Sunday, 28 June 2020

Corona Diary, Day 109-110

Day 109, Friday 26 June
Last weekend of this school year. Next time this week we are entering the loooooong weekend that is the summer holidays. The kids need a long break by now for sure, but, I'm not sure the kind they will have this year is the healthiest one... endless inside days... sigh...

Today was another Groundhog Day. Nothing special at all. Coffee, workout, lunch, chill, dinner. That's about it.
I went through my wardrobe trying to create a bit more space. Having exercised my way through these Corona-months I thought I'd try this skirt again, which was in my too-small-pile, and guess what?! It fits again!!

Last time I wore it was probably in early 2012!! (Yes I do keep my classic items, or clothes that I really, really like; even if they are too big or too small.) I do like shopping in my own wardrobe..!

Day 110, Saturday 27 June
I can't remember what I was dreaming in the night, but it was so nice I didn't want to wake up. You know that feeling when you know in the dream you are dreaming?
I guess with all normal planning, dreaming, looking ahead to things gone due to this black hole that is Covid-19 and all its effects, my subconscious still looks after me and gives me nice experiences. I guess I have to be thankful for that! The little things!

My training sessions are getting longer and longer these days. I have found a new app with free workouts that I really enjoy - FitOn - and I'm working my way through them. I'm focusing a bit more on strength and lifting heavier than I've done up until now. Still also getting the cardio and the kilometers in there, as it's the only movement I get, so I tend to spend a few hours every day in my Escape Room.

Today Linnea and I also went for groceries. In hindsight that was a silly idea as it's the weekend and people have just been paid. There was so many people! Also, this week regulations about children under 12  finally eased (they have been allowed nowhere since the beginning of lockdown), so the mall was full of families, at long last being able to have a bit of an outing with their little ones.
They have raised the capacity allowed inside the mall now and removed the bollards blocking every second car park, but we still had to circle a bit to find one!
Well, we got the groceries done, and a few other jobs, and got out of there.  Back home for an easy Saturday dinner - sushi and shawarmas!

Friday, 26 June 2020

Corona Diary, Day 104-108. Fourtheenth week of home school

Day 104, Sunday 21 June
Second to last week of school. Another Sunday just rolling by.
Today I went to have coffee with Frida again, but at a different mall this time for something new, ha ha!

Nice with company, but still so tired of malls. But what to do when it's 40+ outside? I guess at least next week we will be able to meet at the Louvre Abu Dhabi! It was a nice coffee chat though and I did manage to get myself some much needed new sports tops, so all good.

Day 105, Monday 22 June
Get up. Get through the day. Go to bed. Repeat.
Today was an all afternoon kind of workout day, didn't shower and get dressed until well after 4 pm. Greek meatballs with feta cheese, pasta salad and home-made tsatsiki for dinner.
Nothing else to report.

Kind of looking forward to school ending which is when I have decided to wrap up this diary style writing. It just makes me sad every day to realise that I'm mostly spending my days just waiting, and I'm not even sure what I'm waiting for anymore.
"Så går en dag från vårt liv och kommer aldrig åter"...

Day 106, Tuesday 23 June

Today for something different, it was time for the hairdresser. Same procedures as last time, with temperature check, seats blocked off for distancing, masks on etc. A bit funny to try make conversation when "So, what have you been up to?" doesn't really bring back much, ha ha!
No big change, stayed bright and blond. Only decided to chop off the longer lengths of my hair, as they just turn wispy and thin. I think shoulder length really is my best length.

Before and during:

And after:

Day 107, Wednesday 24 June
Today I woke up and managed to be grateful, grateful that today was Wednesday which means yesterday was Tuesday. The whole house is clean and it's a whole week until next cleaning session. The small things people!

I had another coffee date with a friend today. It was probably the last one for a while though. Now I don't have anything in the calendar until my next hair appointment on the 19th of August. Go life...
Almost all the people I know here have already braved the exit trip out of the country, or are planning to go in the coming week. Yes, it is risky, as nobody knows yet what restrictions will be in place in August when they need to come back - or even IF you will be allowed back; but I guess people have just had enough. It's not just me.

