The Virus Diary – Month 23 Infection

For almost two years you live in the fear of it. At first is the fear of the unknown. Then the fear of what you know. After that the fear of being tired of it until the realisation of the inevitable comes. No matter how many vaccines you get or how much time passes we will most likely all end up getting it before it fades away.


I was starting to accept it and after two vaccines felt more confident with my history of two cases of pneumonia in the past 10 years that I will be OK if I get it. Well now we are in the situation that I am about to find out as I got a positive result the other day. I am in quarantine voluntarily now as the tracking and official stuff are running way too behind here in Finland with all the new cases during Xmas holidays. Funny thing is that I did not even go anywhere and have worn a mask all the time so only goes to show how insidious this variant seems to be.

At first I felt just tired, then my muscles started aching from everywhere, last was the pounding headache. First I thought it was my period starting because those sometimes bring a pounding headache and lower back pain. This was though a bit different than before and generally lower back pain has not been on my monthly agenda so knew something was off.

Luckily I had home tests available and result was 15 mins away so managed to isolate myself as fast as I think was possible in this case. Now it’s just a waiting game for the others in the house…

Mutual understanding

At first, as a practical person, you take care of the things that you have to meaning try to save everyone else and isolate, disinfect, organise food delivery, cancel work shifts… do we even have panadol in the house? Then you sleep, sleep and sleep. I slept the evening, the night and until 2 pm the next day pretty much whole time. I even admit thinking when sleeping that I like this virus. It let’s me sleep without anything disturbing and I am not having too many dreams either. (I tend to dream so much that I can’t sleep from them as funny as it sounds…).

So after the first shock me and ”The Virus” found a mutual understanding. It needs to do it’s thing in my body and my body with a little help and guidance from the vaccines needs to it’s thing to the it. I did make it clear to ”The Virus” that I will be winning no matter what, but in return it can continue rolling in the world in a bit milder form that is not hurting so many people. Let’s see if it listened to me… 😉

Waiting game

So after the first few days I am feeling OK. It is in me and I am waiting for it’s next move. I did have a little bit of temperature last night, but I sweat that away during the night. Have been awake now the whole day and am finally feeling tired. Headache has passed, just tired and maybe a bit of cough? Well see. It’s a waiting game what happens now and if anyone else gets symptoms.

What I don’t want is months and months of quarantines as there are so many of us in the family, but what can you do you but to wait. Wait for it to evolve inside of you, wait to see if it finds a new victim around in the house or not. Wait for the time when it’s all gone, for good. In my case that will be in approx 9th of January!

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The Virus Diary – Month 18 Healing process

Bottom of the wave

There is beauty in the nature

It has been interesting to follow your mind and how it works in situations like this. First you convince yourself that nothing’s changed ,everything is just fine because you have to. It’s a way of surviving, it’s a way of managing the situation. The truth is that it’s not fine everything is upside down nothing is the way it used to be and it scares you.

They say that the healing process of sorrow or sudden grief works in waves. First you’re at the bottom then you rise to the top only to reach the bottom of the wave again later. This goes on until the tsunami reaches the shore or the storm comes down. No matter how far from the epicentre you are there is still waves they are just not that high. Meaning in time the lows are not that low anymore and they don’t come that frequently.

That is exactly how I feel right now. I wasn’t really consciously aware of it earlier, but yes I am going through a healing process, healing from a traumatic experience in a way. It wasn’t only the virus it was also the whole experience of climbing Kilimanjaro and the injury caused by it that prevented me from doing what I love for a very very long time (and probably in some sense permanently) meaning exercising and running.

It was a lot of things that caused the tsunami and my bottom of the wave.

Twisting mind

Mind is a funny thing. It twists things around to suit whatever the situation is. If you are in a panic mode all you need to do is survive and that is what you do you survive. Then when things calm down a little bit you get more strength to concentrate on other things than just the survival. And finally you find a way to look at everything from above and evaluate what has happened.

I can honestly say that last year was crap. Full of crap. The whole year was a disaster, the whole year was just bad thing one after another. Forcing you to live on the edge constantly struggling to maintain your freaking sanity.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one thinking this way, that I’m not the only one who has fought and struggled last year. I know my struggles are minor to what other people have experienced so I should not be complaining, but for me it was the hardest year of my life and I’m not lying. Looking back I have no idea how I survived and how I’m even somewhat sane right now.

Healing process

But getting back to the healing process. I have noticed lately that I’m thinking a bit more positively about the future. I have seen my friends, I have seen my colleagues, most of all I’m not constantly afraid, afraid if I will get the virus and how it will affect me. Will I get the bad variation and even if I get the mild variation will it have effects that last the rest of my life?

