3 thursdays ago on the 19th of Mar 2020, Fiji recorded its first Covid-19 case. suddenly there was a buzz of activity. forget the panic buying at the shops. this was the longest day yet so far. for the brain, it was working on pure adrenaline.
Just that monday, i got news that my work permit cos approved. it was a four month wait, from when i was offered the job in nov.
meanwhile, my man had got his biopsy results back saying one of his sunspots was a BCC. he was advised to remove it within 2 months.
the Aussies in Fiji were told to leave within the next 2 weeks. suddenly, they were going to leave next weekend. and then suddenly the story changed again and they were going to leave THAT weekend. that day and the days that passed, we lived from hour to hour. amidst the buzz of our friends leaving within 2 days, and flights potentially being stopped and borders closed, my man and i decided it was best that he left for Aus. Thurs late night, he bought his tickets from Suva to Nadi to Bne. We also wanted to say bye to friends. We had dinner at M’s house, and took their food products. Then drove to J’s house to say bye to J and D. they had their own issues, cos D was going back to the US, and J didnt want to leave D without making sure D was on the plane to the US. We took their plants (i’ve already killed the lemon basil and thai basil, btw). then we went to F’s house to say bye to C who was leaving the next day cos she promised her mom that as soon as a case turned up in Fiji, she’d leave.
the same night, we contacted 3 airbnbs in brisbane to see if they would house a person who needed to quarantine for 2 weeks. of course our easter dive trip to Taveuni had to be cancelled. we went to bed, unsure of what the near future would look like. it was a very very very long day.
the next morning (fri), we got positive news from the airbnb ppl in Aus. no one felt like working on the friday after the news of Fiji having the virus. we spent the time at home. dropped off some bottles for recycling. bought from dried food for him to take to aus for isolation, bought some for home here. the school called and asked me if i could come in to get some admin done. i said monday. suddenly, news came out that fijiairways had cancelled some flights. my man went to their website to find out that his nadi-bne flight was changed to nadi-syd. but there was nothing on the website to click to say acknowledged and accepted. once again, we went to bed apprehensive. he woke up in the middle of the night to call fijiair – no response.
the next morn (sat), we drove down to fiji air office, queued for 2 hrs just to confirm that he was indeed on the nadi-syd flight. he was. then got home to book syd-bne flight. informed airbnb that he’d be at their place late. all good, spent the day with each other. suddenly he got news that his syd-bne flight was pushed to a later syd-bne flight. all in all, he was going to be travelling 20hrs, on a trip that should have taken 5 hrs.
the next morn (sun), we woke up at 330am. drove to the airport. he checked in. we said our byes. he left. i drove back to Suva. entered a quiet house. looked around for a few seconds. i cant remember what else i did that day. probably just lazed. i was strong. i knew we didnt know when my man and i would meet again. we’d gone thru long distance before. we know what it is. we have confidence in our relationship. that wasn’t an issue. for him, the issue was that he was leaving me behind. for me, the issue was that i got to make sure i dont get the virus cos im here on my own.
the next morn (mon), was my first day at school. it was a buzz of confusion. i took in as much as i could. i saw some students from some classes.
tues onwards, it was e-learning. wasn’t the best of conditions to start teaching, but what the hell… i have a job.
as of today, it’s been 3 weeks since my man left. in the meantime, our car battery died one evening. thankfully F stayed with me so i wasnt alone. Cyclone Harold paid us a visit from afar. the house is fine. but the car battery died again. you know what, i am strong. but it will still be nice to have someone to hug on difficult days. and with the virus, i cant even hug friends. the Singapore MFA called last week, asking about recovery flights. that didnt happen cos Suva was on lock down.
the count as of today is 16. but they’ve only tested close contacts. some of the people have loitered shops before going to clinic. the virus is out there, for sure, there are more cases. a curfew has been imposed. 8pm onwards. no gatherings, even of 2 people. no visiting friends. mix only with people in your household – in this case, it’s me myself and i. hence the isolation.
i am very grateful for alot of things. having a nice house, nice enough view, a good neighbour, contact with fellow singaporeans. i have a job, my man has a job. we are better off than many other people in the world. I’ve tried to ease the worry of my parents, telling them that it is fairly safe here. thats true. but i also have the responsibility to stay safe, cos i cannot afford my parents worrying. im generally holding it together, but some days are a bit tough.
i must say, what an experience Fiji has been so far. i still feel unsettled. as im sure many people are.