Self Isolation in The Netherlands (Covid-19) – First Month

RO: Vorbim despre autoizolare pentru ca in Olanda nu a fost inca declarata carantina sau stare de urgenta (pana la data de 12 aprilie 2020 cand am publicat acest articol cel putin). Au fost impuse masuri de siguranta: inchiderea creselor, scolilor si universitatilor, inchiderea restaurantelor, barurilor, cafenelelor, salilor de sport pana pe 28 aprilie (coffee shop-urile tipic olandeze raman insa deschise :D), inchiderea saloanelor de frumusete, scolilor auto, muzeelor, cinematografele, magazinelor, anularea oricaror evenimente publice si recomandarea de a sta acasa, insa acestea nu sunt la fel de restrictive ca in alte state. Ba chiar multa vreme s-a dorit imunizarea populatiei (herd immunity), si au insistat destul de mult pe aceasta abordare, insa ulterior (probabil sub presiunea altor state) s-au aliniat masurilor implementate si in alte state europene (lucrat de acasa cat mai mult posibil, recomandarea de a sta la 1,5 metri distanta de orice alta persoana, stat cat mai mult acasa, evitat vizitele si adunarile), iar pentru persoanele peste 70 de ani toate aceste recomandari erau mai accentuate. Insa nu este nevoie de declaratie pe proprie raspundere (cum se intampla in Romania, Franta, Luxemburg sau alte tari) pentru a iesi din casa, nu este interzis iesitul din casa sau plimbatul (ba chiar sunt destul de multi oameni afara, in autobuze, pe biciclete sau in plimbare), este permis iesitul pentru a lua aer, pentru a face sport, pentru a face cumparaturi, pentru a ajuta alte persoane cu cumparaturile. Cu toate acestea, noi am ales sa stam in casa de pe 10 martie.

EN: We’re talking about self isolation because in The Netherlands we don’t have a complete lockdown yet (at least not until 12th of April 2020 when we published this article). There are several safety measures already implemented: daycare, schools and universities are closed, restaurants, bars, cafes, gyms are all closed until 28th of April (however, the typical Dutch coffee shops are still open :D), the beauty salons, driving schools, museums, cinemas, shops are closed, all public events were cancelled and we all have the recommendation to stay at home, but these are not as restrictive as they are in other countries. For quite a long time the Government wanted to implement the so called herd immunity and they insisted a while with this approach, but afterwards (probably under the pressure of the other European states) they aligned their safety measures (work from home as much as possible, staying 1,5 meters away from other people, staying at home, avoiding visits and gatherings) and for those above 70 years old all these are a bit more emphasized. But we don’t need to fill in a form to go out of the house (as it happens in Romania, France, Luxembourg or other countries), it is not forbidden to go outside or to go for a walk (actually there are quite a lot of people outside, in the buses, on the bicycles or just walking), we are allowed to go outside for taking some fresh air, for making sport, shopping or for helping other persons with shopping. However, we have chosen to stay inside the house since 10th of March.
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RO: Initial, inainte ca statul olandez sa anunte toate aceste masuri (destul de tarziu fata de oricare alt stat european), ni s-a parut ca oamenii aveau o atitudine extrem de relaxata, uneori de-a dreptul ignoranta, referitor la aceasta pandemie. Practic inchideau ochii la tot ce se intampla in alte state europene si considerau ca ei nu pot ajunge in situatia Italiei, bazandu-se pe un sistem medical mai bine pregatit. Insa dupa ce au fost anuntate masurile de catre guvern, oamenii au inceput sa ia lucrurile mai in serios. Fara panica, fara stres, fara prea mult tam-tam. Da, nimanui nu ii place situatia actuala (mai ales acum cand este o vreme atat de frumoasa, atat de tentanta pentru activitati in natura) insa se conformeaza. Sunt ingrijorati, dar nu par sa priveasca lucrurile cu dramatism si nici sa se revolte asupra masurilor luate. De fapt… au o atitudine conforma cu felul olandezilor de a fi. Calma si pragmatica. Si pana in acest moment, olandezii au avut dreptate. Chiar daca numarul cazurilor a crescut, cresterea a fost intotdeauna constanta, nu a existat un varf, nu a existat o perioada de criza pana acum (cel putin daca ne luam dupa cifrele si statisticile raportate). Speram din suflet sa se mentina situatia la fel si lunile urmatoare, dar pana acum lucrurile par sa fie sub control.

