Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Saturday, December 26, 2020
2020 is turning out to be a unique Xmas for many. In 2019, when we decided to emigrate, I forgot to qualify my promises of many shared holidays and visits home with 'unless an imminent global pandemic brings the world to a standstill'... How could I have been so remiss?
In summer, things had calmed down enough that I got back to Scotland once, and down to Italy once too. Charlotte moved in with us for a few months and Marcel got over to Denmark albeit without his other half, which is so much more than the majority of international families managed this year. But this resurgence of the virus meant I had my first Christmas holiday apart from my kids. Marcel and Milly live in London and somehow managed to escape by getting on the last train before the government threw London into lockdown. So they're spending Xmas with her mother but haven't a clue when they'll next be allowed home. So Marcel had a family around him, even if it was a different one. Mum got over to Derek's so had a family too, even if it was a smaller one than she's used to.
Charlotte had decided by the end of November to investigate the Covid test requirements for both Spain and Denmark before buying a ticket home for the holidays, but that was before several spokes got entangled in her wheels... Firstly, she caught Covid at an American Thanksgiving dinner thrown by one of her flatmates just for their own household, so everything was on hold for the first two weeks of December. Next, her appointment to pick up her Spanish residence permit, which was horribly complicated by Brexit, was moved from December to January, leaving her with no physical proof that she had a legit reason for needing back into Spain if the situation worsened. Finally, having no Danish health card number made it difficult to book herself the Corona test she needed to fly back home to Madrid after Xmas. She decided that the best option was to stay in Spain, despite her flatmates managing to escape home for Xmas (for the most part at least). She contacted the family she usually au pairs for to see if she could see them off and on for Xmas and was to be warmly welcomed, on condition she got herself a negative corona test before dropping round for an extended stay starting on Xmas eve as they have an elderly relative staying with them.
On Xmas eve, she received blood test results saying that although she had recently had covid, her blood was on the borderline between 'recently infected, on the verge of developing antibodies' and 'possibly still infected'. As it had been a full 24 days since she had been diagnosed Covid positive, much longer than the 14 day quarantine period, she had been back at work nearly two weeks, and all her symptoms had disappeared, she had assumed the results were a formality, but with 24 hours to go Charlotte found herself Xmasless. The family were almost as devastated as she was and drove her over all the food and presents they had prepared for her and she got to eat her feast with them on a 4 hour Xmas zoom call from her bedroom, but their girls were upset, as was Charlotte who is the most family-oriented of my kids. Their many hours on zoom, their banquet, our game of monopoly and our family Xmas evening zoom call with Leeds and Glasgow made being entirely alone for Xmas passable, or at least as passable as that ever could be for a 20 year old girl. Hopefully when she goes for another test on Monday, her bloods will have levelled off enough to let her spend New Year and her 21st birthday next week with her Madrid family, otherwise I've no idea what she'll do. One thing is for sure, Charlotte has grown and matured once again through the adversity life has thrown at her, to be a very capable young woman.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
I don't personally know anyone who's had Covid. Of course, I've heard of many friends of friends, classmates of my kids and even Léon's boss at the restaurant but not a single close friend or relative has caught it. This doesn't mean I've been reckless or similar, it just means that other than the restrictions this year has brought, it hasn't really impacted me greatly... or hadn't.
When you live in a big city you're of course at a greater risk than us out here in the countryside. And when you flatshare with students or assistant teachers you are meeting people daily who are meeting a lot of people. Charlotte has an American flatmate, Heidi. Heidi was missing home so arranged a Thanksgiving meal for the whole flat at the end of last month. Charlotte ended up sitting directly opposite Heidi at the meal and of course, Heidi woke up a few days later with Covid. Charlotte began warning me on the Monday night that the chances of her having escaped it were minimal. She phoned work and quarantined herself from the rest of the flat. She had no cough or breathing issues, but a slight temperature and sore throat meant she managed to get a test anyway and of course she'd managed to catch it. We're now two weeks down the line and she's fine, though a little tired. She's even back at work, so all's well that ends well, but having my kid diagnosed with Covid in a country I can't currently get into because of Covid restrictions, in the middle of my exams isn't my favourite pastime. Needless to say I have spent so much time on the phone over the last fortnight that I haven't even started Xmas shopping and cards are completely out the window. It was lovely to know Charlotte's Spanish mum (Sofia who she au pairs for every summer) was on standby to take care of her if she had got it bad. But Charlotte's a wee star and she managed to look after herself throughout, seemingly unfazed. As it was I think she's simply binged the entirety of Spanish Netflix in a fortnight.
And going forward, I guess she is now further down my worry list, which is nice!
Monday, December 14, 2020
When we lived in Scotland, we always bought our Xmas tree from Ikea. For a £25 tree, you got a £20 voucher to spend in Ikea, and my family can easily spend £20 in Ikea so the tree became the great annual £5 bargain. And when you are married to someone who grew up in a Scandinavian pine forest, mentioning the words 'artificial tree,' as probably still is the norm in Scotland, is tantamount to asking for a divorce!😂
Last year was our first year in Scandinavia. We're surrounded by Xmas tree farms - we have at least three within walking distance, so we intended to get one there. But we're faffers and somehow we overshot the deadline and they'd run out by the time we got round to it. We ended up buying the last remaining tree in Aldi, but it cost less than a tenner and was actually the prettiest one we'd ever got!
Friday, December 11, 2020
Wednesday, December 09, 2020
Saturday, December 05, 2020
I should have guessed back when he was a wee baby, exactly how his career was going to pan out...