Last week, before I left to Helsinki, I stopped at my neighbor to let her know I am leaving and just to chat. At that moment, I thought that I had to be on strict quarantine all the time, so that’s what I told her when she asked me what we are going to do in Helsinki.
She said: well, you can just relax at home, and go for a walk. And then she added: and you will be cooking for him, right?
I replied: no. In Helsinki, I am not even allowed in the kitchen. When Boris is here, I cook and clean and everything, and when I am over there, he does everything.
I can’t even describe an expression on my neighbor’s face. I think she never thought that could be even possible. She was trying to imagine how it can be and then saidL yea… I guess…
I think that it was the first time in all these years she knows us she thought that it may be something in this whole remote idea 🙂
Two weeks ago, Boris had the same surgery as I had in February. Yet another time, I see a striking difference between our health care system and the one they have in Finland. But I do not want to elaborate on this subject just now 🙂
The fact is, that it was always thought that his vision is way worse than mine, because he has limited vision fields, and some blind spots right in the middle. So, I guess he has been thinking for a while that in comparison to that, the miopy in not an issue. And it is. So a couple of days after he had his first eye operated, he told me: you know, today I realized that I need to clean the kitchen floor! And I was: awww! I am so happy!
It’s not something you would comment on when you visit, so I aways suffered in silence 🙂
The second surgery is going to be in a week, and I think that after that, he may be able to see even better than me!
A week before Easter, when the future of traveling was one big unknown, I wanted to do something special for Boris, and I, with his consent, mailed him a parcel. There were several small bike accessories that he ordered on Amazon planning to pick them up when he would come in March (which didn’t happen). And a couple of other small things, which I added. Overall, it was a small parcel, and I marked it as a gift and put some small value on it.
The mail was slow back then. I checked the package status every day. It took mother than three weeks for it to be cleared with customs and depart from ORD. That happened on May 5, and after that, I haven’t seen any changes in its status.
I tried to file a “missing mail,” but since the package already left the US, and didn’t arrive in Finland, none of the postal services would start the investigation. I sadly pronounced the package lost. On Wednesday, after I already departed, Boris got a notice from Finnish customs. It turned out that sometime between departure from ORD and arriving in HEL, the house number and the apartment number of the package address where switched. For some reason, some taxes were due on that shipment, but Boris didn’t know since the notice was sent to the wrong address. After the address confusion was resolved and the notice was delivered to Boris, it was too later – the shipment was sent back! … After all, I was glad to find out that matter does not disappear!
Several people asked me whether Finland requires a two-week quarantine upon entering. My friend checked in for me when she was contacting the Finnish Border Control, and they told her something to the effect “recommended, but we do not check.” When I exited into the terminal, there were airport personnel meeting returning passengers. They were giving everybody the following flyer:
Granted, I am doing way more than that, starting from the fact that I didn’t go anywhere except my mom for five days before departure. I told Boris that he should buy all the food before I arrive (normally it’s one of our favorite things – to go to a grocery store together).
Looking at the rest of the world and Finland, I want to say that Finland is lucky not to have air conditioning and tourists. Or rather, both are present in small enough quantities not to make a negative impact.
Since there was never a mandate for wearing masks in public, and even a mask advisory didn’t stay for long, it looks like most people do not quite understand that masks protect the general public, not mask wearers.
Finland has close to none cases for over a month, and most of the restrictions are already lifted. I do not know how I would feel about what I see around if my personal circumstances would be different. Right now, the whole thing feels pretty surreal, so details do not matter :). But I would say two things.
First, what I see proves to me that our normal norm is not gone forever. Perhaps, the most unbelievable thing was seen crowds of people going to the stadium on Saturday night:). There is still a lot of protection on place, and if you pay attention, you notice, but it does not prevent most of life going as usual.
Second, on the second day of being here, I got a very strong feeling, which can be described as “there can’t be heaven in one place if there is hell in the rest of the world.” This first moment when I thought, “I want to stay here forever” was fast gone. Through that first day, Boris was telling me all the time: relax and see how peace looks like. But he agreed with me when I told him: it can’t be peace when there is a war all around. Until the virus is defeated in the whole world, it won’t be the end. We are very thankful for the forces above us, which gave as that holiday in the rear at the time of war. But that’s a time off from the front, not the end of the war.
