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 – 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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The Virus – Day 75 – New (different) reality

This new reality is becoming more and more ”normal”. I have gotten used to this waking up and not going anywhere. It’s actually nice not having to hurry anywhere. My 6 yo has been really good with her preschool home work and has begun to understand that mommy works now and mommy has meetings. She often comes and says hi to my meetings and has even met the children of my colleagues. It’s in a way brought both my colleagues and me closer together, but helped my children to understand what I do for work and see that I do actually talk to people and not just ”play with the computer”.’

Live stream training tested

We have also found the wonderful world of online training. Have tried Body combat, Cross training and Core so far. Was supposed to do Yoga again today but then I twisted my leg _again_ and it was so sore I could not do it after all.

I am still not sure what is wrong with it, but it helps when I avoid side movement especially from left to right and seems to get better in time. It was OK already in the evening and was able to do a walk. Anyway great that we have these options. So thankful to every company supporting everyone in their own way to endure this time.

Supporting local businesses

As the situation is getting worse around the world and also here in Finland, it is clear that the economic situation of many companies is bad, really bad. Now is the time to support the local businesses. So we did exactly that today by getting take away home since we can’t go out to dinner at a restaurant like we sometimes do on the weekend.

It feels funny though how eating out has become eating in…

I still watch the news everyday, but notice that there are more news about ”other” things too and I’m not that keen anymore to know what’s going on. I do want to follow, but it’s not that important anymore. I am getting more interested in what new exciting things I might do tomorrow that I never had time to before like studying something maybe.

Big girl (always knew she was)

Our own little reality in our own little bubble has become quite important. Me and my youngest have had so much fun, she’s grown and taken responsibility so much and helped out voluntarily. I know she can, but it’s been a game of asking every time, but now she empties the dishwasher on her own, does her preschool work on her own and just ”let’s me know to check them”.

So this isolation is not all that bad and makes me think what did we need all that hassle for? Why did we need to move everyday from one place to another in such a hurry? What did we need all those little gadgets, widgets and trinkets for?

All we really need is nutrition… oh and toilet paper!! 😉

Take care, be safe, keep calm and avoid people ❤

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The Virus – Day 70 – Another week @ home

I had to go to the shop today a bit further to get some food and my car had a layer of dust on top of it. I started thinking how long has it actually been since I have driven my car. I did not remember. It’s my fifth week working from home and 3rd week working from home with kids. Government just announced today (30th of March) that it will stay like this at least until mid May.

My own safe bubble

It was pretty quiet at the shop and people kept avoiding each other well. We Finns try to keep an arms length away anyway, but now you can see people taking the other aisle or stopping before passing by to keep the distance. At least at the shop where I went you could find anything you possibly need, there is only shortage of hand soap and sanitizer it seems.

It still feels like this is not real, this cannot be happening. Driving home I realized I was actually happy to get home to my own bubble where I know I am fine and forget the reality for a while focusing on something completely different. That is why running is good.

Knee hurting

Unfortunately I have hurt my left knee (too much trail running and running in general so probably ligament inflammation) so I am unable to train or even go for a walk to get distracted. The pain keeps coming and going so have decided to halt exercise completely until it heals because it got worse after I went for a short bike ride and walk with my daughter. No need for doctor as I know he/she would just advise me to rest which I know myself I need to do. Besides they are busy with much more important thing than my knee.

Let’s see how long it takes to heal, but I am in a way happy to take a break, but need to find other ways to pass the time and every now and then get my mind of what is happening. It seems to help. You can concentrate again much better to solve pressing issues at work and help the kids when you are able to momentarily get carried away with something completely different for a while.

It used to be going to the gym, running, choir practise and singing, but all that is now on hold. I think I will start playing the piano again… have not touched it too many times since we moved and at least you can sing along… Let’s see how long the family is willing to listen to that though…

Serious or mild case?

Stories of people that have become immune to Covid-19 and have healed from the virus are very different. Some seem to get it very serious and some milder. They have had very high fever for days and days and some only a bit of cough and aching here and there. It’s scary not knowing which one you might get as it doesn’t seem to make a difference if you are in good shape or not.

Days pass by pretty quickly and there is some sort of routine already. We’ll see, maybe by the end of the week my thoughts will be different.

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

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The Virus – Day 69 – @ home with kids W2

Thought I would start a ”diary” on this situation as there are many things going on my mind and maybe writing them down might help. I will start from the beginning and hop to this day 69 (according to WHO. They started to publish the situation reports on 21st of January 2020).

When we got back from Kilimanjaro (see my Kilimanjaro challenge and journey here) first Covid-19 cases had already reached Europe and it wasn’t too long before it was here in Helsinki too. If we would have had the Kili trip two weeks later it most likely would have been cancelled, so lucky we did it when we did.

First week

First week back from Kili I was following the global news wondering what this means for us and how long it will take before we are in the same situation. Things were getting worse in Italy quickly and China was doing pretty bad. I knew it would reach Helsinki and my suburb eventually and since I have bad lungs, I made the choice about 4 weeks ago to continue working from home.

Bad lungs meaning if I get a flu and it goes to my lungs I cough for weeks and weeks so did not want to catch this one if I can avoid it. Plus I have had pneumonia a few times in the past 10 years so don’t want that again.

Second week

Things escalated really quickly. First advice was to avoid social contacts. Then all gatherings of over 500 were not to be held until end of May 2020 (meaning our spring concert would be cancelled). Then schools and kindergartens were partially closed (those who really need can take their children to school grades 1-3 and kindergarten any age). About the same time sports venues, public spaces closed their doors to everyone. Then no public gatherings no matter how many people to pubs, restaurants and borders all closing earlier this week.

Last measure the government made was closing the Helsinki Metropolitan area from the rest of Finland last night (27th of March) as we have most cases in the country and they are trying to avoid this from spreading to the more scarcely populated are of Northern Finland where they do not have the equipment nor personnel to handle outbreaks of larger scale.

Bad dreams

Long story short this is what has happened so far and I must say it has been frightening and unbelievable. You feel like you are watching a Hollywood disaster movie in real life. I have had bad dreams for a few weeks now and I am one of those people who remember them always. Sometimes it’s nice if the dream is a good movie, but lately they have been more horror movies than comedies. I would rather sleep during the night and not keep dreaming, but hey what can you do. I seem to have another life when I am asleep so have gotten used to that and know that they reflect my days, feelings and stress level.

Anyway today was OK and the weekend was a welcome break, but it has been tough getting used to this. There doesn’t seem to be any good news and the future looks uncertain in so many ways Everyone is struggling to grasp the magnitude of this and the consequences. I think after the initial shock next week will be already easier for me as I get used to this ”new reality” indoors and behind closed borders, but to be honest I don’t worry about me as much as I worry about others. So far we have it all good but I keep thinking how this will affect everyone in the world and how many sad stories there will be. I am sure there will be some happy endings too, but one thing is certain, the world will never be the same.

It’s an uncertain future and unforeseen things are happening. One thing is though in common this seems to affect every country around the world and every person either directly or indirectly. Sharing and caring about each other becomes more important and who knows maybe this will unify the world in a surprising way. I am hoping that anyway <3

So how is everyone?

What kind of feelings does this situation arise in you? How are you doing in your country? It would be nice to share thoughts so let me know and comment.

Take care, be safe, keep calm and stay indoors.

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