Saturday, 28 March 2020

Silver linings in an unreal situation

This post is probably mostly for my own benefit: Some time in the future I might look back at this time and try to remember what it was like.

How things change over four weeks... At the beginning of the month the Northland drought was still top of my mind alongside my very busy work schedule. Come 14 March I was spending several hours most days in communication with our oldest son, trying to persuade him to shorten his university exchange in Finland - he wouldn't have a bar of it. While New Zealand was slowly increasing restrictions, he was insisting on seeing his time out. Finally, on 17 March, he gave in and I booked him a one-way flight home. Much of my free time was spent checking travel advisories, news in Finland, NZ and around the world, worrying, trying to persuade our son to move his flight further forward (at double the cost of his already expensive flight). While he was on his way home, the government announced the impending move to the highest alert level and a lockdown of NZ for at least the next four weeks (they even added a State of Emergency on top of it).

As a recent traveller from overseas, our boy is isolating himself from the rest of the family as much as possible for 2 weeks; he has no signs, but in reality, if he has the virus, chances are we will get it, too. I am so relieved he is back at home, Finland is hit worse than NZ, and our government has taken action earlier rather than later (which I am very happy about). Should anyone in our family get sick, I know the NZ health system will look after us. It is a great shame for our boy that he had to cut his stay short, he really like living in Finland, and he did well in the classes he took. Now that they have moved online, he decided to drop one class as he could not keep up without the f2f support. Still, he has kept up his 'Finnish for exchange students' class though the oral aspect of the course is more of a challenge now. With his arrival I finally got some decent sleep again, and we are now living the #nzlockdown as a family of five 💞

While all this was going on, work of course had its own challenges; as a small trust, our governing board and the board of directors had to make some hard decisions about staffing, and my team and I are very lucky that for now we have been kept on at full salary and full hours while working from home.
It's cosy but it works for now
I have worked from home for years in previous roles, and the children are much older now and much less dependent on me, but some of my team need to get used to this different way of working. To support them I spend a lot of time in online meetings, so I had to create some sort of sign for my family to let them know when not to come into my office or when to abstain from band-width hungry online games:

Improv with scraps, and on the back ...
... leftovers from Scrappy Appliqué QAL

Of course I could just have printed out a word doc - but where's the fun in that? I'll get rid of the remaining threads this weekend, and then it's just a matter of remembering to turn the sign over every time I start or finish and an online meeting lol

Official this is day 3 of #nzlockdown but we haven't actually left the house since Tuesday afternoon. Some of the ways to keep ourselves healthy and sane include online supermarket shopping (Click & Collect they call it here); since we have moved into town I haven't had to do weekly shopping trips anymore, in fact we tend to visit the supermarkets way too often! My online shopping list is a mile long (well, there is five of us after all); after this is over I hope we will be smarter about shopping and get into a weekly routine again. I have also started a winter garden; sadly the seedling section at our local garden centre was sold out on Tuesday, so we will have to rely on what I can grow from seed. With the feijoa trees full of fruit and the citrus starting to change colour, we will have a little of our own fresh food for a while still.

The children were not overly enthused to engage in the learning activities their teachers sent through for the second half of the week. The Ministry of Education decided to move the school holidays forward, so essentially they are now on holiday until 15 April. By then they are hopefully so bored that doing online learning will be exciting (well, let's hope so...). It's nice to see how middle and youngest boys are spending time together f2f incl. outside in the garden, and how all three of them in various combinations at different times play online games together. Without the pressure of having to go out to work we have more time together to watch movies and even play board games. Lots of silver linings!

1 comment:

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