We are on a roll with the kids cooking, last night Lucas cooked us Chicken Katsu Curry for dinner and tonight we were treated with Sloppy Joes by Linnea. 

Day 108, Thursday 25 June
A friend of mine said yesterday in a text: "I have stopped saying 'It's all good' when people are asking how's things" - well damn right. I think we've all exhausted the "bright sides" of this situation by now.

News came today that the National Sterilization Program has finished, which means no more nightly curfew, not that it has affected us in the slightest as we don't tend to roam around much during the nights, ha ha. The travel ban into Abu Dhabi from the other emirates is still in place though - and we still have no news on if, when and how Abu Dhabi is going to open up for further travel in and out of the country. Dubai on the other hand has new travel rules since Tuesday, and is opening for tourists from the 7th July. It is very strange and confusing with all these different restrictions, within the same country.

In brighter news to end the week, the kids school reports came out, and both did really well. They both even managed to raise a few grades this term, which is a great credit to them having done it all by themselves for the last fourteen weeks. One more week to go.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Corona Diary, Day 102-103. Midsummer weekend

Day 102, Friday 19 June. Happy Midsummer!
Today it is Midsommarafton in Sweden, very early this year.
We celebrated at home in our own company (well duh) with a bit of a Swedish brunch. I really wanted a smörgåstårta (=sandwich cake), so I tried a recipe I found of a smörgåstårta with Asian flavours that I thought would go down well.

I also cooked some meatballs and potatoes, but no huge buffet table. I'm really the only one who cares about the food anyway, so I laid the bar quite low.

Kids were a bit sceptical about the smörgåstårta (understandable, it is a strange thing I guess), but I loved it! Sometimes you really surprise yourself, I was so pleased! I think it was the first ever smörgåstårta I made all from scratch, and I was really happy with our Midsummer table!

In the evening Linnea and I whipped up a magnificent marängsviss (=a bit like an Eton Mess) for dessert. Home-made meringues, whipped cream, strawberries, ice cream, bananas and home-made, warm, chocolate sauce... mmm! Everyone but Nathan had THREE helpings! Oh. My. Goodness. SO good!

Thankful for at least one different, special and festive day in the endless row of Groundhog Days which are our life at the moment. Even if the effort was mostly just mine, I guess I do these things for myself mostly anyway.
I tried to match my Midsummer outfit to the trusty IKEA flower wreath I made our first year here in Abu Dhabi.

Day 103, Saturday 20 June
Today Linnea had (finally!) decided with her friend Daniella to meet up at the mall. Ever since they made the plans she has been really giddy and excited, and me too, for her sake. It knew it would do her a world of good hanging out with her friend, even if it has to be at the mall at the moment. They had had a good time, doing some shopping, getting some Starbucks, chatting away.
Lucas also went to the mall for a bit, to hang out with a friend of his. Apart from his appointments at the dentist and the hairdressers, this was the first time he was properly out of the house for weeks and weeks.

Another weekend bites the dust. Two more weeks left of school before we head into the infinity which is the summer holidays of 2020. Let's see what else this Jumanji year can throw at us then.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Corona Diary, Day 97-101. Thirteenth week of home school

Day 97, Sunday 14 June
Woke up rather mushy after another night of what feels like no sleep (aarrghh), but to a lovely long recorded message from a friend, so that gave my day a really nice start.
Then I shot off straight away to the mall to meet up with Frida for a coffee, before I had an appointment at the Apple Shop. I needed to finally fix the screen of my phone which had been cracked since end of February. Luckily it turned out that it was actually just the screen protector which had broken, yay, much cheaper to sort out!

Nathan has been working from home all day so this afternoon I did a long workout in the Escape Room before we had mac and cheese for dinner.

Day 98, Monday 15 June

Hm, seems like I only got 4-5 good days. Today I've been back in the grey cloud. One of those days.
I was totally uninterested in working out (but did it anyway), so low on energy that I took a nap in the afternoon instead. But - it was the first time since beginning of March I was completely home alone for a little bit, as Nathan took the kids to their routine check-up at the dentist! That was different!

I made a risotto with chicken, parmesan, sweet potato, pine nuts and parsley and surprisingly it was the kids who went back for seconds, both of them. I guess all this experimental Corona-cooking has been a good thing for their taste buds.

