Today is our third day back in New Zealand; the second full day of Managed Isolation. Being ‘stuck’ in a lovely hotel room is beginning to feel like our ‘new normal’. Admittedly it’s frustrating at times, as there are obviously things we want to get sorted now we’re here but are unable to. But it is what it is. Isn’t that a such a great saying, and way of accepting an inability to control our circumstances? It works for me – mostly.
Early this morning the alarm woke us both up. You may wonder why would we’d need such an intrusion. Well it was for the extended Walsh Family quiz. At a decent time in the UK of 8 pm Sunday evening, but a rather indecent 7 am here Monday morning! My daughter Kim’s been making family quizzes for a few months now, intermittently, and it’s always great fun. This morning was even better to be able to see most of the UK family despite the struggle to wake up.
The theme was ‘kids’. Lots about old TV programmes, books and characters. We came fourth out of eight teams which we felt wasn’t too shabby!
I overheard a couple of people in the exercise area yesterday saying they’d be working from their hotel room. I’m the same; now it’s Monday work beckons. This week I’ve got a new account to build, a call with ‘the boss’, and a team meeting. No client calls until next week thankfully, which will be either early morning or late at night NZ time. It’s going to take a bit of adjustment that’s for sure, but I’m so grateful to have a paid job I can do from anywhere in the world.
Today’s Calls …
We had fresh bed linen and towels delivered to the door, as well as a toilet roll and new bathroom bin bag. I’m sure we don’t really need clean bedding or towels yet. Who changes their sheets and towels after only two days and nights? Definitely not when you live on a narrowboat! I think next time we’ll leave them outside the door to be collected. Apparently we can do this, if we call reception.
The lovely ‘Wellbeing Team’ called this morning, to ask how we’re getting on. I was able to chat about my concerns that Healthline keeps calling me (not Barry for some reason. The call won’t connect as it would be over the contract on my UK phone, which is capped. Every time (three times yesterday and today!) they leave an automated message. It sounds like this is happening to everyone in MIQ, which seems bizarre. We were also informed we’d be able to leave MIQ after 8.15 am on Saturday 5th September, which is as I suspected. I called Air New Zealand last week to question why our flight to Gisborne wasn’t until 6th September, but they insisted we had to stay in MIQ until that day. We’re not yet sure how it’s going to work; there are several complexities to unravel. However this evening’s announcement that Auckland will move to Level two from next Monday may help us find a solution.
… And Activities
I’ve been on the exercise bike twice, for five minutes each ‘ride’. That’s once more than yesterday. I don’t have a structured plan, but I’m thinking if I build it up gradually I may even improve my fitness level?! There has to be advantages to this enforced stillness we just have to seek them.
We meandered down to the exercise area, signed ourselves out with security, and completed four ‘laps’. It’s rather weird to see leafless trees outside the hotel, alongside one with blossom on, having come from the British summer.
We had an uplifting and interesting catch-up with a few people who’d been on the same flight as us – at a 2-meter distance of course. The helpful and friendly Staff Sargeant who we first met on arrival at the hotel, joined us and brought us up to date with a few things.
We’ve not had a temperature check or health screen today, but it’s likely she came while we were outside. Tomorrow is counted as the official third day, and the dreaded back-of-the-nose COVID-19 swab test. We’ve been told by those who’ve experienced it that it’s rather uncomfortable …
Food And Drink
No more meal photos, I can’t imagine anyone wants to be subjected to that each day! The food is generally a good standard, but it’s impossible to please everyone all the time. Breakfast is my biggest bug-bear. This morning it was a savoury muffin, a sweet muffin, a muesli bar, a banana and a small bottle of fresh orange juice. An improvement on yesterday’s sugar overload at least.
We’re able to do a Countdown (that’s a popular albeit expensive supermarket here) online shop, and so long as we spend over $50 (not at all hard in NZ when they add GST to food!) they waiver the delivery charge of $14. That’s about £7. Can you imagine? A shockingly high charge. For some reason, my charge wasn’t wavered, so I’m in communication with them to remove it. The shop is literally next door. I’ve ordered some instant porridge I can mix with boiling water – we have no way of warming milk so that’s the only way.
One of Jamie’s Tim-Tams gifts was opened on return from our ‘outing’ – how cool is this?
Following The Rules
We really have no issue following the strict rules of the MIQ facility. As I’ve said previously, we’re in awe of the magnitude of organisation required to process thousands of kiwis returning each week into Managed Isolation and beyond.
Once we’d been through the reception area of the hotel on Saturday evening, we aren’t allowed to return there. Whether we will once we get our certificate on 5th September remains to be seen.
Returning from our walk, I noticed a laminated list of rules on our room door. If it was there before I hadn’t seen it:
Every day in MIQ brings new information, challenges and gifts. let’s hope tomorrow’s swab isn’t too yucky and the results are negative …