EN: Before the Dutch government announced all these measures (a bit later that any other European state), we initially thought that the people were a bit too relaxed, sometimes we even considered them ignorants with regards to this pandemic. They were basically ignoring what was happening in other European countries and considering that they cannot get into Italy’s shoes thanks a better medical system. But after the measures were announced by the government, people started to take things more seriously. But without being panicked, without being stressed, without any kind of hustle an bustle. Yes, nobody likes the current situation (especially now, when we have such a gorgeous weather outside, so tempting for playing and all sort of activities in the nature) but everyone complies with the rules. People are worried but they are not being dramatic or rebellious towards the measures imposed. In fact… their attitude is according to the Dutch way of being. Calm and pragmatic. And up until now, the Dutch people are right. Even though the number of cases is increasing, the increase was always constant, there hasn’t been a peak, there hasn’t been a crisis until now (at least if we consider the numbers and statistics reported). We truly hope that the situation will be the same in the next few months, but up until now things seem to be under control.
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RO: Cat despre statul acasa… desi situatia nu este atat de restrictiva in Olanda, noi stam acasa de pe 10 martie. In tot acest timp am fost de doua ori la supermarket (doar Andrei se ocupa de cumparaturi), in rest am reusit sa facem doar cumparaturi online la supermarketuri (Albert Heijn si Jumbo). A fost intr-adevar destul de dificil sa gasim sloturi disponibile (gaseam cam in zece zile, uneori chiar doua saptamani), insa incercam sa ne organizam si programam comenzile in asa fel incat sa nu fie nevoie sa mergem la supermarketuri deloc. Nu am cumparat excesiv, am luat doar ce consumam in mod normal insa raportat la o perioada de timp mai mare (de regula mergeam o data la doua zile la supermarket, acum faceam cumparaturile o data la 10 zile), am congelat alimentele usor perisabile si am incercat sa reducem pe cat posibil risipa alimentara. Nu am comandat mancare de la restaurante (multe dintre ele livrau, insa pana la acest moment nu le-am incercat) insa am folosit serviciul celor de la Hello Fresh (o firma foarte cunoscuta in Olanda care aduce ingredientele pentru diverse retete, cu explicatii pas cu pas si imagini detaliate) atunci cand aveam nevoie de putina diversitate in meniu. Poate ca nu avem suficienta experienta cu livrarile de mancare, insa ne pare ca nu sunt atat de multe optiuni (cel putin aici, in satucul unde locuim noi, probabil in Utrecht situatia este diferita). Desi plimbarile sunt permise, le-am evitat pe cat posibil, cel mult am iesit in jurul casei pentru ca Alexei sa se poata plimba cu tricicleta. Insa suntem teribil de norocosi sa avem o curte micuta in spatele casei, unde sa putem face tot felul de activitati si sa ne bucuram de vremea frumoasa.

