State of emergency.

#metoo – of course that the whole Covid-2019 situation affected me and my family as well. As a flicker of hope that one day the pandemics will be over and we will enter a better world then we left behind us I started photographing and commenting my everyday reality. So let’s roll.

23.2.2020 Social distancing. We are being reminded of it constantly – in all ways imaginable, and from all directions. Supermarket announces good social distancing practice after each piece played in the supermarket radio. Every social media group is championing social distancing and encouraging us stay at home and do yoga and learn a new language. There seem to be people who have just time on their hands now – I wish I could swap with them for a moment. Maybe I would get something done.

28.3.2020 I’m living in several realities at the same time and I don’t know which one is to trust. In the middle of the epidemics we travelled between two countries, two societal realms and two sets of directives. One moment all establishments are closed, and citizens are reminded of their responsibility to withdraw from social contact. A timezone away the attitude is much less relaxed. And then there are the stateless (social) media and the facts and the constant stream of news. Whom shall we trust? How much shall we follow the news for? How far shall I go? Where is the boundary between being paranoid and responsible? Shall I wash the groceries’ packaging?

31.3.2020 I have never in my 7 years in Finland encountered so many people walking outside. There is a constant flow of pedestrians along pretty much any pedestrian route, particularly along those within proximity to bodies of water or trees.

2.4.2020 There is an improvised mini-office in nearly every room of our flat. Computers, headphones, piles of papers and sticky notes remind us all of the world we left behind us. Today Ville had a conference call and, well, I did not hear much, but what I overheard seemed so unimportant when put in context with what is going on in the rest of the world.

07.04.2020 Lea is happy to be home, but she realizes that although we are at home the routines have changed. I cannot tell how much she misses her friends and activities, but I noticed she has been testing me and her everyday routines. She is looking in my eyes and asking about trains, about playgroup friends and their parents and about pressing buttons on the bus. I explain, I discuss, I offer substitutes. I wish for her sake that we will be able to ride the train soon again without holding breath.

8.4.2020 We have to cook warm meals at least twice a day – and we eat together at least three times a day. Only now I realize how different our weekly-lunch expectations are. There is a lot of cooking and a lot of dishes. We try to get our shopping done in two quick shopping rounds a week, so we end up with a lot of groceries and fresh produce stored around the kitchen – the fridge is too small to fit all the click-top-dishes and potatoe sacks. And finally we get to use our cold storage to its best.

9.4.2020 Covid triggers all sorts of paranoias and certainly changes our perception of our daily word. The other day we were walking in the back yard – a rocky piece of land where nature takes over the man-made landmarks. And there I saw this, stacked block of ice and a plank of wood. A sign that somebody had been there before us. Since the Covid outbreak I have been paying attention to these little traces of people’s activity outdoors. Parts of children’s games – neatly stacked cones, tiny houses and play kitchens, hideaways and bunkers. Otherwise cute reminders of children’s creativity, now a potential threat. Is it safe to be here? Is it safe to touch anything? When will we be able to play outside worry-free again?

10.4.2020 Spring in Finland arrived about the same time as the state of emergency. And while I bewail the world we left behind us and sink deeper into depression of the societal vacuum, everything outside starts growing green and fresh and bursting into flowers. Whatever happens to my soul and to our society, the nature will keep doing her thing. Thankfully.

12.4.2020 Before the pandemics I was a keen urban eco-champion. I had previously downscaled my possessions, swapped plastic for glass and wood, got rid of most disposable everyday items and I would never go shopping without a stash of reusable bags. Now I’m looking at disposable plastic in a different way – with more compassion and gratitude.

Still, I’m getting seriously worried about the amount of trash from disposables the pandemics will bring about and the state of our microbiome after vigorous sanitizing. And I have been trying to find the best hand-cream formula for DIY hand cream that actually works and soothes those poor chopped hands. I have not succeeded yet, I need more power from the nature.

16.4.2020 The other day I saw a used disposable face-mask just lying about in the forest. I was out and about picking cones with Lea and had just forgotten about the whole Covid issue, and then this, like a smack in the face. The whole walk, the whole experience had been contaminated. It felt like I should probably remove it, but I couldn’t stop imagining that the mask was full of the deadly virus. I actually have been imagining the disease a lot lately, and I promise I will upload a picture of its graphic representation (pen and ink!). I love science and I know about the composition of viruses, but it does not match what I feel it looks like.

In the end I did pick it up (with a plastic bag over my hand) and was proud of myself for having overcome my fear. But it was not as straightforward as if this would have happened a few weeks back.

18.4.2020 One of the changes the pandemics hopefully will bring about is overcoming social stigmas.

With all those measures forcing us into covering our face and hands, things are happening in the streets. Underneath diverse face covers, gas masks, unfashionable gloves we are looking out for nuances of emotions – smirking, smiling and glancing from underneath the aforementioned.

We may, in fact, just learn to see through the others are wearing and instead – just like we are doing at the moment – look for what is behind the cover. This sounded unintentionally deep, I was thinking looking for glimpses and signs of expressions the way we are used to see in bare-mouthed people. And I’m writing this from Finland where face masks are not (yet) compulsory.

19.4.2020 Worry-free does not equal safe. After all human life is by default not safe – there are all kinds of dangers lurking everywhere. All those bumps, bruises, paper cuts, broken hearts, crashed cars, diseases, we have learned to (albeit unknowingly) embrace these and just, well, manage to continue our lives without worrying too much. But for now, worrying has become such an integral part of our lives that I cannot imagine what it is going to feel like when (if ever) the imminent danger is over. For sure I know that… that I’m missing living worry-free.

20.4.2020 The pandemics has stripped me naked, peeled of all my protective layers. One by one, I have been losing my safety network in forms of casual social contacts, illusion of company and institution visits that root me in the local community. The burden of general uncertainty and confinement to the place has taken its all. Only now I feel how lonely and unrooted I am. How much I would like to learn and develop. How little I have achieved and how few people I have around myself. Ah, loneliness, the largest of my inner demons, I hope I gain something from you this time and grow.

21.4.2020 I have now been growing my hair for a year. I have always wanted to try having long hair, also, while expecting Lea I thought I would be great to donate my hair to charity. Back then my hair was amazing, thick, long and shiny – pregnancy did wonders to it. Then I cut it a bit to get unified length, and now, despite nutrition from inside and outside, it is not going as planned – it feels as if my hair has stopped growing half-way. This is the story many of you have heard from me before.

But little did you know that I had another body hair project going on. I put an end to it last week, as a symbolic gesture of the end of winter and the strictest of the COVID19 restrictive measures.

25.5.2020 Wearing face masks makes communication difficult. I lose at least a half of the message as I keep getting distracted and, well, I just don’t get my gestures, smirks, facial expressions. My smiles and frowns and those ööö-confused faces. I’m glad that the compulsory use of masks in public is over now. But I respect all of those among us who continue using them.

27.5.2020 I hope it is safe to feel the sand, feel the cherry blossoms (that everyone has been photographing) feel the water, touch the trees, pick flowers, walk barefoot. To swim in the lake and sit on the beach. For how long does coronavirus survive in the sand, how well does it get washed off with seawater.

And then I got distracted and just enjoyed the sunny day.

28.5.2020 I realised that we do not need spatial boundaries anymore. The space is here and it should be used by all of us. It should be personal and cosy yet plain and fluid at the same time. I learned to create my own personal space anywhere.

It was not completely by choice, and also I’m not the only one in this flat (that is one of those few spatial boundaries that will remain unchanged) re-purposing the space, but we learned to actually enjoy it. Most of the times.

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