On the lake at our summer cottage

So I’m happy I have had the first dose of the vaccine, because at least now I feel more at peace, that I have done what I can to prevent the serious version of the virus. I know the battle is not over yet. The virus will stay with us forever, we just need to find a way to live with it. From mental perspective though, the shock and disruption caused by this lives with the people who experienced it forever. It has changed all of our lives undeniably forever in one way or another.

I know there is still a long way to go even for me in the healing process of this, but I think I’m on my way, I think the world is on its way. I think we’re finding some lost joy again off the way things used to be. Simple things, small things, like singing together. Such a simple thing that was denied from us and it almost tore my heart apart.

You need to survive so you just convince yourself I can do this. I can do this no worries super easy, I just won’t sing for a while that’s good, that’s fine. The truth is at some point enough is enough. If it’s a part of you that is really hard to deny from yourself. In the end you stopped thinking about it, stopped missing it and found other ways to replace that void. Now I sing less and less all the time. My vocal chords need some serious training after the holiday season I know! This is just an example of what we have been forced to deny, or cease to do, or have not done because we want to protect everyone else, our loved ones and yes sometimes ourselves too.

Protect everyone

Image from one of my past years roles ”police officer in blue” from a Finnish police series called Roba

I have done all the precautions I can for the past year and a half because I don’t, or past tense I didn’t want anybody’s life to be on my conscience. So I have worn a mask, I have kept my distance, I have worked from home and I have hardly met anyone outside ad/tv/movie productions which I count kind of as work and impossible to do remotely. On the other hand the hygiene has been impeccable in the productions I have worked so huge thanks to everyone the cast and crew for that.

So I hope it has helped. I have to think it has. I have to think that what I have done has made a difference because otherwise all the sacrifices that I’ve have done during this one and a half years would have been for nothing. So when you think should I take the vaccine, just know that there are a lot of people in the world doing everything they can to help you out so you would not get the serious version. The least you can do is help a little back and do the same if you can so we can at some point get back to somewhat normal.

While waiting for that I hope you have managed to keep a bit of holiday this summer and relax. Mine just ended, but I think I need some more 🙂

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The Virus Diary – Month 16 – Vaccinated, check!

Spring is here!

Once they started giving the vaccines all cities (and countries) have been able to roll them out on an accelerated pace. By mid May it was already my turn. I had a bit mixed feelings about it, but it was clear I am taking it as soon as possible. I have had a few pneumonias and generally just normal colds cause horrible coughs so I was afraid of the side effects of the vaccines. Then again of course if I would be getting bad side effects from the vaccine most likely I also would have gotten the ”serious” form of covid.

So weighing between getting the virus and getting side effects there was really no real dilemma. I got the vaccine when I had the chance and didn’t have any side effects. I do feel a bit less stressed now. Not that it has changed my life in any other way I still wear a mask, but it is great to be able to say to others that have been vaccinated that I am too so we can relax a bit.

The vaccination

I was amazed how well everything was organised. I got the time booked online and parked the car at a fair centre that has been closed for over a year. Last time I was there it was for a tv series ”Hotel Swan” shoot. They had built the setup there which is smart that the halls were used for something in the meantime. Anyways now I was walking to the same hall to get a jab in left arm.

It was like from a science fiction movie. Everyone walking in lines like ants to little cubicles and getting vaccines like in an assembly line. I have to admit it felt a bit unreal. I was born when there was no internet or pc’s and now we are mass vaccinating people and using our phones to create videos with special effects for everyone to see. And some say technology has not advanced. Well I say it has and A LOT.

Talking about videos I have been pretty busy entertaining myself and everyone else learning there tools making videos on TikTok and Instagram. Feel free to go and check them out, let me know in comments what you think and of course share, save and like. I am just beginning my social media journey so plenty more to come in everyday fashion, modelling, tv/movie extra work, running and nature. Links at bottom of this post.

Amount of cases still going down


Getting back to the virus the amount of cases have gone down since they put more restrictions in place and accelerated the vaccinations. So much that they eased of the restrictions about three weeks ago and society will be more opened up in the beginning of June. This is huge success as we are allowed to meet more people. Restaurants and gyms are open. Small concerts can be kept indoors and soon bigger ones outdoors. All important things and part of my life. I cannot wait to sing to a live audience again. I am sure there will be some tears as it will be such and emotional experience to all of us singers and also to our fans.

