Thursday, 30 April 2020

Corona Diary, Day 48-52. Sixth week of home school

Day 48, Sunday 26 April
Another Sunday, another week of school. Now with Ramadan timings, so kids don't start until 9.30 in the morning, good sleep-ins.
I had trouble sleeping again last night, I don't know what it is. I have trouble falling asleep, I keep waking up because I get really hot and I have these weird, weird dreams all through the night so I wake up completely exhausted in the morning. Both physically and mentally.

Today I did no jobs, other than the normal Sisyphus chores, tidying up, dishes, hanging washing, folding washing, emptying the dishwasher, cooking etc... Argh, they become even more tedious when there is nothing else to mix them up with. It seems like I've lost my mojo after having sorted through pretty much the whole house. I tried to read a book but fell asleep.
It should have been Grandad's 72nd birthday today, so I made a nice pavlova for dessert though. He would've liked that and it was really fluffy and yummy.

Day 49, Monday 27 April
For a few minutes after waking up this morning, while I opened the curtains, it felt like a completely normal day. That feeling though, when it dawns on you that no, no it's just another Groundhog Day, that feeling is so heavy... But the first cup of coffee is always a mood lifter, and the sun was out at least.
Turns out it took me a while to get going this morning, but I did do my workout after initially thinking I'd skip today. The urge to keep my streak going is strong!
But apart from that, and baking some bread, I haven't done much. Again. Some days the highlight is waiting for the Amazon (or Aramex) delivery guy, ha ha, even if he is just coming with more disposable gloves and face masks.

The pasta team tried their hand at some filled ravioli today - pretty successful, they were absolutely delicious!

Day 50, Tuesday 28 April
Tuesday! Cleaning day! It seems to take us less and less time to clean the whole house, but I'm actually not sure it is because we are getting more efficient... ha ha. Lucas just can't get his head around why it's necessary to clean - "it's just going to get dirty again" - and especially not in places where nobody sees anyway; and Linnea asked me what I was doing vacuuming the kitchen the other day - "but it's not Tuesday!". Well baby steps, at least I have got everyone doing the cleaning, once a week, working as a team. We will work on the 'why' a bit more with time I guess.

In other news we got a giggle this morning reading the reports from NZ where they have now moved from Level 4 down to Level 3 (=eased the restrictions a bit). One of the headlines in the national newspaper was "The queues to Maccas cause traffic block", ha ha! They sure have their priorities right - first things first, let's go straight to the McDonald's drive-through!

Day 51, Wednesday 29 April
It's been a big day today with multiple activities all around. This morning the kids were home alone, at school, for the first time in weeks and weeks. Nathan went to work, flying a freighter flight with medical supplies to Kathmandu, and I went to the - hairdresser! Nail salons and hair dressers have been allowed to open again, but with a number of restrictions of course.
I got my temperature taken upon arriving, had to sign a form I had been self-isolating, and both Daisy (my hairdresser) and I wore masks during the whole appointment.

I got seated on the second floor, and was all alone up there, so social distancing was no issue even though every second seat was blocked off.

It was nice to feel a tiny little bit of normal for the morning, getting fresh hair was almost just the bonus!

As soon as school was out, it was time to go do the weekly shop. Lucas had asked to come along this time which was good as he hadn't been out of the house for about month I think. Smallest shop so far in these Corona-times, I guess we have been good at stocking up previously.

Day 52, Thursday 30 April. Valborgsmässoafton
Another phase of this Corona-circus started for our family today: apart.
Nathan will now spend the next 24 days in a hotel here in Abu Dhabi. The company put the pilots up in hotel accommodation for periods of three weeks while they fly them every few days (as soon as their C-19 tests come back negative after their last flight). Not so great to be apart and not so much fun running the show by myself here at home, but I guess at least the kids and I are the ones better off having all our stuff, and each other. Nathan is stuck in a hotel room without a balcony, the pool and gym of course are closed, and he gets food sent up in boxes from room service three times a day. Not so much fun. But, we will get through this as well. One day at a time.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Corona Diary, Day 46-47. Ramadan Kareem

Day 46, Friday 24 April
Today marks the start of Ramadan 2020. It sure will be a different kind of Ramadan this year. The essence of Ramadan is still the same of course, Muslims will still fast, abstain and pray. Although this year they will not be able to enjoy all the big social gatherings, family iftars and gatherings within their larger community which normally would be what keeps them going throughout this month.
All the mosques are closed, the hotels and restaurants are not celebrating with huge buffets, there will be no Ramadan tents outside peoples homes and the rules about social distancing are still in place. This Ramadan, my Muslim friends are still positive though, and have said they will use all their extra time for more reflection.