EN: As for the staying at home… even though things are not so restrictive in The Netherlands, we are staying at home since 10th of March. In all this time we’ve been to the supermarket twice (actually only Andrei goes shopping), the rest of the shopping we made online (at Albert Heijn and Jumbo). It was a bit hard to find available slots for delivery (we always found in ten days sometimes even two weeks) but we try to schedule and plan our orders so that we don’t have to go to the supermarket at all. We didn’t make impulsive shopping, we only bought what we usually eat but for a longer period of time (we usually go to the supermarket every two days, now we shop online every 10 days), we freezed the perishable foods and we tried to avoid food waste as much as possible. We didn’t order food from the restaurants (some of them have delivery service but up until now we haven’t tried them) but we used Hello Fresh service (a well known company in The Netherlands that brings home the ingredients for different recipes, with step by step explinations and detailed images) when we needed a bit of diversity in our menu. Maybe we don’t have enough experience with food deliveries yet but we think that there are not so many options (at least here, in the small town where we live, maybe in Utrecht things are completely different). Even though walking is allowed, we avoided doing this as much as possible, we just stayed around our house so that Alexei can ride his tricycle. But we are extremely happy to have a small backyard where we can make all sort of activities and enjoy the good weather.
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RO: In timpul saptamanii situatia nu este complet diferita fata de normal, Andrei lucreaza de acasa si este mare parte din timp ocupat cu sedinte si lucrat, insa orice timp liber pe care il are la birou il petrece cu noi. Weekendurile sunt poate mai dificile, pentru ca obisnuiam sa avem intotdeauna un plan incarcat, sa plecam prin diverse locuri (indiferent de vreme), sa facem multe plimbari si activitati, insa acum avem ocazia sa ne bucuram de casa in care locuim, sa gatim tot felul de retete, sa ne jucam si sa ne planificam intoarcerea in Romania. Faptul ca il avem pe Alexei ne tine mintea si timpul ocupate, astfel ca nu avem multe momente in care sa ne intristam sau sa despicam firul in patru referitor la timpurile pe care le traim. Suntem insa ingrijorati iar faptul ca nu stim cum va arata viitorul nostru apropiat pune foarte multe presiune pe noi si ne streseaza destul de mult.

EN: During the week things are not completely different, Andrei is working from home and most of the time he is busy with meetings and working, but every spare time he has, he spends it with us. Weekends are a bit more difficult, because we are used with having a busy schedule, to go to different places (no matter the weather), to walk a lot, to have all sort of activities, but now we have the chance to enjoy the house we’re living in, to cook a lot, to play and to plan our return to Romania. The fact that we have Alexei keeps our mind and time busy, so we don’t have many moments of sadness, we don’t have time to overthink about the times we’re living. But we are worried and the fact that we don’t know how the future will look like for us puts a lot of pressure on us and it stresses us quite a lot.
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RO: Insa zilele trec neasteptat de repede pentru noi iar pana acum nu am simtit niciun moment ca ne plictisim, ca nu stim ce sa mai facem cu timpul sau ca innebunim in casa. Stim ca situatia este complet diferita pentru cei care nu au copii sau pentru cei care sunt singuri (lucrurile sunt poate la pol opus), insa noi ne simtim la foc continuu πŸ™‚ Si o spunem intr-un sens pozitiv. Avem multe lucruri organizatorice de facut in casa (si nu, inca nu am ajuns la capitolul ordine si reorganizat si cel mai probabil nici nu vom ajunge :D), iar principalul nostru focus este sa il facem pe Alexei sa se simta bine, sa se bucure de perioada aceasta, atat cat este posibil. Sa fim noi cat mai prezenti, cat mai implicati in joaca, cat mai creativi, cat mai rabdatori si toleranti si sa ii transmitem o energie cat mai pozitiva si optimista. Chiar daca ne framanta multe griji si planuri pe care trebuie sa le punem la punct, nu vrem sa ii transmitem starea noastra lui Alexei, ba dimpotriva, vrem sa se bucure de fiecare zi, de fiecare joc sau activitate. Iar lucrurile merg bine pana acum.