And, no surprise - news just came through that we can look forward to yet another week of travel ban between the emirates. Expected, but getting annoying now. Come on, open those museums,  beaches and parks and pleeeeeeeease... let us see friends in small groups. 

Day 99, Tuesday 16 June
Today three-fourths of the family woke up really early. Nathan set off to work and Linnea had a math test in the morning so I got up too, to be moral support. I am of course of no help at all when it comes to Grade 8 math - haven't been able to keep up since about Grade 2! I still wanted to be there in case she needed more water or something, and just so she wouldn't feel all alone.
Lucas is done with all his assessments, Linnea has one more tomorrow and then that's it for this school year. It will be hard to motivate them now for the last two weeks, even though school has said they will need to attend as usual, as they will get assignments to prepare them for next year etc. Hm.

I've had a good day again. It's actually got nothing to do with what happens each day, I can feel already from the moment I wake up what kind of day it is going to be. Today it was nice to get up a bit earlier than normal and have a long morning! I did a solid workout of both running, strength and some HIIT before a good lunch and then I was off to the mall.
Grocery time, but I started with a bit of a walk-about. I can report that one lap of the mall (Yas Mall is built in a big circle) is 600 meters and takes about 7 min 25 seconds to complete.
I also bumped into two other Swedish girls and crashed their coffee date. We got a "table for three", as the waitress said... ha ha! Regulations say only two on each table, so we were placed like this:

No problem though, we could still have a good chat - as long as the coffee grinder wasn't running! Ha ha!

Day 100, Wednesday 17 June
Day 100! A hundred days since we last saw friends at home, under more normal circumstances... Oaw. Well, at least we can meet at cafés and coffee shops - so we do! Today I had lunch with Linda to wish her happy summer, as she is braving it and leaving for Sweden this week. I like how they limit the numbers at this particular restaurant, it looks very pretty!

This afternoon it was cleaning time. Another week, another cleaning mission done! We are really starting to get the routine going really well, but I still look forward to when we are allowed to have the real cleaners back...

And the best news today - Louvre Abu Dhabi is reopening next Wednesday! Guess who will be there first thing?!

Day 101, Thursday 18 June
Everybody is following the the news very closely at the moment, as many debate about travel or no travel for the summer holidays. Yesterday there was new travel rules announced which will come into place from next week. Unfortunately much of the new information which has emerged so far is a bit unclear and feels incomplete, so speculations are many about what needs to be done or not before traveling, and more importantly to be able to come back. I am trying to stay calm about it all, bide my time and wait for it all to become more clear in the next few weeks, to be able to formulate a plan.

In the meantime today has been another homely day with the usual activities, morning workout for me and school for the kids. From today the kids have been allowed to move back into their rooms for "school", since all the tests are done. So while they were up there and Nathan at work, I spent the whole afternoon feeling home alone for a change!
Pizza for dinner, and bring on another weekend.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Corona Diary, Day 95-96

Day 95, Friday 12 June
Who would've thought! It's the third day in a row I wake up in a good mood and the day ahead feels bright and sunny - even though we (of course) have NO plans other than the usual, it makes a change not feeling like your head is buried in a big grey cloud at least!
I have noted that most of my coronacoaster feelings are due to hormones and comes in cycles, so I really value the days when I am able to control the sad and hopeless feelings that flutter around inside constantly.

A bit of a workout to start the day, one of the better omelettes I have ever made for lunch, and then I took Linnea and went - ... to...  the mall!! Ha ha, no surprise...
Well, she needed fresh underwear too, so I took her back to the shop with the super helpful lady from the other day, and we got mission accomplished very easily! We also browsed the other shops, as having the fitting rooms open is a real game changer; plus there are huge sales everywhere. Linnea scored a bunch of new t-shirts and socks, all which was very much needed.

It was actually a rather nice outing. The mall was super crowded, like any other normal Friday afternoon - and I think it was exactly that feeling of "normal" which all of a sudden made it feel so good! (Even though I normally don't like Friday afternoons at the mall and try to avoid them as best as I can for that exact reason, ha ha!)
Now I take any feeling of normality, wherever I can get it. Normality gives hope.