We did do a virtual concert which will go live next weekend 29.5. at 13:45. We sang all parts in advance and only a few of us will go onsite because of the restrictions and we definitely did not want to take any risks. Check my Instagram feed if you wish to listen to us sing I will 100% put something in my stories or posts before the event.

Feeling is good and trusting

Finally for the first time in over a year I do feel positive about this. The light at the end of the tunnel that i wrote about last time was not a mirage. It is definitely there, closer than ever. We just need to hang in a little bit longer and this time it truly feels like it won’t be long now.

So until that time when we can meet all our friends, go to a concert or theatre, travel overseas and in general give people hugs and shake hands. Most of all, I am waiting to be able to be closer to people. Even for a Finn (well and Aussie too) this social distancing has not been an easy thing. At some point I thought I was going to loose myself and become and introvert. Luckily the ship changed it’s course and I am good old extrovert me again 😉

Love and hugs to everyone! Hope situation in your country is getting better slowly also and if it isn’t just know that there is an end to this it seems and we are past the midpoint already for sure!

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The Virus Diary – Month 14 – Light at the end of the tunnel

It’s been so many months since we hit the second wave here in Finland. First we thought that things were getting better but then we quickly noticed that it was actually getting worse. Case amounts rose steadily to amounts higher than ever during the pandemic early this year.

Me and my daughter on a picnic. At least you can enjoy the nature!

So that meant more drastic measures were put in place and we were in partial lock-down for the past 7 weeks .For us here in Finland lock-down means that everything is pretty much closed or on hold. So no indoor sports, no singing, no dancing, no movies, no social gatherings. Although it sounds quite negative it’s really isn’t that in the end as we do get to go out in the nature. Finland is so scarcely populated.

We have been in this situation before last year same time when the pandemic began. Then everything was new we had no idea what was going to happen and we were scared and afraid even. Now I feel like ”we know the drill” already so repeat, repeat, repeat until you get the desired result. The desired result here being zero cases. So if this is wave 2 it makes you wonder how many more waves we still have ahead of us?

The second wave has actually been worse in case numbers probably due to more testing. So it is likely that once we get this second wave in control and loosen up the restrictions a little bit we’re going to hit the third wave at some point. Or maybe if we get everyone vaccinated quickly enough it won’t be that bad?

It is not the end

Whatever the case there is not end to this ”different time” time in the near future. We are given some positive news about vaccinations progressing, but the reality is that the virus is here to stay, it’s not going anywhere and we need to find ways to live with it on a more permanent basis instead of these constant restrictions and changes to our lives.

I think that may have been one reason why the Finnish Government made the decision they did this week to start easing the covid restrictions slowly. Naturally for this plan to go forward we will need to keep the figures down to level they are not. In any case it’s a positive sign that we are heading to the right direction.

Social distancing

I have been trying to find my ”zen” place by going to the nature regularly

We have been practising this ”social distancing” now for over 14 months! Think about it, 14 months! That is a lifetime for a teenager. They say we have lost a generation here. They talk about the ”covid-generation” and no wonder. I am an adult and it’s been hard for me. It’s been hard to be socially distant as that is not me, I am an extrovert. I love being around people, I love meeting people, but this past year I have found myself to be turning more to an introvert.

Luckily I found other ways to be social and/or meet people online and started to build my brand and network on social media. Links to profiles below in case you are not following me yet.

I have also made sure that I do get my dose of #foresttherapy as in the nature I relax and can forget about covid, restrictions and arrangements this situation has caused to all of us. My survival method has been wandering in the forest/nature and putting my energy to build my brand and social media appearance to generate leads for modelling and/or TV/moviw roles. Check my portfolio if you want to know more about that side of me.

Anyways, vaccine coverage is getting pretty good, case numbers are low, government is easing off the restrictions. I think we are heading to the right direction, but that does not mean we can continue living as before the virus?

One thing is sure; covid-19 virus is here to stay and we need to learn to live with it.

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The Virus Diary – Month 11 – Second wave

”As of 22 November there have been over 57.8 million cases and 1.3 million deaths reported globally since the start of the pandemic”

Source: WHO weekly report

And now 5th of January 2021 there has been 84,2 million cases and 1,8 million deaths (source WHO)

The amount sounds huge and is huge. I stopped thinking in days a while ago and so has WHO and everyone else. Let’s talk about months. How many more months? We had a nice summer break and everything was ”almost normal”. Then schools started and slowly the cases have been rising also here in Finland. Officially the southern part hit the ”third” phase, where the we are not able to track all the infections again. New restriction were put in place. All government public places are closed and private sector places suggestion is to do the same. No functions more than 10 people and if possible avoid even those.

