This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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COVID-free and flying home

cphI have not been grounded for as long as 3 months in over 10 years. And because in Copenhagen I was unable to fly to see my colleagues AND to spend time with my family, in mid-June I challenged the lockdown and flew home to Finland for the summer.

In Denmark, anyone could sign up to be tested (or just walk/drive in these days) at any time, so I went for a test which delivered the results just in time for my flight. Over the summer, Denmark further implemented a COVID-19 negative -pass, downloadable and valid for 7 days after a PCR test.

Then I gathered the paperwork needed to back up my re-entry to Denmark: employment contract, rental agreement, and the yellow health insurance card. I packed for a month’s worth of varying Finnish summer weather (I ended up staying longer) and exchanged my previous Finnair cancellation voucher for a one-way ticket to Helsinki.

The airport was nearly shut down, including the lounges. We early morning birds had to choose from 7-Eleven or Joe & the Juice – you guessed it: the latter was where the crowd stood, trying to socially distance while waiting for breakfast. As there was no cabin service on the flight (face masks on during the entire flight), breakfast seemed like a good idea.flightBoarding with a Finnish passport was no trouble, although several other passengers were taken aside to get their paperwork in order. Crossing the border in Finland with a passport issued by the Copenhagen embassy was no issue, either, although on my both sides, foreign passport holders were digging up marriage certificates and work permits and quarantine addresses from their bags. I did not even need to give an address for quarantine nor sign a document where I vouched I would stay there for the first 14 days – such was still required some weeks previously.

Right now, in early August, several European borders are shutting up again after allowing holiday travelers in and out for roughly a month. This is the new normal – at least for another 1-2 years to come, depending on the efficiency and speed of the vaccine efforts. With some planning and luck, travel is still possible in 2020. covid(Copenhagen, Denmark; June 2020)


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Goodbye dear ones

When I crossed the border to Sweden during coronavirus lockdown I did it to say goodbye to Cassandra, my Russian blue. Well, she had really not been mine anymore for one and a half years. I had to give up her and her friend Ramses, because Ramses was reacting very negatively to new life in Brande in 2018.

So when I got the call in May that Cassandra’s kidney disease had raised its head, after three years of slumber and medicine diet, I took my chances and went over for a day. Little did I know then that I was saying goodbye to Ramses, too.

I picked him up and made an off-hand comment that he felt very light. It was not unusual: he’s had IBD for the past several years and appetite and weight had constantly fluctuated – although he had immediately calmed down and put on one and a half kilos more after my friend took him in. That is a lot for a cat that weighed only three kilos and a bit when he arrived, stressed to the max.

My friend weighed him later, and got worried. A month later I got another phone call: Ramses had diabetes, and it was advancing fast. The only option was insulin shots for the rest of his short life (he was nearly fifteen), plus losing Cassandra anyway, which would be so sad for his highly cuddly character. The decision was not mine to make but I think my friend and her children, all heartbroken, made the right one: one day in July both cats fell asleep together, side by side in the same travel box.

I was twenty-four when I got Cassandra. Twenty-five when Ramses joined us. They have been with me for nearly my entire adult life: all the ups and downs. And there have been many. It was so difficult to give them up – it felt like giving up an arm or a leg. I am surprised by how difficult it was to hear that they were gone. Writing this now, nearly a month later, still brings tears into my eyes.

But above it all, I am filled to the brim with gratitude towards my friend and her children, who gave both kitties a loving, peaceful, nearly travel-free retirement home. Cassandra slept with my friend, and Ramses with her daughter – who used to say that he was the best thing that had ever happened to her. I just wish they had more time together. Don’t we all, always wish for more time?saturdaymorning-11am(Copenhagen, Denmark; July 2020)