In the course of the past several months, we were often saying to each other “when this all will be over,” presuming we won’t be able to see each other in person earlier than that. And now we feel very distinctly, that “this” is not over. We got a leave warrant for good behavior 🙂
On July 10, the new EU regulations regarding border control were announced. It was already expected that the US would be banned from entering Europe. When we talked with Boris about it the next day, about the fact that for many countries, the doors are now open, I asked him whether he checked for details at the Finnish Border Control site and whether I should check, and he said – no, it will be just one more reason for me to be sad.
So I didn’t, but on Tuesday, July 14, I decided to check it, and to my surprise and amazement, I found out that some restrictions were relaxed. The website said that now not only families of EU citizens can visit, but also families of Finnish permanent residents can visit. I emailed Boris immediately, and Wednesday morning, we talked, and he asked whether I am coming next week.
Anyway, now I can see that the level od the fluid is going down. Last night, I re-read all the information about that surgery, which I read before, and I realized that I saw it all, I just didn’t understand what they meant. They talked a lot about “a gas bubble, ” but I didn’t understand what it means. I could not imagine that it was like having this ish tank in your eye :). And I imagined a very different picture when they would say, “your vision will be blurry at first, but it will go away in several days.”
Now I understand that I won’t be able to drive or bike until this bubble would go away entirely because while even a part of it is there, I still have blind spots.
It’s hard to say, with what speed it will progress, but I hope it will be gone within a week.
As for the travel ban, the only thing we can do is wait and see. Boris still does not believe me about “next year,” he still thinks that the ban is political and that something will happen by August. As of today, there are only these many hours-long connections in London, which I do not want him to experience. Especially when Finland is effectively virus-free. So no changes in the observable future.
First, about my eye surgery. The vision in the operated eye is non-existent; it’s as if I have an aquarium inside. I know that that’s exactly what I have in my eye :), but it looks like everybody expected it to be better. Plus, I am seriously upset with this surgeon and the whole office and the whole organization. Vlad, who took me to the post-surgical today, is equally upset. We waited for him for the whole hour, and he didn’t even say that he is sorry for being late, and he barely talked to us. I am also upset that although I’ve explained to him how important it is for me to know what to expect after the surgery precisely, he didn’t give me the correct information like he said I would be able to drive right away. Now I do not trust anything of what he said, including whether I indeed needed this surgery.
I need to come for a checkup in two weeks, and then in another two weeks to see the first surgeon. I hope that my regular eye doctor will finally start coming to the office because I need to consult with her about the situation.
And on top of it – the EU is banning all the travel from the US. Now, once again, same as in March, although Boris theoretically can come, It won’t help if the planes won’t fly. And I still can’t go there because of the current restrictions.
I’ve almost talked myself into some calmness because there is nothing I can do, and because Penelope waited longer and didn’t have Facetime :).
Today, it was Boris’s 70th birthday. Needless to say, we had very different plans for that day than how it turned out. I would be OK if Boris would say he does not even want to mention it and would rather have a day as usual. But when we talked at the beginning of the week, I felt that he would not mind if I would make it special.
We have a very long lasting tradition of dark red roses, which he said, “would not be possible that time.” Granted, I got out of my way to find a flower delivery in Helsinki:). The most difficult was to find a vendor who would allow to pick the flowers I needed, instead of suggesting one of the existing arrangements. And another challenge was to switch between translating into English and not because the actual ordering and payment pages had to be displayed in Finnish when I was filling them in.
I took a day off today. Since we have “summer Fridays,” I only had to take a half-day. I used it to run most of my errands (shopping is great on Friday morning, the stores are almost empty). And also, that way we could talk during the day. We decided to have a meal together; it was an early lunch for me, and a dinner for him. I bought a rose of the same color so that our roses could talk to each other.
Also, I baked a rhubarb and strawberry pie. Same as with quiche, that’s something we both like, but since my unsuccessful experiments over thirty years ago, I thought that I would never master that skill. But then I saw that recipe, looked up a couple of other suggestions on how to make a rhubarb filling, used pre-made crust, and gave it a try.
It didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted, I should not have reduced the amount of sweetener in the filling, but I will know next time. Adding some corn starch was a great idea, though.
I have to add that rhubarb is very popular in Estonia, contributing to our love of that treat. And next time, it will be perfect 🙂