So do not meet anyone, go anywhere or do anything. Simple huh?

Nowadays I feel like I live with headphones on all the time during the day…

It sounds easy when you put it like that, but being an extrovert like me (well at least most of the times… I got my ”I don’t want to see anyone” – moments too and that is what the forest is for) it’s hard having been working at home for 11 months and not really going anywhere or seeing anyone. They say live in the moment. Well this particular moment (or year 2020) I could skip as this seems to last forever. Then again it seems like it never happened which is strange.

The concept of time has definitely been different past year. It’s funny how you get used to certain things and expect them to happen in the same sequence, but disruption (like covid-19) puts everything in different perspective. It’s been hard to put things in line, side by side or right in front of you. Nothing is like it seems. Nothing happens like it used to. Nothing is predictable. Life is a continuous change.

I’m usually really good with change, but I have struggled to keep up with all of this. Schedules for kids change. Distance learning, summer holiday, not distance learning, autumn holiday. Shorter day, longer day. Distance learning, not distance learning. Oops we changed it again. Sorry, did we forget to tell you? With four kids and three different schools and four different grades, they are all treated a bit different and messages from teachers keep coming and you try to keep up, but this is not working.

In all honesty. Great try, but this will not work on permanent basis. Keep it simple and let’s get back to normal!

Yet I and probably many others have found some sort of peace or calmness with all this. I have noticed that when you need to spend so much time online it’s easier to have some sort of headphones on all day to catch phone calls and join meetings. I have learned to master remote technology and take full use of this flexible working our company offers which is a great benefit itself!

Here in Finland also the restrictions are not as bad as elsewhere. We do have them and they unfortunately have hit some industries more than others. It’s not ideal and a lot of people have lost their jobs, income or a loved one, but we have managed to keep this thing under control relatively well they say. We have not been forced to go into complete lockdown and wearing a mask is now normal. You don’t really see people without one anymore which is great and no doubt has helped in stopping the virus spreading into uncontrolled chaos. So I am happy to wear the mask a few more months if that helps. Let’s hope it does!

New year, vaccination, new beginning?

Now that the year changed, did we manage to dodge the worst of the second wave? Not sure yet. It did look really good just before Christmas, but now schools will start again in a few days and people will come back from their holiday destinations (Lapland seems to have been a more popular destination than normal for Finns) and we will know for sure where we are headed.

They have started vaccinating here in Finland too, only the hospital personnel so far but apparently the vaccinations are not progressing as quickly as some would hope. I am happy to wait for mine, wear the mask and avoid people a few more months knowing there may be an end to this.

Restrictions will continue here in Finland at least until the end of January 2021, but let’s see what happens after that. They opened a covid-19 drive/walk-through test station next door to my house a few months ago and working from home I have had live feed on how the pandemic is progressing. The higher the amount of infections the longer the queue to the tests seems to correlate. Now in past days the queue has been moderate so I am slightly hopeful.

What after all this?

So we have found some sort of equilibrium with the virus now and pretty sure some habits will stick long after it’s gone, but what will be the first changes? Will we be able to keep music festivals? Go to movie theaters and opera? We got tickets to opera as a present a while ago which have been unused, we got a bunch of movie tickets unused and I would surely love to go to a concert or sing in one myself for that matter. What about flying? I’m sure flying will change and masks may be a permanent thing when travelling, but will travelling in general ever be the same? Can we trust to travel overseas as freely as we did? I do miss seeing other places as much as I love Finland and the nature here. Mostly I miss mountains and views from high above. I miss the versatile nature.

What I miss the most though is seeing family, friends and give everyone HUGS. Truly hope we can get those back soon <3 Everything else can wait <3

Stay strong, safe and healthy everyone. We are so much closer to the end of this now than a year ago! (hahaha)

(And I’m kinda hoping there won’t be too many posts to my virus diary anymore 😉 )

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The Virus Diary – Day 212 – Second wave or not?

Let the eyes speak for you 😀

That’s the question on everybody’s lips everywhere. Some countries seem like they have never been over the first wave, and some have clearly entered the second wave phase already. I suppose Finland is tiptoeing on the rope not sure on which side to fall. We would need to be able to contain the ”R factor” lower than 1 meaning around 30 cases a day (if I remember correct), but since the beginning of August we have been breaching the limit continuously which indicates that we are entering the ”second wave”.

Based on all the above the government now recommends everyone to use a face mask in public transport and potentially crowded spaces where you cannot keep the recommended distance from other people. They also recommend again for everyone to work from home so the ”not working from home” lasted only less than two weeks.