Day 96, Saturday 13 June
Oh no, a night of weird dreams and bad sleep again. Just as I thought it had turned around for me. Maybe as the days get "sunnier", the worries and anxiety still inside gets dealt with in the subconscious?

Today was another day that just kind of happened. Linnea tried to apply a different strategy to make the weekend last longer by only doing "boring" things. I'm not sure it worked all that well for her, day is gone - just like that. Lucas spent it in his room, Nathan was at work and Linnea and I, well, I don't know. We watched some TV, I did some ironing, my workout, and dinner - the usual.
Time is a funny thing these days. Because of the Groundhog Day-feeling time seems to stand still sometimes; but also because of the Groundhog Day-feeling - it seems totally weird that we somehow have made it from beginning of March to now middle of June, just like that! Crazy.
And tomorrow it's time for another week of school. Bring it.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Corona Diary, Day 90-94. Twelfth week of home school

Day 90, Sunday 7 June
Twelfth week of home school, only four weeks to go and the year is done. Kids can't wait. Me, I'm more apprehensive about the upcoming summer holidays.

Discussions, or should I say speculations, are running wild in many forums on the internet, about what is thought to happen in the next few weeks and how the UAE is going to "get back to normal".
With the summer holidays coming up, many are trying to make plans for their travel. As per usual nobody wants to be here during the hot, hot summer months. This year especially, after the long period of quarantine we've had, people are even more eager to get a break, enjoy some nature and fresh air and be somewhere where their kids can be outside. I too hope to be able to travel, but I do think it's naive to make plans now, in the situation we are still in at the moment. Considering the many changes almost daily, plans will then inevitably have to change, and I rather wait and see what happens, than speculate, guess and hope.

I must admit, I am actually also getting more and more anxious about spending time in Sweden at the moment. Even IF we will be able to get there (and most importantly, get back to the UAE without too much hassle), what would we actually do? We shouldn't visit my parents, as they are risk group both of them, and we have no house of our own to spend our time in. We can't really visit our friends as that would mean too much traveling all over the country and I sure haven't spent the last many months being isolated here just to go to Sweden and pick up the virus - or worse, bring it back here, into a community that have lived under such strict regulations for so long.
Ah well, I have four more weeks to figure this all out, at least.
In the meantime while my longing for greenery, bicycle trips, milder temperatures, lösgodis (Swedish pick-n-mix), fresh air and endless, light Swedish summer evenings gets a bit rough as per usual this time of the year; I try to comfort and remind myself that I am always here in the UAE in June anyway. Normally with a lot more to do, and the already booked summer holiday trip to look forward to sure, but one day or another - it will happen this year too. It might not be during the summer, but the lösgodis will always be there!

Since most days are pretty much the same around here I have decided to use the blog to write more about how I am feeling, and what I am thinking about each day through this. I hope it will be "fun" to re-experience at some stage. My mental state is experiencing more of a roller coaster than my life at the moment, that's for sure!

But I can let you know that today was a big day as Lucas made us dinner! Chicken Cacciatore, which went down really well!

Day 91, Monday 8 June
Today I left the house for a bit to see my friend Frida. To be honest I am bored of having to go to dreary cafés to be able to meet up, but you do what you gotta do. Hanging out with a friend and having a natter for a few hours was exactly what I needed!

In the news today New Zealand now moves to level 1 after having eradicated Corona in the country with 17 days of no new cases and no active cases. This means they can now live completely normal, no limits or social distancing in place, although their border measures remain. At the moment only nine countries in the world have no active cases.

It feels like we live on a completely different planet than our friends and family in Sweden and NZ. Going to bed we still don't know whether or not the current travel ban between Abu Dhabi and the other emirates will end tomorrow as previously stated, or be extended as the common belief seems to be. Ah well, we will see tomorrow, we are not really needing to go anywhere anyway, but it affects other things too so it's interesting of course.

Day 92, Tuesday 10 June
Yup, woke up to the news of the travel ban being extended for another week. Apparently the official notice came just before midnight, nothing like leaving it to the last minute!
Actually that's a lie, I woke up to the sound of the fire alarm starting to tell me it was about to run out of battery, at 2 am! Why does that always happen in the middle of the night?! Bring on my morning coffee.