I have had a day of reflection as well.
I have been feeling rather lonely lately, not just physically in this isolation, but otherwise as well. These past weeks at home, I have been checking in with my friends here, there and everywhere; phoning, Zooming and texting; but very few have checked in on me. Today that got me a bit down, which spiraled into negative thoughts about just about everything, and reading this article about how it feels like we are drowning in time didn't help either. The author asking herself "what good is life if we can't live it?" really resonated with me today.
I so miss living life, not just living this Groundhog Day over and over again with slight variations; but even not just living my normal Abu Dhabi life... but life! Life with nature and seasons, life with friends, people and celebrations, life with activities, happenings and variety, just LIFE! I love life here when I'm working, but honestly that is not even half of the year. I love life here because we are able to travel (which means life elsewhere than here... *duh*). But life here-here, not so much. No surprise (normal thoughts for this time of the year) but it's something I have been thinking about more and more during this time. Reflection, sometimes it's enlightening.

Day 47, Saturday 25 April
In good news today, we are now allowed to leave our houses for exercising outside! Of course with some restrictions, up to two hours a day, no more than three people together and we still need to wear a mask, but - yay! I still prefer my treadmill+TV combination but maybe in the afternoons there will be a few walks, at least before it gets too hot anyway to be outside.

Still no weekend feeling really here. The days just roll into each other, it feels like April was just the same day over and over again, pretty much; can't believe it's May already next week. Crazy times.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Corona Diary, Day 41-45. Fifth week of home school

Day 41, Sunday 19 April
Another week of school has started. Another week of yes, you guessed it, pretty much same-same: fitness, coffee, cleaning, sorting, cooking, baking, and staring out the window wondering how much longer this will last.
Today Nathan did a deep clean of his bike room, aka the 'Pain Cave'. I actually don't think it has been cleaned that well since we first set it up, so it was about time! Everything got moved out of the room and then things were cleaned, sorted and put back again, in impeccable order. It's like a brand new space!

In the meantime I cooked Swedish meatballs for dinner, and attacked another part of the house, the part of the master bedroom cupboards which contains other things than clothes. All tidy and neat there too now, and another bin full outside with stuff we just don't use or need anymore. Feels good!

Day 42, Monday 20 April
The fresh milk ran out again, but I am trying to stretch my grocery shop until Wednesday, as tomorrow is Tuesday, which Linnea rightly reminded me is cleaning day. Ha ha, I guess she is worried I'll leave it completely to her and Lucas to do eventually! The long life milk will again save the morning cereal for another few days.
Today was one of those days. I did my exercise, and a few small jobs, like sorting papers into binders, packing away the Easter decorations and the little ironing there was; but then I went and laid on my bed and stared out the window until I feel asleep for a while. Fortunately these days are not too many, but they are really rough. The ones where you just see no end, or no future. Take a pick.

On a positive note we managed to get the old Wii Sports working again, which gave the kids something to do (=fight over) for a while! Even I had a go, it's quite fun!

Day 43, Tuesday 21 April
I can't seem to shake this feeling of living in a vacuum at the moment. I find it a bit rough and have been in a really low mood the past few days. I think it's the lack of information here that gets to me. To the difference of many other countries where there are regular press conferences, or dates set when current restrictions will be reconsidered - here, there is nothing. Restrictions and rules are implemented "until further notice", and just gets changed from one day to another. The bigger plan, if there is one, is not shared with the general public. I wish we had some info to go on, what the next phase is going to be, and when they think it might be implemented etc.

Ah well, today was cleaning day - AGAIN! Yes, these Tuesdays seem to come around faster and faster! Full team working today, so we were done in a flash!
In the evening Linnea and Nathan gave the pasta machine another whirl and we had fresh prawn pasta for dinner. Om nom nom! The ravioli cutters arrived too, so next time we will try some of those (we didn't have anything to fill them with today). This somewhat experimental 'Corona Cooking' is actually quite a lot of fun!

Day 44, Wednesday 22 April
I don't know if it was because it was groceries day, or the fact that I was wearing lenses (as it was groceries day), or maybe thanks to the sunny weather - but thankfully I was feeling in a much lighter mood this morning. I also got a good workout in, with a bit of a quarantine theme...

... and then it was time for the shop-up for this week (and a bit, had stretched it a good nine days again!). Obviously, you have to make a bit of an effort when it's the only outing of the week, so I matched my dress to the face mask..! (By the way, this dress has not fit me for years, now it does thanks to all the 'quarantraining'! I guess that's what you call silver lining.)

We noticed a few things happening at the mall today which gave me a slightly optimistic feeling. For example they were busy installing a big "sanitation tunnel" at the entrance, and they sort of funneled us into the grocery shop.