The news of recommendation to work home does not really change anything for me as I will continue working from home anyway for the rest of the year at least. I have grown to accept and live with it already and I don’t even miss the office. I do miss people and getting together with people and it’s been so great to be able to do that with family and friends during the summer. It was especially a relief that I was able to attend my grandfathers funeral as he passed away during the summer (not corona related).

Schools start

Enjoying holiday on the beach . Had perfect weather!

At the same time as the situation already began to get worse, also the schools started so more people travelling and interacting with each other on a daily basis. I for once have no other choice than to take public transport when I take my youngest to school. She started in first grade just last week meaning no more dropping children to daycare for me after 17 years! When you put it like that it seems like forever, but in the end it’s not. So we have tried various other methods to get there, but public transport just makes most sense, and with the mask recommendation and me also wearing one, I don’t feel that paranoid as I did before.

I think people are starting to take the recommendation more seriously by the day and I can see more and more masks. I think we all want to avoid this from blowing again into our face and that we don’t need to go into partial lock down again like we did during the spring. It is in everybody’s benefit to keep the community running.

We need the jobs, we need BAU!

What next?

So what will happen after the second wave? A third wave? A fourth wave? I am happy to see that many companies have adopted this new way of running business and to them this hassle with sanitizers and precautions have become business as usual.

Since we do not have knowledge of the exact length of this situation it makes sense to start running your business around the fact that The Virus will be among us for an indefinite future so you might as well learn to co-exist with it.

So I suppose that is where we are headed, a life with this virus as a part of our lives just like all the other ones before it. It will make though permanent changes to how we perceive things, how we work and how we interact with each other. For example it was really hard to learn not to shake hands when you meet someone new and introduce yourself. It was a bit awkward actually at first I admit. You did not know quite what to do or how to be.

Nowadays I use the Aussie tactic so I speak to strangers 😉 But should there maybe be some rules around this too? Like who talks first just like you have with shaking hands? I suppose this is all yet to come. One thing I am pretty sure about is that shaking hands is probably history, but hugs will never be <3 ( trust me I have hugged so many people when we finally could!)

How am I coping?

One music project I was working on with a colleague

Good question. Spring was tough, summer a bit easier and now it’s getting better all the time. I have found other ways to keep myself busy with the leg being useless. I have had a few singing projects and multiple different tv/movie productions. So when you are not able to travel what do you do on your holiday… well work of course in something you love like music and modelling!

It has been so great to be able to soak into something completely different from family chores every now and then. I can say that it has been one of the most exiting summers of my life. I have found a way to channel my energy to something else and discovered that actually I want to keep doing these movie/tv productions and modelling in some form in the future. I will find a way to educate myself and get better at it. I already had my first bit part (part with talking) on a series so small steps!

BUT it’s been tough no doubt about it, and everyone I have spoken to have had the same feeling. Spring was very tough and summer a bit easier. We are coping , we are adapting and tomorrow will come, again.

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The Virus diary – Day 152 – Holiday season

The situation here in Finland is so much better than it was the last time I wrote. The government decided to lift the restriction in early June for the first time and have since done some more changes to them. Now we are allowed to eat in a restaurant (with restrictions… 50% capacity inside and so on) and go to gym and other places. Practically almost everything is now open. Not that it means that they are doing well. The restrictions do require some ingenuity and extra work. Nevertheless I am happy that we are getting back to some sort of ”normal” finally. and the ”exception law” hasn’t been applied since 16th of June. The amount of new cases is close to nothing and even though the first restrictions were lifted already earlier this month new cases amount has not increased, so we are in a good situation it seems.

Camping fun

Enjoying the sunshine after long dark winter <3

Since it’s looking generally better here, the number of new cases is going down to less than 5 in the whole country, we also decided to go for a short ”family getaway” camping with the kids. If a teenagers asks ”Mom, can we go camping ?”, I will head packing straight away. It is such a rare occasion nowadays that they actually want to do something together. Decided to go fairly close here to a campsite that has both a water park and an amusement park next to it to avoid too much hassle with travelling and knowing that it had just opened up for the summer (normally they would have been open from May) thought it would be fairly empty anyway and I was right.

They had taken all precautions and naturally we also did our part and kept washing our hands and waited patiently for the ”clean-up” breaks in the amusement park. Camping itself was fun and it was great to see the kids getting along so well. They sometimes keep bickering around constantly and then suddenly get along so well. Today was a good day in that sense so camping turned out to be a success.