Corona cleaning today. One man down as Nathan is at work this week (at the training center), but we still got it done. Rewarded ourselves with home made pasta for dinner as we received the new KitchenAid pasta attachment the other day. As our home made pasta has been such a success, we thought it would be a good investment to get a proper tool to make it. 

It worked a treat, so much easier than having to crank that machine. Today we made spaghetti for our Spaghetti Carbonara.

Day 93, Wednesday 11 June
Halle-lu-jah! Finally an all over really good day! It's been a while since I've been able to completely snap out of this funk I'm in, but today, today was just a happy day!
I woke up after having slept really well. Got a real good workout in this morning, even though I was under time pressure since I was meeting Linda for lunch at the mall.
We spent a few hours together chatting away while enjoying a super fresh and yummy burger for lunch at my favourite burger shack, Burgerfuel, and during coffee after too.

The shops have now finally been allowed to open their fitting rooms, so I went straight to get those bras I desperately needed! I got assisted by a very knowledgeable and helpful shop lady, and walked away with three perfectly fitted new garments. Awesome!
I also tried a few other things that I had been having my eye on around the shops, but ended up buying just a pair of off-white jeans on super sale.

Finished off by getting the groceries and then I got home refreshed after a whole afternoon to myself, to a happy family! A happy, happy day!

Day 94, Thursday 12 June
Thursday-blursday. Today has been one of those days at home like most the others.
As something different I watched a lecture online from the NYU on the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, to refresh the knowledge a little bit; and I also followed the Swedish press conference about the upcoming 'Sommar i P1'-season.
Linnea baked a double batch of cinnamon buns and we had Mexican for dinner - and into the weekend we go!

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Corona Diary, Day 88-89

Day 88, Friday 5 June
Statistics, statistics... I don't look too much at the different statistics being thrown around at the moment, they will show what you want them to show.
I hear people here getting upset that the numbers of new Corona-cases per day in the UAE keep being "very high" - which, in one way is correct, if you only look at the number of new cases. They were between 700-900 cases a day for weeks, now they have been 500-700 cases for a while. Seems high, no? BUT - you have to take into consideration the number of tests being done in relation to those results too. Only yesterday, there was 54,000 tests done here in the UAE (yes in one day) - so the percentage of affected people is actually rather low. Today, as another example, there was a higher number of recovered cases (765) than new (642) - and 37,600+ tests.
Death toll in the UAE to date is 274. Compare that to Sweden, who has about the same amount of inhabitants - but more than 4600 deaths at the moment! I know Sweden also has a much older population, but still. Interesting figures.

I woke up and felt like baking today, but first I decided to do my workout to get it out of the way. Then after a few hours in my Escape Room I didn't feel like baking anymore... ha ha. One of those days. Read my book a bit instead, had another coffee. Cooked dinner and took care of all the other usual chores.
Chores... I'm so bored of the chores by the way! Normally I just get on with them, in between all the other stuff - but when it's the ONLY thing you have to do, it gets really, really boring.
A silver lining I guess is that the kids have really got to understand during this quarantine time what is being done here at home, all day and every day, while they are normally at school. During the past few months they have got to experience the monotonous Sisyphus-jobs themselves - and realised that they never end!

Day 89, Saturday 6 June. Swedish National Day 🇸🇪
Another day like most others, although I tried to make it a bit special today, it being the Swedish National Day and all. The Swedish Business Council had arranged a celebration via Zoom which I took part in to start with:

Then I finally did that baking, so we could enjoy a special cake for this special day! See the little Dalecarlian horses on the flags?

It was this Swedes first Swedish National Day!

And Linnea missed Mormor, so she baked 'Schackrutor', something they always make together in Sweden. She didn't think they turned out the same, but I think she did a great job all by herself! They were yummy! I love shortbread cookies!

For todays musings, I have been thinking a bit about our home. I have always liked our house. I am a real house mouse who enjoys my home, coming home when I have been away and generally spending time in my home.
But having spent all this time at home lately, and just at home, it feels like my home has been "worn out", and I don't like it. It feels like being here, and only here (all day and every day!) all four of us, has put a strain on the house. It doesn't have that homely feeling anymore. I don't enjoy it anymore.
Right now I would rather be anywhere else. No specific place, just somewhere else than where I have spent EVERY day these past three months... - and not at the mall!!!

