Big picture people. Big picture.
Stay safe. Stay at home.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Corona times

Nope, I haven't blogged for a while, and truthfully I probably wont have much to blog about for a while either - considering not much is happening and there is not much to talk about right now, other than the Coronavirus COVID-19. Nobody talks about anything else at the moment, neither in real life, on the news or on social media.

The situation is changing rapidly day by day. For us it means that currently the kids have been home from school for a week. It was decided to move up Spring Break by two weeks, and then instead of going back to school physically after that, there will be e-learning. It's planned to go on for two weeks, until they (might or might not) go back to school again on the 5th of April. So technically we have another week of holidays, before we start home schooling.
Although it's not really much of a holiday, it is more a self-imposed preventive home quarantine. Advice is to only go out if you need to, and stay away from crowds, so that's what we do.

As the country have taken many precautions around the situation, all of which I agree on completely, tourism has decreased and I don't have any work scheduled either at the moment. Cruise ships for example are not allowed to dock in the UAE, although I had made a personal decision not to do any more cruise ship tours anyway before it got to this.
Nathan is still working although he is not flying but spending all of his work days at the training center and in the SIM.

For us as a family it will most probably affect our planned trip to NZ at the end of the month. We are waiting to see, as a lot can happen in two weeks, and nobody knows which travel bans will be in place. 

The kids and I haven't been home to NZ since last year this time, and if it doesn't happen now it will not happen until maybe next year for Spring Break, IF Nathan is lucky to get leave then.
We had the Memorial Service for Grandma and Grandad planned for this visit, so of course it would be extremely sad if we can't go; but still, it's just a trip and the main thing is the big picture. NZ will still be there.

So, for the moment we are hunkering down at home, like many other people. Waiting, reading the news, hoping for a miracle anti-vaccine or some solution which will put a stop on this bizarre, unreal situation we are all experiencing in these Corona times...

Stay safe and healthy out there.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

School photos 2019-2020

It's that time of the year again - the school photos are out.
Here's Lucas in Grade 10:

And Linnea in Grade 8:


Monday, 2 March 2020

SWEA on tour

Today I did a tour for some of the local SWEA girls, at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and at the Wahat al Karama. All but one of them (she arrived only three weeks ago!) had of course already been there many times with their visitors, but they were now keen on actually getting some more information about the architecture and decorations.

There wasn't a lot of people there at all this morning, we could take our time and have a good look around, and grab some lovely photos without too many other people in them. So lucky!
We even took a golf buggy over to get a closer look of the Sheikh Zayed Mausoleum.

It's always a bit different guiding people who live here compared to tourists, who only just come and go. But we had such a great morning, and I especially enjoyed showing them the Wahat al Karama monument, as none of them really had visited there before, or even noticed it. It is a place which often is forgotten or bypassed on the normal city tours, but I really enjoy its story and symbolism. It so is worth a visit.

As a bonus, you get great shots of the SZGM from this side of the road!