Flying From the U.K. to the U.S. During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Well, we made it back across the pond and to Virginia on Sunday. Deciding whether or not to make the journey back to the States this summer to visit family was probably a harder decision than when we were offered the opportunity to uproot and move to London with a 3-year-old and another baby on the way. More complicated.

Obviously, flying during a pandemic is risky; however, at the current time, the only people allowed to enter the U.S. are U.S. citizens, and Americans entering the U.K. are required by law to quarantine for 14 days, so direct flights between the U.S. and the U.K. are practically empty.

(BTW, I’m looking into donating to a carbon-offset project, because I feel pretty guilty about flying on a nearly-empty plane.)

Non-essential businesses have only just started reopening in London this month, and for the time being, the U.K. has things relatively under control.

Sign: Please no hugs no handshakes during coronavirus season
A local bar’s new outdoor seating on our high street last weekend, which is now closed to vehicles on the weekends

The U.S., clearly, does not. But fortunately the area my in-laws live in is not a big crowded city, and we are pretty much just staying put at their house. We recognized that this could be our only window for the rest of 2020 for flying to America to see our family. And while being locked down and not able to get to each other, we realized just how far away we really are. We decided it was important to go while we have the chance. Continue reading

Day 80: The End of Our Captivity, Sort of / Black Lives Matter

In our America, black lives matter poster

And on the 80th day (which was this past Tuesday), R went back to nursery school, effectively marking the end of this period of isolation for our family.

79 days in captivity chalkboard
Our count-up calendar is over, at least for now

She was so excited. We had talked about how things would be different there, and she seemed fine with it, as long as she got to go back and see her friends and her teacher. Hearing my 3-year-old ask about seeing her best friend again, “Can I touch her?” was just heart-wrenching. Continue reading

Day 26 of Our Captivity

So. The prime minister is in intensive care. The queen delivered a televised address to the nation, which she has—incredibly—done only four times in her 68-year reign. Stuff is Serious.

Puncture wounds courtesy of our dog fetching the post

Cycling down the high street is eerie, with so many businesses closed. Very few people are out, many of whom are wearing masks and gloves, and are standing 2 meters apart going down the road in a queue to enter the grocery store or post office or pharmacy. It feels like being in one of those young adult dystopian novels I generally enjoy as escapist reading, only now that’s the opposite of escapist. It’s probably a good time to re-read some Jane Austen. Continue reading

Day 10 of Our Captivity

Well, it finally happened. We knew it would. Boris Johnson announced last night that London is going into lockdown for three weeks, effective immediately. If we are not essential workers, we are allowed to leave our houses just once a day, for the purpose of going to the grocery store or pharmacy, or for exercise such as walking, running, or cycling. Non-essential shops would all be forced to close. Playgrounds and outdoor gyms are now off limits (finally). People are not allowed to be out together in groups larger than two, aside from families.

Thank goodness they haven’t closed the parks entirely (though that could be the next wave of restrictions, if people don’t behave themselves this time). If they take away M’s ability to ride his bike around Richmond Park in the early morning, my husband will LOSE THE WILL TO LIVE. Continue reading