Yes! I have been visiting my family in a red zone. Red for Norway, because people ruling this country are cautious and prefer to take extra care measures than risk people’s health. Therefore I have been in quarantine for 9 days.
I arrived in Norway via Torp airport. It was a long queue at Passport control, and then we were taken inside a room where we were tested. The test was free of charge and the result came in about 15 min. After that, we were distributed to places of quarantine. For me, it was Scandic Park Hotel in Sandefjord. We were taken there by taxi, that too, free of charge.
The quarantine rules were handed out together with practical information, which was also about meals. They were supposed to be placed outside our doors, at 08:00 for breakfast, 12:00 for lunch, and 18:00 for dinner. They were to be accompanied by a knock on the door, except for breakfast. The staff didn’t want to wake us up at 08:00 in the morning if not necessary. I was impressed by the care and respect for people’s sleep. We were getting three meals a day and overnight for 500 NOK a day. A good price for Norway to be and for this significant hotel in Vestfold area.
The room I’ve got was big, with a beautiful view of the park in front of the hotel. Fresh sheets and towels, clean.
The mades weren’t allowed to get into the quarantine rooms. For their protection and ours; therefore, we were expected to help with the cleaning if we felt the need. That was logical to me, and it seemed fair for the price as well.
With the characteristic smiles and politeness, the staff was helping in any way they could. Most of the quarantine guests would respect the rules and be polite and behave. At the same time, some did not.
Nobody wants to stay in quarantine, yet if that is the case, at least to make a good experience out of it, I thought.
I have never been to this little town in the South of Norway before. But, we were allowed to walk outside, which gave me the chance to look around the small city center with cozy houses and crossroads on every corner of the tiny streets.
I returned to the hotel from my walk one afternoon, and I passed by two of the hotel employees. One man from security and one woman were talking on their way home. The woman complained to her colleague about how some of the quarantine guests picked on her long legs.
«That was not nice,» said the man. «Do you want me to do anything about it?» he asked.
«No, let them be,» she answered, showing the group of men who were walking towards the end of the corridor, inside the hotel. «I just don’t understand how they cannot know that this kind of comment is rude,” she said, with a sad expression on her face.
Pity I was thinking. Perhaps no one told the men (I don’t know which country they were from) that this kind of comment is considered “sexual harassment” in Norway and illegal. This time they’ve got away. Next time, they may not.
For me, the experience of quarantine was not at all a struggle. On the contrary, I took it as an extra week of holiday. I did not feel in any way that my liberty was too much constrained. During the whole week, I’ve got some messages on my phone to remind me that I was on quarantine and got one phone call from the people in charge of this procedure. Mostly to check on me and see if I knew the rules of quarantine.
I was getting food every day, which I didn’t have to think of buying and preparing myself. Some shortened, in terms of vegetables, since the good old Norwegian “kost” (cooking) does not include too many of those. Yet, I knew it was only for a maximum of ten days, and I didn’t have to eat what I didn’t like.
We were allowed to walk around town and take the typical hikes you can find everywhere around the small towns in Norway.
We were not allowed to get into the shops or other buildings or visit people in the hotel (if we knew any). I didn’t think it was such a terrible restrain. I didn’t know anyone and shops can one find everywhere.
I like walking and hiking and discovered really lovely pats and corners of the town that were quite charming. Just look at the pictures underneath the article. The days I stayed in quarantine went on fine since I was determined not to let it ruin my mood. I also had my computer with me, which allowed me to write and work. I would have done that anyway, no matter where I was. And here even more since I had no care of daily hustle.
At the same time, every time I went in and out of the hotel, I would see and hear angry people. Angry for feeling trapped. Angry for having to pay for the quarantine themselves. Angry for wasting time. Angry for finding out that some of the other guests have tested positive on the 7th day of quarantine and moved to another part of the hotel called “isolation”. It happens everywhere, I thought. Nothing is perfect.
It was not a pretty sight. I was grateful for the time I took to learn to enjoy my own company and look at the full half of the glass instead of the empty one. What could I have solved if I would have gotten angry? Who would have cared, and how would that have changed the situation?
Did I lose time? Yes and no. I still did a lot of stuff, and I have tried another version of the concept “working remote,” which was a good experience. Now I know what it’s about in another sense than just having a home office.
Did I lose money? Yes. Some flight tickets which I booked thinking that I may get out before I did. One of the reasons would be that the machines that were supposed to analyze the test I took on my 7th day of quarantine broke, and the result was delayed by a day. Since there were so many people testing, that was not a surprise, yet some moments of irritation accompanied it. I am human. And of course, I have paid those 500 NOK a night for 9 nights altogether.
I’ve got home safe and sound and, most importantly, healthy. That will allow me to work and replace the money I “lost”. Yet, I do not necessarily consider them “lost”. Just that MY need to see my family and some few dear friends I haven’t seen since long before the pandemic was more expensive than predicted. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I would not be without it.
If you decide to travel, look thoroughly through the regulations of traveling and the places you’re supposed to do the quarantine. Take it as an experience rather than as a restriction. Health is essential, and some governments take extra care, like the Norwegian one, which is only a positive thing.
In case you need to talk with someone neutral, feel free to register for a free call here. One good talk with someone trained as a coach or therapist can solve a lot, and can put a different light on whatever issue one may have.