By Marie Land Andersen
On Thursday 12th of March I flew home to Norway, having decided to go surprise my mother on her birthday. It was intended to be a quick and merry visit, I was going to give her a bunch of comical socks from Primark and about seven different packs of tea I’d bought from various British establishments, some expensive chocolate. I planned to be on my way again a couple of days later, when I had sufficiently annoyed my brother and pillaged the fridge.
My only preparation in the case of societal breakdown, had been buying pack of toilet paper. This is how you do it people! You buy exactly what you need and would normally buy, you don’t by a crap-tonne of tissues! If you have no food, what are you gonna need the toilet paper for anyway? Everyone needs to calm TF down.)
This perfectly laid out plan got interrupted by that nasty hoe Corona. About a month earlier she had decided to take the trip across the ocean too, but unlike me she was not content with annoying relatives and stealing their food, nor did that twat bring presents. Unless you consider the PLAGUE presents. In which case, you are wrong. And you probably need some form of counselling.
At that time there had been whispers about taking measures to get rid of that bastard virus, but I had been busy in my own little bubble and even though I had heard they were considering placing everyone who stepped foot into Norway in a two week quarantine, SOMEHOW I had not connected that to the fact that I was planning to go there and stay for THREE days.
I know – I am stupid and I need to pay more attention.
Anyway, I get home in the afternoon, there was still some snow on the ground which I had planned to use to pummel my brother with snowballs from later, and I have a nice reunion with the family, followed by a news broadcast informing the public, that if you have come from abroad you are in a two week quarantine.
I start making some calls on the Friday, but these lead to literally nothing as every place you could POSSIBLY get information on this from has been overwhelmed, to the point where you couldn’t get through if your life depended on it (which in some cases, sad and ironic as it sounds – it probably does).
I finally have the idea to ring the department of foreign affairs (yes, really) where a very annoyed switchboard operator informs me that “yes, I am quarantined, it should have said so on big yellow posters at the airport before the duty free”. Which it probably did, but I am near sighted, didn’t bring my glasses and was mainly thinking about whether the duty free had Haribos on offer.
Now, even if I wasn’t quarantined ladies and gentlemen, it wouldn’t have mattered AT ALL, because the day I was meant to fly back my flight got cancelled. So there.
The only difference between being quarantined due to a deadly plague virus, or being stranded due to the airline (I’m used to being on the verge of bankruptcy), is that in the latter incident, I would simply just not be able to leave the country. In a quarantine I am NOT ALLOWED TO LEAVE MY HOUSE.
So, I am here on day seven of my government enforced self-isolation and about to tell you what happens to your frail student brain when you are locked in your house for seven days and counting.
Well, as luck would have it, my younger brother – the would-be victim of snowball pummelling (which I sadly didn’t get around to because the weather gods probably heard my gleeful thoughts of unprovoked violence and decided to just melt the snow to steal that joy). He developed a cold and was subsequently sent home from work for two weeks (just in case of that twat Corona had made some unprovoked attack on his health).
I’m the only one who’s allowed to attack him!). I should emphasise that I am not happy that he’s ill, just happy I won’t be alone in my isolation misery.
We have played Yahtzee a lot. We have tidied… maybe once. People keep saying that they are spending their isolation time tidying, but the two of us are spending it binge watching tv shows and on our descent into madness we have decided to re-name the word quarantine on a contextual basis and this is now known as “Corona-tine”.
This plague has also led to increasing paranoia and frankly, has turned me into a slight hypochondriac. Presently I am combating an extremely painful sinus infection for which I have not been able to see a doctor because Corona, but I have managed to get my hands on antibiotics which I keep forgetting to take. Part of me is CERTAIN I have Corona now.
But we are not alone in our downward spiral, because the Norwegian population as a whole seems to have joined us.
People are STEALING hospital supplies. Yes, actually stealing them. And hoarding toilet paper, this must be an international thing.
But some nice things are coming out of this too. People are really going out of their way to be kind to others, volunteering to shop for at-risk people so they don’t have to go outside, and they check in on each other more.
There is also an increased appreciation for our health care workers, since they are literally putting their health on the line when they go to work these days, often working over-time and wearing an inconvenient amount of protective gear.
In this moment of typing, me and my brother are having an argument over a cup. He has a coffee cup that I am not allowed to use apparently, and I have used it and I am not forgiven yet for this atrocity. This is what happens in a quarantine!
Under the surface of this cabin fever is the looming fear of what is happening in the world now. I am afraid for my co-students, friends and my house mates, a lot of whom are international and have decided to fly home before the borders close and I am also afraid for those who are left behind.
In these stressful and uncertain times it is important to look at the bright side of things, though. All my lectures and course work has been moved online and I have the intention to attend every single web conference and skype meeting in my pyjamas.
Also, back in Maclean court lies my retirement fund – 24 loo rolls which I’m sure will be worth its weight in gold and then some by the time this zombie apocalypse is done with. I might even be able to pay off my student debt before I’m dead!