I returned to Finland after 10 months doing my ESC – project in Skopje, Macedonia. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Finland has listed countries which are in the red zone – meaning when you return, you need to stay in home quarantine for two weeks. And Macedonia was one of these countries.The quarantine was without supervision, so no one came to check am I at home.
And so,I stayed inside with my friend who agreed to spend the time with me. The first five days just passed by. There was a lot of time to catch up with things, ten months is a long time to be abroad after all. We were killing time bylistening to music, watching movies and documentaries, reading books, cooking and eating, exercising… Basically whatever interesting you can come up with. Also going outside to take walks was not forbidden so sometimes when the walls of the apartment felt too much there still was an opportunity to go out and get some fresh air.
Texting and speaking on the phone with people can take surprisingly much time as well, especially now when they are spread around Europe.Also, my ESC -project is still ongoing which means I got to use some of my time working for my organization online.
After one week passed time started to slow down and of course, the urge to do something else grew bigger. Especially when you are not sick at all, vice versa energic and missing your family and friends. Still understanding the importance of being careful and responsible even though how much it gets boring.
This felt different from the lockdowns we experienced in Macedonia, whenin the spring we had to stay inside in our flat for 2-4 days usually during weekends. That was strange because everyone had to do it and the outside world looked kind of apocalyptic. But also, you know that everything around you is closed and no-one else gets to do anything either.
Here it feels different,the time has passed from the beginning of the outbreak and there has been time to internalize the situation more.From the window,we can see how other people get to go and continue their everyday stuff.It is only us who are in quarantine, not everybody.
Overall, I cannot say that the quarantine was absolutely horrible, but I wouldn’t want to experience the same again. But also, after two weeks it feels super to finally get out and go back to society. So better stay healthy and safe not to experience the same again.
The situation in Finland is tolerable for now, masks are suggested to wear in public transport andcrowded places, but not actual restrictions have been set for that yet. Coming back feels almost normal, you can see people’s faces in the streets, bars and restaurants are open. We have been joking in Macedonia with another Finnish volunteer that it is not so weird for us to implement social distancing because we are from Finland and we keep the distance from strangers anyways.