They had put tons of different "distance stickers" all over the floor downstairs AND I saw them bring some of those stickers up onto the second floor of the mall too, to the normal shops! Maybe, just maybe could this be in preparation for opening up the mall again?! I sure hope so!

Personally I think it would be a splendid idea to open up the normal shops now during Ramadan (which starts this weekend), and still keep the restaurants closed. Oh, let's hope I'm right!
Here's how the receipt looks like, when you shop for about 10 days at a time:

Day 45, Thursday 23 April
Woke up this morning to the official information about the shopping malls reopening circulating on social media, I was right! Yay! We still don't know when, but hey - I take any little step towards a more normal life! I even have a hair appointment next week as hairdressers have been allowed to reopen as well, can you imagine! Not that there is any panic at all, my normal appointment just got moved by two days actually so I'm right on schedule, but it will be nice to get to do something else than just be at home!

We cooked lamb shanks in the slow cooker today, so the whole house smelled delicious all day, and I baked a citrus/chia cake for dessert to celebrate the weekend. We all enjoyed a family movie together in the evening, which is always nice. That's what Thursday nights are for!
More information came out today too about Dubai doing a 180 and going from 24h curfew to being allowed out for exercise and family visits etc (all still with heavy restrictions but still). We are waiting for similar info here in Abu Dhabi but as I said - any little step towards a positive change is good! As long as we don't have to take two steps back again as soon as Ramadan is over...

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Corona Diary, Day 39-40

Day 39, Friday 17 April
I must admit sometimes it's hard to get that proper weekend-feeling when we are all at home anyway all day every day... But today we have tried at least.
I made fresh scones for breakfast and we cleared off the dining table and turned it into a ping-pong table for the weekend, something especially Linnea enjoyed. Bless her, she is really trying to keep herself busy, but she is becoming increasingly bored by this isolation. She also tried making macarons today, which turned into a bit of a fail as it's rather complicated, will have to give that another try another day. I kept her company in the kitchen in the meantime. It was time to clear out, clean, label and reorganise the food cupboards.

In the evening we had some real comfort food (chicken curry) for dinner while we binge watched 'Younger'.

Day 40, Saturday 18 April

Nathan was having a ride scheduled "together" with some friends via Zwift in the afternoon today, so it was a bit of an inverted schedule with some cleaning and organizing going on in the morning, and the training got done in the late afternoon.
Today we attacked the stove-top fan (yuk!), the top of the kitchen cabinets (yuk, yuk, yuk!) and the storage room.

I must admit I keep things pretty tidy around here normally as well, but today we really went through everything - even the inside of the tool box!

I guess all this cleaning and sorting out is a solution for two things, firstly it gives me a something to do of course, it's one of the ways I get time to pass. Secondly, it's a way to feel control in all this uncertainty - control of something.
I am a planner, I need to have things to look forward to and I like to be in control, but right now it feels like I am living in a void. All information about the different restrictions we need to follow here is given "until further notice", so we all we can do is keep living day by day. I feel like I'm treading water just waiting for - well, I don't know. I don't know if next week will be the same as this, if we will be allowed to go outside next month or travel during the summer holidays; or this year at all!
I can't make any plans, whatsoever - other than for today, and maybe tomorrow. I guess this is why I make sure I exercise every day and why I have created a to-do list of small projects to get into; at least I can control my daily life, and it feels good.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Corona Diary, Day 35-38. Fourth week of home school

Day 35, Monday 13 April
Shopping day. I am so proud I managed to stretch it from last Saturday until today. Actually, if it wasn't because the kids are not fans of the longlife milk for their morning cereal, we probably could've waited even another couple of days. There was a lot less people today than the last few times we've been, which was nice.
We also heard that they have opened up IKEA again, with shorter opening hours but still! I got so excited, not because it's IKEA, more because it feels like a step towards the next phase. But maybe I'll have to make a quick trip there anyway this week, there is always something you need in IKEA, right?

This afternoon we had a Zoom call with our friends the Turners in Brunei, which had been a long time coming and was really nice. Both families in front of the screens!
Oh how I miss them!

Day 36, Tuesday 14 April
Tuesday again already - which means cleaning day!
As Nathan had his first day back at work after his leave so it was up to the three of us to do the cleaning today, ugh. But after a slow start we got going, and then there was just no stopping us! As they say: "That escalated quickly!".

Ha ha, before I knew it the whole sofa was in pieces and we were giving the sitting area a GOOD clean! We found all sorts of strange things under the sofa, so not sure when that was last done...

