För ett år sen...
On the evening of March 10, 2020, my beloved eldest daughter Cassandra and I went out for dinner and then to the movies to watch "No more fucks to give" by Mia Skäringer. It was cold, and we shivered our way to Bergakungen in the drizzling rain. We had such a cozy evening, and I will forever remember it as the last evening "in the old normal life." I am grateful that we did something extra that night, making it the concluding evening before the "life before Corona." "No more fucks to give" seemed to round off the old times.
Because Corona had started, and we had become aware, but for me, it was like I began to understand how the world was changing completely before our eyes on March 11. Europe shut down before our eyes, country after country, and it was an unreal feeling. My parents, who were in Portugal in their camper, rushed to get home to Sweden. They drove through the closed-down Europe, worrying at home about how it would go. They drove constantly toward the next border before it closed. They made it home, and they entered the country while several of their friends got stuck in Europe with their campers and came home a week or several weeks later.
We couldn't even imagine how the whole world would change in a few shaking days. It was like an express train that stopped, with screeching brakes against the tracks. Boats entered the harbor, airplanes landed on the ground, and people stayed home. Country after country, the same procedure. I sometimes felt like the world was being cleaned, everything would fall into place, everyone would go home.
The whole world took a few deep, shaking breaths, and then it stopped.
I remember the feeling when I walked my daily half-mile in downtown Gothenburg; there were eyes seeking eyes, questioning, scared, and confused. I thought a lot about what was happening and why. It was like a paralyzing anxiety and fear that filled person after person. I tried to keep up my courage, support local businesses, and go out every day as usual.
My calendar became more and more scribbled as my planned trips and events were canceled. I thought they would be moved for a few months, but they are still being moved around in the calendar, and I have no idea when they will happen.
My lovely daughter Izabella taught me to use post-it notes in my calendar, which has been very useful since much is still changing all the time.
My older sister, who works at the hospital, quickly became aware of what was happening, and her life quickly became a focus on Covid-19. We, as a family, tried to be there. We applauded on the balcony at 8:00 PM every evening, at least I and the little boy who lives a few balconies below me. We looked at each other, waited, and then applauded. We heard more applauding, but we didn't see it from our courtyard.
People started working from home, and the house suddenly felt alive. Neighbors helped each other, and several were sick with Covid-19 in the building where we live. Children came out to the courtyard and played, and people had coffee outside in the yard already in March. It was a strange time.
Months passed, and spring turned into a quiet summer in Gothenburg. How I missed the laughter and screams from Liseberg, the concerts at Ullevi, and the Culture Festival at home in my beloved city. How I missed not being able to travel to Greece and my wonderful friend Sofia. But, how I appreciated that the summer still gave us some kind of break as the infection rates went down, and life was almost normal.
Autumn and winter came, and the restrictions came and replaced each other, and Christmas celebrations were uncertain until the last minute. Winter felt dark and long.
In 2019, I longed to go home very much, and now I have really been home so much that I have started to long to be on the road again.
A year has passed, and much has changed for so many of us this year. Many have gained new insights, and perhaps hugging and being close is what many of us have come to realize is the most important after all. To meet, live, and plan life in the best way possible. To be able to dream and plan, to live again without restrictions.
It's like the pause button is pressed, but, of course, we will get to press play again. Then everything will start up, and we can create our new lives.
I feel like we have all been given an opportunity to land. To meet ourselves and perhaps others on a different, deeper, and more vulnerable level. It is an important lesson to be humble in the face of life. We never thought that the whole world would suddenly change completely before our eyes and that closed borders, lockdowns, and restrictions would become our daily lives.
My thoughts go especially to all of you who have been sick, lost close and beloved people, and to those who work so hard in healthcare. I understand that it has been and is tough, and I also understand how we have changed after what is happening now.
A year has passed, and it is a very strange year we have all experienced. I wish with all my heart that the new world will start soon and that we can all live our dreams, wiser, smarter, and more humble in the face of life!
I write this post because I want to remember how it has been; this is a very strange time, and we will always remember it. The time that changed the world. The old world that stopped, and we stand on the brink of the new world. We do not yet know when, where, or how, but we know that it will happen.
Light and love, Helena-Magdalena