Weekly Blog #49 - Managing expectations...

First of all: we are back at our apartment here in Shanghai. We got picked up this morning from the hotel and are now facing another 7-day quarantine at home here in Jing'an. But most importantly: my wife and I are back together after being separated at the beginning of our quarantine...


Not the usual DiDi ride through Shanghai...


Passing Shanghai Tower this morning...


Following us every step of the way...

Before we even started our journey at the beginning of December we tried to gather every piece of information that we could get on regulations, process requirements and whatever else was relevant regarding re-entering China. These pieces of information included the amount and types of tests we were supposed to take, the time-frame required to hand in all the required documents and test results before our return flight, information on our quarantine hotel and what we needed to buy in advance (including food, cleaning equipment, toilet paper, towels, clean sheets, etc....), official emergency contact numbers and so on and so forth...


After finding out that we had to take an anti-body test within 48 hours prior to our flight, we weren't sure if we'd even be able to do so and thought about cancelling the whole trip. The requirements said that we had to get tested, get the samples to a laboratory and then send the results to the Chinese Embassy in Helsinki. After that they'd be checked and we'd receive a QR code that allowed us to board the flight. Considering that our flight was leaving on the 27th this meant we had to get tested on 25th and hoped for a laboratory to be open and operating on 26th.


Being located in Naantali during our hole trip, we first tried to figure out if the laboratory in Turku - which is the next bigger city - was open on Christmas Day. At first, the information we got was positive, but they changed they opening times after we'd arrived in Finland. So upon calling the again after our arrival, they told us that they were closed from the 24th to New Years. And getting tested on the 23rd was no option. This meant we had to go to Helsinki on the 25th to get tested - a 2h one-way early morning road trip on Christmas Day... Perfect! Usually, Christmas Day is packed with family visits and lunch at grandpa's, but we decided that whatever was necessary to act according to the requirements of the Chinese CDC had to be done. So, Helsinki on the 25th it was...


Anyways, this wasn't the only roadblock we discussed prior to our journey but it was one of the major show stoppers. Considering and discussing all of these things was part of something we did to convince ourselves that it was the right choice to go to Finland, despite all the inconveniences we were about to face upon our return. To put it simply: we managed our expectations.


And here's how we did it: firstly, we assembled a list of all the things we were about to do after we got to Finland. These were things that we were really looking for and that were most important to us. The list included things like "meeting the family for the first time after 9 months", "celebrating Christmas in Masku with grandpa", "taking long walks/runs in the forest", "getting Marcus' teeth checked", "buying a whole bunch of good Finish food", "SAUNA!", etc...


After that, we tried to create a few worst case scenarios, e.g. "one of us gets sick and can't return to China", "one of us is positive for Covid before returning to China", "one of us is positive for Covid antibodies (this means, we've had it in the past six months without realizing)", "one of us is positive for Covid after our return to China and has to go to a Chinese hospital", etc...


In doing this, we were able to face a few really bad scenarios in that we'd be separated for a few weeks or even months without knowing how to communicate properly or being able to help each other. And - of course - there were a couple of scenarios regarding our return that were completely unforeseeable.


All in all, after comparing all the positive and negative aspects of our journey to Finland we decided that - if there wasn't a specific thing that completely threw us off, e.g. one of us fell sick before even starting the journey - we were going.


Now, as mentioned before, we are back in our apartment. There will be one more test on Friday, we have to report our temperature every day and there is a specific protocol we have to adhere to in accordance with CDC requirements. It would be a little bit too early to conclude that it was worth going to Finland, but all things considered I might want to say that by managing our expectations we were much more prepared and it was way less complicated and stressful than we'd expected back in early December.


So, here's to managing expectations, preparing for different scenarios and ultimately understanding that outcomes can be altered and improved once we've realize what's the worst thing that could happen and start planning accordingly and in advance...


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