I also cleaned out the big wooden shelf in the kitchen and the cutlery drawers. Those jobs that are never really prioritized but it sure is satisfying with order, even inside things where nobody else sees!

For dinner we tried out our new pasta machine for the first time today. I made the dough in the Thermomix, and then Linnea gave the machine a whirl. We started to do it together but she wanted to to it by herself, and she did a great job!

For a first attempt, it was really tasty, but not enough for four hungry people - so next time we will double up on the recipe, and also maybe try some filled tortellini or something! Considering it was a lot easier than I expected, I can see us doing this a lot more often.

Day 37, Wednesday 15 April
Once I finally managed to fall asleep last night, I managed to sleep better than I've done in many days. Even so, the rest of the day has just gone by in a grey blur. All the energy from yesterday was gone and instead I have been lying on the bed staring out the window most of the afternoon, just been moving from one spot to another to make time pass all day. We actually had rain on and off all day, which was kind of cosy, but it makes the skies so dark and dull that I guess that affected my mood too.
At least I tried a new recipe for dinner which was a success, lamb rolls (in home made bread) with tzatziki and Greek salad, yum.

Day 38, Thursday 16 April
Today was a really good day, in many ways. First I had a really good workout in my 'Escape Room' (as a friend named it) in the morning. I was on fire and had so much fun, I just kept going and going!
Then after school Linnea and I went to IKEA. Yes! As I had heard earlier in the week that it was open again, I had planned already then that I should go today. Honestly no, I wasn't in need of anything essential (apart from 'Kalles Kaviar' which unfortunately they still had no stock of), but I was in essential need of an outing which would feel somewhat normal. So we went. Got our temperature taken at the entrance, wore our masks and gloves and kept our distance.

In case you have trouble gauging how far 2 m is, there is stickers all over the floor in the whole shop showing you. We got some new cushions for Linneas room, and a huge amount of plastic boxes, some shelves and other things which will help in my organizing frenzy.
Then finally in the evening we had take-away for dinner to celebrate the weekend. Really delicious sushi, yum yum! Such a winner of a day!

Monday, 13 April 2020

Corona Diary, Day 32-34. Easter

Day 32, Friday 10 April. Good Friday
Pandemic or not, some things just don't change. Like the fact that in this family I am the only one ever upholding any sort of traditions. Like decorating the house for different holidays, or planning the special foods to eat etc. Mind you, we have always had a mix of traditions for Easter, mostly since we have often been traveling and taken the traditions of where we have been.
Easter has always involved chocolate though, and especially Linnea is still confused about which day is the "right" Easter, for the only reason she wants to know when she'll get the candy... Usually when the kids were younger, there was an Easter Egg Hunt at some stage. But the last few years that has turned into the appearance of the Swedish Easter-cardboard-egg-full-of-candy by their bedside in the night instead as: 1) we don't have a garden big enough to go hunting in and 2) it's April, and already too hot to hide chocolate eggs outside.
No egg here today though, but I did bake some delicious hot cross buns yesterday that we had for breakfast and we are having a big leg of lamb for dinner. We have cleared off the dining table from school stuff to be able to sit together and enjoy what will hopefully be a nice meal. I am wearing a yellow skirt, the only yellow I have in my wardrobe. Happy Easter!

Day 33, Saturday 11 April. Easter Saturday
Today was a bit of a weird day with mixed feelings. I woke up feeling a bit "here-we-go-again". Every day is just same-same, get up, get through the day, go to sleep, and again. Had a few tears during some chats with friends.
I feel like I am a emotion-less zombie. There is just too much to be sad and worried about, most of it things that I can do nothing about anyway, so no point having those feelings. There is nothing really to look forward to or be happy about (apart from the obvious "at least we are together, we are not sick, we have a roof over our head and food on our table" yada yada...), so not much joy to feel either. The only feeling that kind of oozes out of me every now and then is despair and frustration... and that's not very nice either.

After my exercise today I had the bright idea of reshuffling the furniture in the guest room to give me more space to work out. It took a bit of our afternoon to sort that out, and it turned out really well (see the Quarantraining post below), so I got all giddy about that! Now I can't wait to go exercising tomorrow in my "new gym"!
A Zoom-call with my parents and gifting the kids their Easter eggs also brightened my day. Luckily it doesn't take much to turn the mood around these days! Here's to an all around better day tomorrow, at least the moment we get a new chance of a better day - every day!

Day 34, Sunday 12 April. Easter Sunday
Not much celebration going on in our house this Easter Sunday, it's a normal school day for us, and I have just spent two hours in my new workout area! So pleased!
The hot cross buns are already finished but in other news, our new pasta machine turned up today so time for Linnea and I to have a play around with our new kitchen gadget later!