Next day we went to the water park which was rare luxury that we had such perfect weather. It was closer to +26 which is a lot here in Finland and it was so hot ! Sliding down into cool water including a bit of sunshine was perfect a way to spend the day. In the water park they also had two ”shifts” for customers, morning and evening ticket. This was their way to limit the amount of people coming in so we would not be all full packed next to each other. Apart from the mosquitoes and black flies it was a perfect and much needed holiday.

YES I did go on that crazy swing high up!

Working from home continues

Although the situation if better everywhere in Europe our company has taken the approach to keep all offices closed until the end of the year. This means that I won’t be returning to our office in the city centre for a while yet, but at least I can go and eat lunch outside somewhere if nothing else ,since the restaurants are now open again.

I have done some changes now to my ”home workplace” to accommodate this change. Got a proper office chair and will most likely use a small chest height cabinet as a table and stand every now and then. Holiday is now over and it’s back to the grind again on Monday. Luckily weather will be warm enough to work outside for a few months more so I will take advantage of that and change spots a bit around the house and terraces. If I will be able to get my leg back in shape again maybe do some shorts walks during the day to get some every day exercise that I lack now without commuting (walking to metro, walking to office, walking to lunch and so on). Physiotherapist might disagree, let’s see once I get my first appointment.

How will choir singing continue?

Most choirs are on summer holiday ,at least more amateur ones, so there is no practising anyway during June-July. What will happen in August is still a bit open to many of us. Some have started practising with the whole choir, some in smaller groups, some through zoom, some not at all. If the situation continues to be this good then maybe we can get back to some sort of arrangement on live rehearsals, but since singing (and shouting) have been proven to spread the virus through aerosols we are being cautious for a reason.

I am still taking part in various different virtual choir projects and love them all but I do miss the live situations and singing, not to mention actual performing. BUT this is now and who knows how the situation changes in the next few months. Hopefully to the best and we can get together again without fear of infecting anyone with our lively singing. Gospel singing has never been a very ”inconspicuous” type of singing and performance 😀

Who knows what the rest of the year looks like. We just need to wait and see just like until now. One day at a time.

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The Virus Day 116 – Restrictions lifted slowly

Primary schools and kindergartens opened up again this week here in Finland. In a way it’s an end to a certain era of the fight against Covid-19. I doubt we will need to have this drastic measures again, but you never know. It has helped a little with the concentration now that there is less hassle at the house during the day. I suppose next week I will finally know the real effect of working home alone. I don’t really remember how it felt even because it feels it’s been such a long time with full house.

They will also start opening up other places slowly in the beginning of June like restaurants and the group size restrictions is increased from 10 to 50 people. Still for example many offices will stay closed, ours included, and restaurants are definitely not going to be fully operational yet, nor any other venues or shops.

Closures and empty space

After a few months I visited a shopping centre a few days ago and it was a bit eerie feeling with so many shops either closed temporarily or permanently. Quite a few had closing down sales which makes you wonder what there will be left after a few weeks? Even if there is something left, will anyone have money to spend anymore? How vulnerable our society is and how dependent on everyone spending money. We have built it around materialism maintaining the standard of living . Now that we are home we don’t buy anything ”on the way somewhere” or ”passing by”. I am actually hoping that this will be the end of the materialism in the world in a way and have noticed that I am thinking more consciously about what I put my money into, do I really need it and have found a lot of things you can actually do without!

I am worried, like everyone is, about the future. How all this will affect us and how long will it take before we recover from this. Then again good things may happen. We travel less overseas and even to work so it must have a positive impact on the air quality and climate. Maybe more people will continue working from home and travel less in general and pollution will go down. Then again is that enough to make a real impact on the climate crisis? I for one have changed my thinking. I have no desire to travel overseas currently and even when it is possible it may take a while before I would consider doing it.

I don’t think people will stay put and never travel again, but I do think that they will travel less far and travel more domestic and shorter distances. People will continue playing it safe for a while and the further to the unknown you go, the less sure you can be that you won’t get or spread ”The virus” so it makes sense not to rush around the world.

Home sweet home

Just being home has become more and more attractive. I do still miss certain things like the salad in restaurant Teatteri in Helsinki city centre where I used to go on my lunch break. I also notice thinking more and more about ”if I ever get to do that again”, so something has changed. This current ”normal” is so stuck in your head already that you start remembering what it used to be like and reminiscing the past and ”nice” things. Even petty things that you can definitely do without.