EN: But days are passing by extremely fast and up until now we didn’t have any moment of boredom, we never asked ourselves what to do with the time we have and we never felt that we’re going mad staying at home. We know things are different for those who don’t have children yet or for those who are alone (maybe completely the opposite) but we feel that we always have something to do. And we say this is a positive way. We have many things to organize in the house (and no, we still haven’t had time for cleaning and reorganizing and we probably won’t have it soon :D) but our main focus now is to make Alexei feel good, to enjoy this time, as much as he can. We want to be present, we want to be involved in playing, be creative, patient and tolerant and we want to send him a good, positive and optimistic vibe. Even though we are worried and we need to plan a lot our next months, we don’t want to transfer our feelings to Alexei, actually on the contrary, we want him to enjoy every day, every game and activity. And things are going well so far.
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RO: Da, ne lipseste natura, ne lipsesc plimbarile, ne lipseste mersul la restaurant sau la locurile de joaca pentru Alexei. Insa incercam sa avem in vedere faptul ca este o situatie temporara. Nu stim cat va dura acest temporar, probabil mult mai mult decat am fi sperat, insa in final va trece. Nu ne facem planuri marete pentru viitor, incercam sa ramanem cat mai ancorati in realitate, sa nu ne documentam excesiv, sa avem grija ce citim si de unde ne extragem informatia (televizorul nu il folosim) si sa fim foarte precauti. Nu este o corvoada statul acasa, ba chiar dimpotriva, ne bucuram ca suntem cu totii impreuna, ca petrecem mult timp impreuna, ca il vedem amandoi pe Alexei crescand sub ochii nostri. Nu avem mai mult timp, nu ne plictisim, nu citim mai mult, nu ne uitam la seriale si nu facem reorganizare in casa. Cel putin nu inca. Zilele ne sunt deja pline cu lucratul lui Andrei (si in cateva zile si al meu), cu pregatitul meselor, somnului, spalatului si activitatilor pentru Alexei. Trebuie doar sa ne organizam si sa ne planificam zilele mai bine decat o faceam inainte si sa ne concentram sa ne mentinem rabdarea, toleranta si linistea.

EN: Yes, we miss nature, we miss our walks, we miss going to the restaurant or to the playgrounds for Alexei. But we try to always remember that this is a temporary situation. We don’t know how long this “temporary” will last, probably longer than we hoped, but in the end it will pass. We are not making huge plans for the future, we just try to be as down to earth as possible, to avoid over documenting, to be careful what we read and where we get our information from (we don’t use TV) and of course, to be as cautious as possible. Staying at home is not a burden, actually on the contrary, we are glad that we are together, spending time together, seeing Alexei growing in front of our eyes. We don’t have more time, we are not getting bored, we don’t read more, we don’t watch TV shows, we don’t have time for reorganizing our stuff at home. At least not yet. Our days are full with Andrei working (in a few days I will also start working), with preparing meals, Alexei’s nap, washing and doing activities for Alexei. We just have to organize our time better, to plan our days better than we used to do it and focus on not loosing our patience, our tolerance and calm.
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RO: Concluzia ar fi ca lucrurile par sa fie mai linistite in Olanda, chiar daca numarul cazurilor de infectari cu corona virus este mare si in continua crestere. Nu a fost niciodata atmosfera aceea de “apocalipsa”, dar lucrul acesta are cumva si o componenta culturala. Olandezii sunt din fire foarte relaxati si privesc totul cu detasare, fara sa se panicheze usor. Iar guvernul olandez incearca asa numitul “lockdown inteligent” pentru a minimiza impactul asupra economiei si asupra societatii. Daca este o abordare corecta? Nu vom afla curand. Insa vom vedea dupa 28 aprilie care vor fi urmatorii pasi.

EN: The conclusion is that things seem to be a bit more relaxed in The Netherlands, even if the number of corona virus infections is high and continues to increase. We never felt that “apocalyptic” atmosphere but underneath this there is also a cultural reason. The Dutch people are very relaxed and pragmatic, they don’t panic easily. And the Dutch government tries the so called “intelligent lockdown” in order to minimize the impact on economy and on the society. Is this a correct approach? We won’t find this soon. But we will see what the next steps are after 28th of April.Β