Graham Reid | | 2 min read
That's because we're leaving for Sweden, Britain and back home via Singapore. Travelers in the time of Covid.
Our reason is the same as many trying to get home: family.
My wife has a niece and her baby in Bristol; I have two sons and a grandson in Stockholm, and another son in Brighton. We miss them and their partners. I also want to see my birthplace Edinburgh for what could be the last time.
Returning through Singapore means being with my sister and her husband who live there.
It's been a long time.
For half my eight-year old grandson's life I've just been an occasional face on a screen, in which time he's gone from Minions to Minecraft. We've missed anniversaries, birthdays and Christmases, seeing the wee man singing a Queen song solo at a school concert, having him explain Zelda to me . . .
While our lives were on hold, theirs carried on.
During Auckland's lockdown last year my grandson and his parents were in Athens and Hydra for a holiday.
In 2021 my Brighton-based son and his fiancé had work done on their kitchen. The plumber said the water would be off for a week so they should find other accommodation. They thought of going to Cornwall but Spain was cheaper.
At the end of the year he was in Finland twice, then Berlin and Wales for work.
And all that time none of my family overseas contracted Covid.
Then 10 days ago little Sonny sent me a text: “I have COVID”. Just sniffles and a dull headache, his dad said.
Not unexpected, but it makes the trip even more essential.
My eldest and his fiancé planned to marry here in 2020 which would have brought all the family home, but that couldn't happen. Nor could it last year. So it was postponed again. Who knows what this year will hold?
And in that spirit of not knowing, we're going.
When booking and planning, Omicron was a twinkle on a microscope slide and returning multi-vaxed, Covid-clear Kiwis could self-isolate at home.
But much changed. Except our plan to leave.
It may seem foolhardy but we're in good health, double-vaxed and boostered, have tests before departure and are cautious. We have insurance, an agent looking after flights and various affairs, and know what we're getting in to.
Sure, we could be afflicted by something. But we'll be close to family and be seeing new things and hearing different voices outside the same-same spiral of chatter here.
And even if we exercised that famous “abundance of caution” and remained, it's highly likely we'd catch something anyway.
If you believe, as I do, the first duty of government is the safety and welfare of its citizens then this one and our health authorities have done an extraordinary job.
The MIQ debacle has been the most conspicuous failure but by late April when we're returning it won't be a problem, we can – at the moment anyway – waltz in just as we will have done elsewhere.
So it's time to go to that elsewhere. We leave the Safe Pacific for the Northern Omisphere.
I'll keep you posted.
Let's hope a column doesn't start, “Today in the hospital . . .”
For other articles in this series go here.