You find yourself thinking ”that actually it’s quite vain”… Really just going to a concert or restaurant to eat out. I mean you can do without those. Then again, you can do without a lot of things, but all these ”nice things”, consuming and seek of pleasure and ”good feeling/atmosphere” is what we live for. We humans just do that naturally and I don’t think we will ever stop seeking pleasing experiences and stop doing things that make us feel good.

But for now I have learned to like just being home and when we do get to go to a restaurant or a small concert again after all this time I will embrace those moments and support the people who do them. They do make life so much more pleasurable and fun!

What I will though continue doing is evaluating everything material that I buy with the following criteria;

  • Do I really need this?
  • Can I live without this?
  • Is this a good quality product that won’t break in first use?
  • Is there a more sustainable alternative?
  • Do I really need this :)?

So at least my mind set has changed . How has yours changed?

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The Virus – Day 97 – How much longer?

This is now longer new and exciting. This is no longer the new normal. This is now abnormal and I would like it to end. I think that pretty much sums up the feelings of the past few weeks, but let’s dig deeper into why I feel this.

No running… no forest, so gardening!

I have been not been able to run for four weeks now and I have been indoors now for 8 weeks I think? I have lost count. It’s not easy when you are used to being outdoors and especially the forest has been my lifeline. Now I have not been able to even think about climbing a small hill let alone hike. I try to tell myself that if I just stay still, it will get better eventually and I can run again, but it’s hard. Harder than I thought.

So past two weeks has been absolute stand still exercise wise. I tried the other weekend a little bit of cross training, but no, it hurt, so decided to concentrate on gardening and music instead.

Work and home balance is complicated

Work seems to pile up as it is harder to concentrate with so many distractions at home, meetings, phone calls, skype calls, even video calls in the evenings for hobbies. Life is just pure online gala and I so miss my forest and total silence.

Also when work is so ”close” and no exercise scheduled it’s harder to keep the separation between home and the work time. You need to cook food in the middle of the day ,or go to the shop in between meetings and respond/read the ever-continuing flow of emails and messages from work, school and pre-school/Kindergarten.

Your whole entire life is just a big jumble of scheduling the day between these different medias, apps and online ”things”.

My lifeline = gardening and music

That is why I have had to figure out a bit different lifelines without running, gym or forest or even choir practise. One of them is gardening. We have been lucky with the weather so me and my youngest daughter have been digging the yard upside down since I have too much energy. It will look absolutely beautiful!

The other lifeline has been singing and playing the piano. I am grateful that I have been able to take part into so many wonderful and interesting productions, yes online! So singing into microphone or your phone with a backing track. See one of them ”Finlandia-hymn” which is one of the most important national songs for Finland published on Monday 27th of April for the Veteran’s day in Finland on the Youtube channel of the Finnish government. I have also done a lot of practising on piano. Bought new sheet music and all these things have allowed me to have a bit of break from the work and chore routines.

But still I really miss running by now and especially the forest!

Singing project for the Veteran’s day in Finland reminded me of my grandfather, a war veteran himself who passed away a long time ago <3

New interesting thoughts

I have though noticed myself thinking a bit differently about this situation than before. I used to think ”it’s fine, it won’t last, one day at a time” and so on. A bit of pep talk to myself, but now I notice I have started thinking a bit more ”negatively” I would say. The thoughts are more like ”If we ever get to go there again”, ”It would be so nice to still one time do this” and so on. You start remembering and reminiscing all these great places you have visited and nice relaxing routines and habits you had which you can no longer have.

The excitement of the ”new and interesting” situation has disappeared and you just want it to be over with. The truth though is that this will never be ”over with”. Covid-19 is here to stay and who knows how long it takes before we find a vaccine and by that time we have all probably had it anyway.

This all makes me think that I will probably need to get used to the idea that eventually no matter how I try to avoid it, I will get it and just need to hope for the best. The reason why I fear getting it a bit is that I have scarred lungs, so it might potentially be pretty bad for me, but then again I might fall ill from it without even knowing and I am generally well and have no other underlying risk factors.

Who knows how long any of us can really avoid it?

Self isolation continues

What ever the scenario, self isolation will continue for our family. We will keep following the government regulations and when we do get the lottery ticket of corona virus possibly later on we’ll deal with it then. Until that happens, I will keep avoiding it if I can, but I am more in terms with the fact that probably none of us can avoid it… In these thoughts… Take care, be safe, keep calm and avoid people ❤

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The Virus – Day 83 – Life is still life

Yep, all good. Life seems to continue normal and you don’t even think about this ”new normal” that much anymore. Teenagers think that this is better because they can wake up 15 minutes before the school starts and preschooler thinks it good because she can be with mommy all day.

