Sunday, December 27, 2020

Covid Christmas in Dublin

No one expected Christmas 2020 to be normal. Why should it when everything has been turned upside down this year? 
We could have flown to the States for Christmas, but with 200,000 new cases a day, that seemed a folly. 
Also, we wouldn’t risk seeing my parents and passing on the virus to them if we picked it up in our travels. 
Grace and Jack were in Dublin. Our sons were in the States. I knew that Ireland was allowing Americans to enter, so I proposed we all meet in Dublin.

 Spencer and Kaitlin decided it was too risky. They were very mature about it. Tucker, faced with a Christmas alone, decided to join us. 
We knew it wouldn’t be a touristy trip, just a family get together. 

We rented an Airbnb. We sprung for an extra bedroom because Tucker often complains that as the only single person he gets stuck on the pull-out couch. 
The apartment was less than a mile from Grace and Jack’s apartment. 

We all arrived on Sunday December 20. Earl and I flew from Barcelona, a couple of hours from our home in France. 

The Covid situation was changing quickly. Suddenly, France and a number of other countries were closing their borders to the UK. Of course, Ireland is in the EU, not in the UK, but it made me nervous when friends got stranded in England. 
And Spain declared that everyone visiting from Red areas needed a Covid test to enter. It was kind of a puzzle because Ireland, with a low number of cases, isn’t a red area, but France where we originated, is. 
The rule was that we needed a test 72 hours before the flight, which would have been Christmas Day. I couldn’t find any place giving Covid tests on the day after Christmas and the only tests at the airport I could find were drive-up tests. We didn’t have a car. 
We decided to risk it, calling ourselves in transit to France. We have our carte de séjour or résident card, an electric bill to prove our address, and our parking ticket to show that our car was awaiting us. We would promise to make a quick getaway from Spain. 
So all of this was going through my mind as we tried to enjoy a family Christmas. 

We managed to cook a few meals on the wonky apartment stove and Jack cooked a delicious beef Wellington for our Christmas dinner. I had to make Tucker’s favorite holiday dish corn casserole but there was no corn meal or flour and no creamed corn to be found in Ireland. I made my own creamed corn and found a recipe that used flour. 
Grace made a delicious apple pie. 

We played family games most nights and had takeout a few nights. We walked and shopped and watched in amazement as the sun set each afternoon at 4ish. 

It was great to be together, even though we missed Spencer and Kaitlin. 
Tucker flew out this morning to the news that the US wasn’t accepting travelers from the UK. I told him some people in the US might not know that Ireland isn’t in the UK. 
As I write this, he’s on his plane, nearly to New York. 
Earl and I are waiting for our flight. The airline checked to see if we had the necessary health form required by Spain. We do and they waved us on. 
Fingers crossed that by the time you read this, we have safely landed in Barcelona and roared off in our little Audi back to France. 


MamaKate said...

I was so happy that you were able to spend Christmas with the kids - it helped us to know that Jack was with family when I called with our sad news.

Mystica said...

I hope your son as well as yourselves got back safely.

Paulita said...

Kate, Thanks, it was great to be with them and they seem to be doing well, all alone in the big city. Of course, they make friends very easily so they have surrounded themselves with excellent people. So sorry to hear about your father and Jack was sad. It's especially hard that he couldn't be there, but so many people are missing out on things because of Covid. He has all of those years of love that he shared with your father.
Mystica, Yes, he got back safely and had no signs of the virus. We feel very fortunate and realize now that it was not a smart move. I just hated the idea of him spending Christmas alone. It's hard when he doesn't have a partner to share things with.

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