It’s been 157 days since Nora was born, which was essentially the start of my and Tom’s quarantine. Things in Ireland are looking pretty good right now. Non-essential retail, hair salons, gyms, museums, and libraries are open again. Movie theaters are set to re-open next week, and the travel restrictions within Ireland have been lifted. We’ve seen a small rise in case numbers since things started re-opening, but only about 10-15/day for a week or so. It’s been reassuring to see life starting to get back to normal. The Irish government has put more strict guidelines in place around wearing a mask. They’re required when riding public transport and highly encouraged inside businesses and any place where it’s not possible to social distance. The Irish government published a list of countries that have similar or fewer case/death numbers as Ireland, and lifted the 2-week quarantine requirements when returning from those places, but non-essential travel outside the country is still highly discouraged. The US is not on Ireland’s “green list,” and the way the numbers look right now, it will be a LONG time before it is. Travel to/from the US has not been outright banned though. Many citizens are not happy about US citizens coming here, but the Irish government has not outright banned travel. Technically we could go, but it doesn’t feel safe right now, even if the numbers in Massachusetts have been holding steady. It’s been really hard not seeing friends and family, and knowing that they will miss out on knowing Nora as a baby.
As the community around us tries to resume some semblance of normalcy, I’ve been making an effort to meet some new people. I’ve joined 2 book clubs (both of which are meeting online right now), and I’ve met up with a couple of moms who have babies around Nora’s age. I’m going to meet up with some more moms on Monday. Putting myself out there to meet people I don’t know and wouldn’t naturally meet as part of work or school is way outside my comfort zone, but the quarantine put some things in perspective for me. Who knows when we’ll be able to see our friends and family in person again and Nora needs to know that people other than myself and Tom exist, and that there’s a whole world to see outside of this apartment. Plus having a few friends of my own in Dublin would be nice.
Since travel outside the country is strongly discouraged right now, Tom and I are trying to book a couple of weekend trips to see different parts of Ireland. We rented a car and visited Northern Ireland a couple of weekends ago to see Giant’s Causeway and the Dark Hedges. As is common with summers in Ireland, the weather did not cooperate. On the day we booked to go, the sunny morning quickly gave way to strong winds, rain and hail as me, Tom, and Nora in her pram started walking toward the attraction. We walked maybe 1/4 mile from the visitor center before Tom and I got completely drenched. Nora was totally fine and seemed to find the whole thing funny.
We had to turn back, pushing the pram up a steep hill with the wind in our faces. The sun came out by the time we drove to the Dark Hedges, but when we got out of the car to put Nora back in the pram, the wind still felt bitingly cold through my still soaked jeans, so we admitted defeat and went back to our Airbnb. Despite all this, we still had a great time! Tom and I used to spend a lot of time driving together before we moved and we both really missed it. I felt free being able to drive wherever we wanted and spend a couple of nights outside of the apartment. And considering Nora’s last ride in a car was at 2 weeks old and her last night spent outside the apartment was when she was 3 days old, she did pretty well.
Nora turned 5 months old last week. She started rolling over consistently in the middle of the night last night and wanted to keep practicing all night long. Occasionally she got her foot stuck in the bars of the crib, or couldn’t remember how to flip herself back onto her back, so she would start to crying and Tom and I would have to go in and rescue her. Needless to say, we’re all pretty tired today.
In other news, a piece I wrote about my struggles with insomnia will be published! This is the first piece I’ve submitted for publication since college and I’m very excited! I hope that this will be the first of many more freelance writing opportunities to come.
Well, I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Stay safe and mind yourself <3
Credits: Gifs courtesy of giphy.com