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Corona Diary, Day 83-87. Eleventh week of home school

Day 83, Sunday 31 May. Swedish Mother's Day
I was surprised with breakfast in bed this morning, presented very proudly by my two gorgeous teenagers who had cooked and prepared it all by themselves.

I think Lucas was actually even the most surprised, he kept saying "we did it all by ourselves", ha ha! I also got two lovely gifts - a new strap for my Apple watch, and a painting Linnea had made. (It's my Mii from when we play the Wii Sports. I always loose, so she made this one win..!)

Lucky me!

Nathan and Linnea also joined efforts and cooked dinner (Pastitsio), and Linnea baked an amazing chocolate cake for dessert. Lucas took care of the dishes so yes, I got a whole day of not lifting a finger for a change!

Day 84, Monday 1 June
June. It is June. June... What happened? It's been a quarter of a year of this. Three whole months.
My most hated comment from friends in other places (mostly Sweden, because of the very different approaches to this) is "Oh wow, if we had to live like you do, I would go crazy!" Well, this might be surprising, but - PEOPLE DO GO CRAZY!!! But, what choice do we have but to deal with it, and so would you. Even while going crazy about it all every now and then, in different ways.

I actually ended up having a bit of a blowout today. I felt so numb and I needed to feel something. So tonight instead of watching TV I shut myself in the kitchen, turned the volume of the speakers up to max, played some great music and danced my heart out while drinking almost a bottle of wine. Like a party-for-one, complete with awesome moves, big feelings all over, crazy laughing, tears and all..!

Day 85, Tuesday 2 June
Because of last night I was expecting a bit of a slow start today, but actually felt rather fresh - both physically and in my mind. Squeezed in a quick few kilometers on the treadmill before meeting a friend for lunch at a café.
We were supposed to clean the house today, but as Nathan worked the whole day, on Teams- and Zoom-meetings we postponed the cleaning until tomorrow. Wouldn't want him to miss out!
Instead I joined an afternoon Zoom Zumba class with a local instructor, which worked really well and was quite fun.

We are now shut off here in Abu Dhabi, from today and one week forward. You are not allowed to move between other emirates and Abu Dhabi, or even between the cities within the Abu Dhabi emirate. It doesn't affect us personally as such, but makes you wonder why though. Because at the same time, Dubai is opening up more and more and at a great speed all of a sudden - gyms, cinemas, restaurants, public beaches, attractions and much more. Their malls and the public sector is back to 100%, all with restrictions and rules of social distancing in place of course, but still. Why so different?
Here I'm just waiting for two things: for museums to open so I can go and feed my soul at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and for changing rooms to open..! I'm in urgent need of new sports tops and bras, and can't chance with the sizing there.

Day 86, Wednesday 3 June
Yeah, I miss my normal cleaning ladies, the current cleaning crew is not as thorough and spends an awful lot of time picking on each other... ha ha. Well, now the house is clean again, for a day or so, and that was the highlight of today.

Day 87, Thursday 4 June
Met Linda for breakfast today, at a café (I hope house visits in small groups will be allowed soon, otherwise it will get expensive to see my friends...). Just as I realised I had forgot to bring my own cutlery, the waiter laid out normal cutlery - and served the coffee in normal mugs! Oh, made us so happy! It's the small things! Although you do wonder why this café can use normal cutlery, and the café next door says they can't. No logic, as with so many things at the moment.

In the afternoon Nathan and I went to do the groceries. He hadn't been to the mall for ages, so it was his turn to come along! But to be honest, it was quite a sad outing today. As everyone is obliged to wear face masks, you can only see peoples eyes, and there is just no emotion in any of them. It felt like all the people walking about in the mall, including us, were just zombies - alive, but not living. I guess more people than just me are reaching some kind of breaking point, going a bit crazy, or having just about enough at the moment. Three months is a long time living isolated.

Sushi and shawarmas was a nice end to this week anyway! A win with going for groceries on a Thursday is being able to pick dinner up and not to have to cook!