Motherhood, Personal

Life Update: Living Abroad Amidst Pandemic

I got a notification from my domain provider that my subscription was about to expire. Phew! I never had the time (and courage) to write here these past months. I felt like writing puts too much pressure on me lately that I had to give up blogging for quite some time. For almost a year, I think. I went through a lot of different things after giving birth to Sapphire and then COVID happened.

READ: Pregnant And Away

So overall, we are fine. We are coping and still smiling. But you know, if there’s one thing that has been very challenging about living abroad these days is the fact that we’re living far from our families amidst a pandemic. Before it hits, we could still have a lot of nice walks outside without wearing masks. We could greet each other without the fear of transmitting some virus to one another. At least, we could forget the fact that we only have few friends here because we could smile and laugh with strangers on some funny things we see together. We could have some small talks with someone inside a bus or a tram. We could have some real life conversations with our colleagues.

At least, we can forget that we miss our families and friends in the PH.

We’ve had some really lonely days, Nico and I. As now parents, we’re always trying our best to provide a happy home for our kids. I can’t talk for Skyler and Sapphire because I think they’re still in the stage where they make some childhood memories. What they do and feel as of now will be a part of what they will be in the future. And this worries me a lot. I’m afraid they grow up in a world where they have to put the things they want aside due to restrictions.

One day in winter where we went out to play in a skating rink near our apartment.

Being a foreigner, of course, still adds up to this.

There’s always a fear in me whenever we are outside just because we are not originally from here. We’ve seen a lot of news on TV about some people being attacked just because they’re “different” from others. This pandemic has worsen this situation and we all are struggling in a lot of different ways, I guess. I’d like to think that this will challenge us but will also somehow make us stronger.

The kids still go to the daycare.

Because a lot of parents are still working, the daycare centers are still open. I appreciate the fact that they always try to be cautious in the daycare center. The adults who look after the kids usually wear masks. Parents should also wear masks whenever we take the kids to and from the daycare. They still do the same activities they used to do before but the outdoor trips seemed to lessen. 

Skyler and Sapphire with their costumes for one of their activities in the daycare

 

READ: Overcoming Your Kid’s First Days Of School

Of course, I still worry. Who would not? We send our kids to the daycare knowing they will be meeting a lot of people. We don’t know where they came from before they get there.

Did they catch the virus before coming to the daycare?

Did they sit beside someone who has it?

Do they live with someone who is sick?

Believe me, these questions haunt me every single time we send our kids to the daycare but when I try to think of the things they will not get if we don’t send them there, I think twice. Parenthood is all about decision making for the sake of your kids, you know. And believe me, it is not always the best and the right decision. You just need to choose. Lucky if it’s the right one.

Getting common flu is something.

Because of the situation, we tend to take care of ourselves more. It’s even more important for Nico and I not to be sick because of our kids. But when the kids do get sick, it’s a totally different thing. This can be really frightening to us. We cannot afford to just sit and wait for it to pass, like what we usually did before. 

In Skyler and Sapphire daycare, they don’t accept kids even with mild flu symptoms. Kids need to have 1 full day without symptoms at home before sending them back to the daycare. Because of this, Sapphire and Skyler has had a few tests already to make sure they’re free from the virus. It’s always hard for us when one of the kids is sick because one should stay with another. I usually stay with Sapphire because I’m still breastfeeding her. We also do a lot home remedy when we’re feeling under the weather. I think apple cider and water, and honey and lemon water help.

We still work from home.

One thing I am thankful about my company is the fact that they’ve been very supportive of us during these difficult times. Because we work from home, we can easily go to the kids when they need us. When they feel unwell, we can keep them home and take care of them while also working at the same time. We can even go on a leave to take care of our sick child. It’s a separate leave from vacation and sick leave. I guess this situation has made us become closer. I want to think that this is a good chance to show the kids that we are here for them because if we compare it to the situation before, we only got to play with them during weekends. We spent most of our time in the office during work hours plus we needed to spend some time commuting to and from work.

Taken on Nico’s birthday when we’re both on vacation leave

READ: What Is It Like To Work In The Same Office With Your Husband?

Everything is now made online.

We still go out sometimes. Provided that we always wear masks, even Skyler. But most of the time and only if possible, we make our transactions online. I think I can say that we’re already used to it now. I can still remember when my best friend and I talked about online shopping. Karen is an avid fan of everything online, convenient and automatic and I, on the other hand, enjoy (or used to) going to physical stores to really “feel” the products before purchasing. But now this changed a bit. All our grocery shopping is done online. We also got to know a lot of online stores now and even our lunch during weekdays is being delivered to our apartment (even if the restaurant is just a few meters away LOL).

I’d like to think that doing this also helps the delivery men and the restaurants who have been really affected by the lockdowns around the world. Some of them even came from being laid off from another job. 

We’ve learned some more hobbies.

One of my favorite things that happened lately is that we managed to drive away from being bored when only staying indoors most of the weekends. Nico and I have learned some new hobbies and we wish to improve more. Some of my friends already know that Nico paints but because of this I was also encouraged to try my skills in drawing. And I did. I’m so happy I was able to do these things even I am now 30! It’s not too late, though, but I thought this will not ever happen.

Nico finishing his latest painting of Skyler and Sapphire

Not only me and Nico, Skyler has also been really active in painting and drawing. We usually post his drawings on his FB and IG accounts (@skylerjsales). We try to keep the kids busy at home by not only playing with them but also doing chores with them.

We’re also into yarns lately. We’ve started making some macrame and crocheted projects. I can say we really enjoy doing it and we are always excited to try something new. We even started an instagram account (@sinulid.fi) and facebook page where we post our projects with the idea of also selling them soon.

We always try to see the good in every situation even when it looks impossible. We try to get some new learnings from it and maybe use it for some future endeavours.

But despite of this, 

we still get some outside pressure and a lot of worries.

Due to the situation we have right now plus the fact that we are far from our families in the PH, it has become very easy for everyone to see something that will make them worry. I understand that we all want to be safe and away from any danger and sickness. Our families and friends usually remind us a lot of helpful things but thinking of these things could trigger anxiety. I would think that if I forget one of these, something bad will happen and I’d feel guilty for the rest of my life. This isn’t how I want to see it but this is what the pandemic situation has made me feel. This is what I feel now, no matter how hard I try to overcome it. 

My cousin best friend always tells me that my worries are valid (and yours, too), my fear is valid and it is okay not to be okay sometimes but don’t let it overwhelm you. We fight it no matter how strong the fear is, no matter how long it will take. We are never alone in this. 

It’s still a long way to go but we’re getting there.

With the vaccination already have started, we’re hoping to see the end of this pandemic. I know it will not happen in an instant but I always think that one day will come when we’d just be talking about it as something that happened in the past. By then, we’ll finally be able to visit our families and friends in the PH and travel to other countries. 

Nico’s recent birthday

One day, we don’t need to wear masks outside anymore. We can freely smile and talk to strangers. I hope when that time comes, not only the pandemic will disappear but also the hatred against other people that stayed in the hearts of a lot of us due to the current situation. I hope this does not completely divide humanity, rather push us to be one to fight against the crisis we are currently facing. I’m really hoping that when Skyler and Sapphire are older, when all our dear kids grow up, we can give them something they can use when this situation happens again in their generation. I hope they won’t face the same hardships we face at the moment. Let’s try to make this a better place while we are still here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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