Morning circle and crafts through tablet and video chat app

BUT she does get bored, ”has nothing to do” and wants to see her friends. We keep saying we can’t meet friends now and explain why and she has begun to talk about ”can we do it when the virus is not here anymore”. Her birthday is in the beginning of May and I have said that we cannot keep her birthday ”in person” this year, but we need to organize something maybe later, but we have discussed we might keep a virtual get together with friends. Let’s see.

They manage to keep all school classes through internet. For sports they go outside and do something, for piano and singing lesson they do it through tablet pointing at the keyboard or singing to teacher, but other subjects they keep in Teams/Google Classroom/OneNote. Some are with all students, some work is on their own and sometimes also the teacher seems to be in the video chats.

Even the kindergarten keeps video morning circle and crafts twice a week so we got 5 people online in different video chats at the same time in different spaces in the house. Lucky we are in Finland where the internet speed is not the obstacle for this! It’s mostly funny listening everyone babble their own thing, but then again it’s sad that this really is the situation now, how things have changed in just a few months and that you feel safer inside your house than outside in ”fresh” air with other people.

What I miss the most

Easter service streamed

I miss just going out, getting dressed up in something else than just sweatpants. I miss being around people, I miss the city buzz and I most of all I miss singing together especially with our energetic choir Gospel Helsinki. We were supposed to have a Gospel service today and few other performances during Easter, but now there was only a streamed service with three singers and the band. Rest of us were at home listening and singing along, but it’s not the same. Day by day that’s probably the thing I miss the most, singing together.

So I am singing alone and have started to play piano again. Haven’t touched it for a few months, but now have tried to play it almost daily. Mostly accompanying myself singing. I’m no pianist, but it’s fun to practise. I record them also and then to ”criticise” myself both on singing and playing so it’s a learning session too. Car is a good place to practise also as there is nobody to bother you and you can sing-a-long Spotify as loud as you wish. It is especially good for Gospel song practise as it tends to be a bit vocal especially for penetrating soprano voice.

I did do a ”virtual choir” project last weekend where hundreds of singers around Finland joined to sing a song together. We all recorded our part on our own with a back up track and send it to the choir conductor who with his team will then compile a video. It was a lot of fun, good practise on self criticism. We are all looking forward to it being published later next week hopefully. These are all new and exciting things, but they do not replace ”the real thing”.

WFHWK and no training

Virtual choir singing with headset

WFHWK aka Working From Home With Kids is tough and I have it easy! Mine are already older so they do not need that much entertainment. Still I notice that this week has been hard. Both mentally and physically. I am not able to exercise as my leg got worse. I have finally self diagnosed myself with IT band inflammation caused by too much running (doh, who would have thought 46 km in one week is too much being twice as much as normally!). It’s completely my own fault, I was not following how much I was running I just kept going and realized too late it was too much.

I can feel that not being able to get the pressure out by running, or other exercise, I am getting a bit tired and more tense. Hence piano, and singing have been good distraction and relaxation to get my mind of work, cooking and house cleaning for a while.

I have already come to terms that this is what it’s going to be for a long time now. Older kids most likely won’t go to school until August, my youngest won’t be going to kindy until June, we won’t be going to Flanders choir games in July with the choir, our spring concert is not happening and we are lucky if we can go to our summer cottage for Midsummer like we do every year with my parents.

How much longer

It’s hard to say how long this will still last here in Finland. They predict we might be close to the peak, but I don’t want to keep my hopes up. I think it’s better to just not expect anything but just live day by day and be happily surprised if it ends earlier than you thought. We know for sure this stricter confinement is going to last until mid May and large gatherings until end of May, but all that may change. We should be wiser again after Easter and see how things have evolved.

Around the world situations seem to vary and some countries are worse hit than others. Right now I believe also that the best solution is to flatten the curve but I don’t believe we can completely eradicate the virus and we must loosen the restrictions and get back to ”normal” slowly everywhere at some point.

And YES we need to help all countries to mitigate the impact because there is no going back. We are a ”one world” whether we want it or not. Ever since the fist air planes started flying or actually ever since humans started walking from Africa up North we have been travelling from one place to another and mixing up. It’s our nature to explore and be curious.

I don’t think though that travelling will be quite the same anymore and new remote technologies will definitely change the way we work, but we will still move and I’m sure that when we can I will too. I will go and have a coffee at the local market square in the sunshine during my lunch break and just watch people pass by and enjoy the buzz. And then I will walk back to our office in the city centre and continue my work day. Just as before. Or will I?

Take care, be safe, keep calm and avoid people <3

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