On February 14th it is going to be one year for the beginning our adventures of 2020 and I felt penning down our experience was the best way to express & acknowledge it. So, hold tight and stay with me while I take you through our Year 2020!
The music was loud on and we were all dancing after having finished a delicious chocolate-strawberry mousse cake. All of this celebration was to welcome new year 2020 at our friend’s place. Yes! It was the new year and we all looked forward to the new beginnings and better of the times ahead. After the fantastic celebration we returned back home with some plans for the year, that also included me visiting our families in India along with our daughter.
Year 2020 seemed promising with new job opportunity and possibility of starting a new life at a new place. While all these was in its initial phase, one thing was certain that our daughter would start school in summer 2020 and hence, I would take her to India to meet our families. Seemed simple and it was a well-planned trip too. But little did we know that these five weeks long trip would turn into six months stay in India with loads of uncertainties and challenges. In fact, nobody could have predicted what was awaited in “2020”.
Mid-February and after arriving in India, we had a lovely and emotional time meeting our families after a year and grandparents were delighted to see our girl growing. Back in Lausanne, my husband received a new job offer in Copenhagen which we were excited about. But during late February and beginning of March an infection which was earlier only known to be in China was spreading in other countries specially in Italy. It had also marked its presence in northern India. By mid-March it felt like a good time to go back before the epidemic turns into a pandemic and my only wish was that everything remains ok for our travel on March 22nd. Shockingly two days before our flight back to Switzerland, India entered into the largest nationwide lockdown in the history of mankind and the air traffic had come to a halt for an indefinite period.
Suddenly everything became uncertain!
We didn’t know when we could fly back to Switzerland. As my husband had to join his new job in Copenhagen, we had to keep up with our move from Lausanne to Copenhagen in the backdrop of lockdown in Switzerland, Denmark and India.
Sounds terrible…right? Indeed, it was a messed-up situation…physically, mentally and emotionally…specially with our four-year-old kid, who suddenly didn’t know when she could see her papa again!
In all of this chaos one positive thing was that our new visas to Denmark were approved, however, we had to get it stamped from the Danish embassy in Delhi as we were not Swiss residents anymore. This was a big problem because domestic travel was not possible anymore. Our wait only ended in July end when we finally managed to have our Denmark visas stamped and in our hands. That felt like an achievement of the decade :D :D
Journey back to our new destination
Lufthansa group was very swift in providing change of dates (I had to change my tickets three times) and we got new dates for our travel to Copenhagen. Travelling with the child alone in Covid situation was very stressful. We awaited long queues and several formalities at every checkpoint until the final boarding and not to forget the pressure of keeping myself and the kid away from cold/cough was immense.
Beginning of our travel adventure!
We flew to Delhi from Raipur good 15 hours before so that we could rest and be ready for the long and tiring travel ahead. Adults as well as kids had to be dressed in protective suits while in flight and it was no pleasing experience specially for kids.
Little kid wasn't happy at all to put on the mask and face shield!
After resting during the day time in Delhi Airport Transit Hotel, we got ready to check-in for our midnight flight to Frankfurt. When we arrived at the terminal entrance, we were shocked to see the crowd, long queues and no scope of social distancing. With the travel formalities, it took us one hour to just enter the terminal building.
Later Check-in also took time but the longer queues were ahead again at security and immigration checks. It was super warm, crowded and chaotic with passengers for seven repatriation flights with urgent reason for travel. It took almost two hours to cross all the checks inside the terminal with one hour left for our flight. We were both drenched in sweat and completely tired already before the beginning of the long-haul flight. Finally, we found an eatery open where we got ourselves a scoop of ice cream. That was so relieving and just what we needed!
Then, after arriving at the gate we had to get ready to board with all the protective gears. Infants were the exception, rest all had to be covered up starting from two years of age and the flight was absolutely full. It felt like we had suddenly become scientists working all covered from head to toe. In all this, I could only and highly appreciate the dedication and hard work of airline and airport staff to help passengers, trying to make their journey as natural as possible when everything else was just otherwise.
Felt very uncomfortable travelling in this suit and keeping it on for the entire journey!
At Frankfurt, the crowd was scattered for respective connecting flights and finally we were with more space to maintain and breath. We managed to entertain ourselves for the next five hours with long walks for terminal change and waiting for the next flight. Now, the only motivation to move any inch further and to travel was to reunite with my “also stranded alone” husband and to witness reunion of his and our daughter.
The moment I saw the Øresund Bridge, my heart filled with excitement, happiness and the invisible tears of happiness unable to believe that the time has finally come to reunite. This was an awaited event with no clue of how emotional would that be and what kind of reaction was expected of ourselves. A lot had happened in the past six months that took all three of us on a roller coaster-ride with respective challenges, consequences and mind therapies.
Little girl just couldn’t stop enchanting for next 20 minutes: “I cannot believe mumma, we have arrived in Copenhagen and we will meet papa after six months".
When we came out at the arrivals, I was so emotional to see him that I decided not to let my tears out at all as it would have taken over the moment and I would have missed to capture every second of our daughter’s reunion with her papa. A big tight hug and his touch silenced the emotional storm in me. His side of the story is equally emotional.
One thing that Covid has taught people in my opinion is that, we learnt to respect life and what we already have. So many people suffered because of the situation and had their share of fight against Coronavirus. A lot of people went through some unimaginably terrible experiences and my heart goes out for them. I want to express my utmost respect and appreciation for every one of the front-line warriors all over the world who were risking their lives to protect that of others. I am also immensely thankful for the fact we did not get stuck at some random place, instead we were in lockdown with family in India and this itself had a huge positive impact on me. Their presence kept me sane and helped me get over one of the very emotional breakdowns in personal life.
We see it as a fresh beginning of our life in a new place with more love and respect for each other. I hope we all can feel the same and progress towards a more beautiful and respectful world for the days to come ahead.