Danskerne er ikke vant til de store udsving i deres levevis. Derfor har coronaen været en rutsjebanetur – også for mig, der bor i USA.
The Danes know something that brings them safely through the corona : Believe in the authorities
The Danes are not used to the big fluctuations in their way of life. That’s why the corona has been a roller coaster ride – also for me who lives in the United States
Denmark is facing major changes due to high coronation . Allow me to share my experiences after living for months with coronary restrictions in the United States, where the pandemic is out of control.
My kids have not been to school since last week in February. All indications are that they will not return to their schools this school year. My husband has been working from home for the same period, his workplace has asked employees to work from home indefinitely, probably until summer.
When I see news from Denmark, I think it seems that new restrictions are on the way.
The picture that emerges when I read, hear and see people’s reactions to the corona here in the United States is that the hardest part is the mental forces that this crisis requires. There are many concerns. What happens if we become infected? How long does this last? When do the children return to school, and what does this time do to their mental health? When will a vaccine arrive? What happens if we lose our job? And what about our loved ones if they get infected or sit alone month after month? Can you trust what the public authorities are saying? How restrictive should I be in my travels when my neighbor is not?
Positive energy in the first stage of the pandemic
Getting used to corona quarantine has been quite a roller coaster ride . The first time we kept to ourselves, had no physical contact with friends and we met at the Friday bar online – it’s not quite the same. But we had a positive attitude, there was cheers, smiles and laughter – a will to make it succeed.
The long, cool move in the second stage of the pandemic
After some time, I put a reading lamp and an armchair into the bedroom and buried myself under a plaid with a good book. I needed a break from the needs of the kids. But that does not go in the long run. The kids came constantly roaring and did not understand where their maid had gone. I had to get up from the chair. There should still be lunch and snacks ready for the breaks and they should have help to make their everyday life work. A balance had to be found, but breaks for me had to be there – hence the armchair.
In the middle of the summer holidays, it was clear that the kids would not return to their schools when the school year began. That message was difficult. Because until then, we had agreed that the corona situation would be under control at about the same time as the children’s school year began.
It sounds naive now, but that’s how we thought for what now seems like an eternity ago. The brain had to understand that we had to adjust to the long, tough move.
Our 12-year-old daughter was furious at the news. She wanted in school, cost what it would! In her world, we are almost a necessary appendage that conveniently provides the most basic necessities. Where life really unfolds is in the interaction with friends.
What I have learned in the 8 months the corona has turned our lives upside down
All four of us have been home since late February. And here’s what I’ve learned: Take it easy. One finds a rhythm.
But I have also learned that it takes an incredible amount of effort from both children and adults to hold on to themselves and not panic when there is no predictability. We do not know how long we will live as we do now. We do not know how many human lives the pandemic will require.
Therefore, my focus has changed. Of course, the kids have to learn what they have to learn in school – and I think they do too. If not, then they should probably catch up. I spend less effort going through their work and checking if they have now remembered it all and attended the meetings they are going to.
More important is to relate to their physical and mental health. This is where I put my efforts into the rest of the pandemic race.
That is why we have also arranged for them to go to Taekwondo three times a week. And how does it go in these corona times ? Yes, twice a week they log on online and follow the lessons with a lot of other students, and once a week they meet alone with their instructor.
In addition, we bought an exercise bike. Here in Seattle, as you know, it is raining a lot, and for the next 9 months we can look forward to it not being possible to move outside to the same degree as it has been in the spring and summer.
We have set individual goals and overall family goals for the new monster in the living room – and made sure to put in rewards that are attractive to the kids. Exercise is not only good if you want to get rid of your corona part, it is also good for mental health.
But exercise all over the world does not make up for the social needs that children in particular have.
Perhaps the most important of our initiatives is that we have made a weekly online appointment with a child psychologist for each of the children – they each have their own need for help and support. Just as important as the weekly appointments with the therapist is that they see that the adults, who otherwise from their point of view must look as if they have no control over a shit in their world, do what they can to help and try to understand that it is not easy to be a child in the world they are in right now.
Our youngest son can not remember what life was like before the corona . Our elders need distance and to find their own way – it is obviously impossible in the situation we are in. They need to share their thoughts with a professional – it ultimately helps the whole family to thrive better, when they get some tools to understand and deal with their thoughts emotions.
Our corona reality right now
We have relaxed the attitude of seeing friends. We meet with two different pairs of friends. It has been absolutely amazingly uplifting. In my eagerness to make this work, I had forgotten how life-giving other people’s togetherness can be.
Each child is now allowed to see the same 3 children. The atmosphere at home and the children’s mood has improved markedly.
We get to bring everything from food, fruits and vegetables to books and clothes to the door. We get nowhere where there are other people. We have not been out to eat since January, we do not go to the cinema, to museums or to the theater. There has been one child’s birthday, but it was held at Zoom. When we go anywhere, we wear masks everywhere.
All the while, the corona is present in the everyday life that has now become so common that I fear if I can ever sit down at a restaurant table without thinking about all the baktus flying through the air. If everything was opened tomorrow, I do not think at all I would want to sit in a bar or a restaurant. It is thought-provoking how quickly man can get used to an everyday life that less than a year ago would have appeared as something from a dystopian film of the future.
Encouraging words to the Danes
When I see news from Denmark, I think it’s probably a shock for the Danes to hear that the numbers are growing every day. That they have become accustomed to the fact that a pandemic that is out of control was something that belonged to Southern Europe and the USA, Brazil and India, far away from Denmark’s borders.
How will the reaction be from the Danes’ side if strict restrictions are introduced – and here I do not think the restrictions, which must be described as fairly light , which the Danes have so far had to live with? How will they react if they, like us here in the United States, come to live with the same drastic reduction in lifestyles for months?
The Danes are not a people who are used to the big fluctuations. There is not much in recent times they have had to endure.
But the Danes have and can do something that other countries do not have and can do. There is a belief that the authorities want the best for the citizens, I have not seen in any other country outside Scandinavia. That, coupled with the fact that systems and processes have been fine-tuned for decades, creates fertile ground for a system that can get through the crisis in a better way than many other countries.
I hope the Danes stand together, because if everyone does their part, the country will return to a more normal everyday life more quickly. I do not want anyone to go through the same experiences that we have had here in the United States. But if so, keep up the good work. There is a tolerable everyday life in the intolerable.