2020, you got us! The COVID-19 outbreak has brought dramatic changes and it has been an extremely strange year for all of us. All of a sudden we went into lockdown and, hey, what happened to our daily routines? Schools went online, workplaces found their way into our homes and we tried to stay active indoors as much as we could. Let’s see what International Family members did through the lockdown.

Eleni (baking-cooking)

Lockdown brought closeness of home and family that many were craving for a long time. For example, dreams of working from the couch and snacking during a meeting or exams became reality – but people grew to miss eating out, grabbing a bun on the way to work or school, and hanging out with friends over coffee in a local cafe. 

I really enjoyed the lilac flowers, dandelions, wild roses, and mustard garlic seasons! Some I dried to use later as tea or herbs, and some I made into jam, syrups, or pestos. 

The most interesting was to infuse the classic Danish Drømmekage (Dream cake) with lilac jam and flowers instead of using the original recipe with brun farin (brown sugar with sugar cane syrup)!

Olesya (board games)

During the lockdown, I spent time with my family on daily walks or just small nature trips around Funen. That was the best way to get daily motivation and have some fresh air, as well as a good way to be out in nature and keep social distance. 

We’ve discovered how much fun board games are and hosted “family cinema nights” in the evenings while watching old comedies. Apart from that my oldest son has improved his baking skills and supplied us with delicious muffins:) 

Sangeetha (transition from Barista to a temporary teacher)

Lockdown gave time to explore new things in everyone’s life. Being a Barista, I got a break from my profession and led me to have a good time with my family, a kind of pause, in this busy world. I enjoy cooking and have tried many different cuisines from different parts of India. Of course, we enjoyed coffee every day with my latte art. 

Apart from this, I have been homeschooling my child. I have experience teaching online classes. We had so much fun with her Art classes including many new crafts, DIY, and colouring sheets. I also enjoyed doing kid’s yoga with her. After a long time, we got the opportunity to do Zoom meetings with our family members almost everyday evening where so many memories were remembered and shared again. That was the best part of lockdown. 

In the garden, we planted new crops and harvested ready ones like potatoes, green peas, tomatoes, and more. We went out with family during the weekend and had so much fun. Overall, we had a very good time with each other and never felt we were in a lockdown state. 

Madalina (welcoming second child)

The lockdown news arrived just as I was going into my third trimester of pregnancy with my second child. To be honest it was as much as a disappointment as it was a relief. I had planned to do many things before our baby would arrive but instead I got to spend a lot of time with my older daughter and just relax.

I will not lie, it was difficult entertaining a bored toddler while 8 months pregnant. However, it was a good preparation for having to deal with two of them in the future.

On the 6th of June our wonderful baby boy joined us in this crazy “pandemized” world and that’s when the real fun began. We spent the summer mainly around the house and at our garden-house, with very few friends around and unfortunately no family.

One thing that you notice in these moments of worldwide crisis is that things keep on going on even if you feel like they are not. My kids are still growing, the seasons are still changing and our ways are also adapting day by day.

Müge (writing a master’s thesis and graduating)

My last semester of my Master’s program started on February 1st. This meant “I have to write my Master’s thesis and graduate.” According to the design of my project, I was supposed to do some fieldwork and interviews – at least that’s what I thought when I was young and innocent in the beginning of the semester. However, the universe had another plan. COVID-19 made its way through countries and here it was in Denmark. 

I have to admit, I felt very safe here. I trust and appreciate the government and their rapid actions to control the spread of COVID-19. On the other hand, this meant I had no field to conduct my fieldwork, no presence in person… 

I was so lucky to have a great supervisor to support me and my decisions for redesigning the methods. At the end of the process, I managed to complete my thesis for July submission and graduated with a 10 out of 7-point grading system. Hurrah! 

I also have to admit that trying to complete data collection, write a thesis under such weird conditions and to keep myself motivated while being stuck in my room was not the easiest during this period. However, keeping ourselves and each other safe and healthy is a priority above everything else in the world, and I am so happy to feel that the community I live in managed to do so.

Živilė (welcoming motherhood and knitting)

Denmark went into lockdown 3 weeks before the start of my maternity leave. Many online meetings and an online farewell to my colleagues later, I was ready to enjoy my “barsel.” But what does one do, when nothing is as it used to be and you are 8 months pregnant?

While staying at home as much as possible, my partner and I enjoyed a lot of long evening walks in nature, exploring different green areas of Odense and around Funen. We took social distancing seriously, as my partner could not get any symptoms in order to participate during the birth.

I have also re-discovered knitting and ended up working on a number of knitting projects: a couple of vests, baby booties and a one meter-long baby blanket. Many knitted rows later, mid-May we got to meet our baby girl. The thought of giving birth during the coronavirus pandemic was a little bit scary at first, but we had the best experience possible, only briefly interrupted by a coronavirus test on arrival to the hospital.

With the baby girl in my arms and more knitting projects in line, I am looking forward to seeing what else the year will bring us.