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Aussie Life

A Break for the border

Australia has been spared the COVID-19 impact felt by the rest of the world. We are extremely fortunate although that is no comfort to the families of the 910 people who have lost their lives to this terrible virus.

If you are a regular follow (thank you) you will have read that our family experienced a few challenges thrown up by the pandemic starting last March with the cancellation of our son’s wedding (the first time). We know that we don’t make plans during this time because they can alter in a heartbeat – right? We always have to expect the unexpected.

So planning an interstate relocation in all of this was bound to have some risks associated with it and it sure did.

My plan was to have my belongings ‘lifted’ on 30th March, finish my current role on 8th April, fly to Adelaide that evening, removal consignment arrives 9th – the weekend to get straight and start the new job on 12th – easy. But no! At 5.00 pm on Monday 29th March, Greater Brisbane went into a snap three day lockdown following a community outbreak of the virus. Shortly after the Queensland and South Autralian border was closed to all except emergency workers, returning South Australians and people genuinely relocating (me!) The last time the borders were closed, they remained that way until there had been 28 days straight of no community transmission – Chief and I decided it would be best for me to make a dash for the border on the ASAP, knowing I would have to clear 14 days in self-isolation before I was able to commence my new role – there was a lot to do.

Firstly to clear with my current manager that he was happy for me to finish up my notice working from SA (after all, what was the difference from working from home?) Once I had approval for that, it was a case of booking a flight, and completing a cross-border declaration, providing evidence that I was genuinely relocating (contract of employment, lease agreement). The South Australian police are responsible for approving this process. While waiting for approval, I needed to pack a case and finish packing removal boxes for my shipment of belongings which was still being collected the next day – my brain was in chaos! I also had to advise my new boss that I would be delayed starting as I would still be in quarantine.

When I looked into what self-quarantine actually meant, I realised that I would not be able to stay with anyone as I needed my own bathroom, kitchen and living space – it was going to be a challenge! I put out a call for help on the ‘Friends-Helping-Friends’ telegraph and before too long, I had secured a place to stay. I am blessed with the most wonderful friends. My new plan was all coming together but by the next morning, the day of my departure, I still hadn’t received approval to travel from the SA police. Nevertheless, I cracked on with planning my departure. The removal company arrived just after midday and set about loading the container. About half an hour later, I finally received approval to travel – it was game on!

My flight arrived into Adelaide well into the evening and it took no time at all to pass through the arrivals and to be accepted into the bossom of Adelaide once more. I had the opportunity to have take my first COVID test while at the airport which I did – it wasn’t pleasant.

My uber dropped me off at a location somewhere in the Adelaide foothills. The house was surrounded by gums and through the darkness, I could just make out the glistening lights of the city. My hostess had left a key under the mat (yes, people do still do that). I had made it. My destination reached and now for 14 days of isolation just in case I had brought COVID-19 into the State – just in case.

I woke to a perfect day of wall to wall blue sky. The birds were busy waking each other and the neighbourhood up. It was glorious. My daughter had left groceries, an Easter egg, flowers and her special mug for me to use – I felt special. My digs were spacious and I was extremely grateful that I was not confined to hotel quarantine with no air, in fact I had a four-bedroomed house all to myself. I had a circuit through the main living rooms and I worked out that I would have to do fifty laps to walk one kilometre. I cut out fifty little squares of paper that I would use to count my laps. I dropped one off at the start of each lap. I was sorted – this was the way I was going to keep myself moving!

Kitchen Window View

Within 24 hours I received my first test results – negative. So far, so good! It didn’t take long to settle into my own space; I was still working out my notice so had plenty to keep me occupied. I was excited that my daughter (Flossy) and her fiance (The Chippy) were popping around in the evening to drop supplies off and wave through the window. I decided to have a tidy up – there were a couple of items that needed to go in the recycling bin out the front, including a bottle. (Explainer – my hostess had generously left half a bottle of bubbles as a welcome for me, which I had enjoyed the evening before). I took the empty bottle to the recyling bin and as I walked out of the house, somehow managed to trip over. I landed heavily on my right knee and right hand which landed on top of the bottle I was carrying smashing into pieces and piercing my hand. Five cuts and a dead thumb. Ouch! I thought, that hurt! I dared to look – it wasn’t pleasant – and my initial thought was A&E for stitches. I was able to call my Flossy who made a detour to pick up first aid provisions. As I was not supposed to have contact with anyone, I had to stick myself back together. All was good and a trip to A & E had been averted. My ploy to leave quarantine had failed!

Easter was looming and family were making plans for social gatherings – My son dropped off a couple of bottles of wine for me – like I needed more!

I was excited by a knock at the door one evening only to open the door to two police officers who had come to ‘check on me’. Making sure that I was where I was supposed to be. They left me in peace.

By Easter Saturday, the lockdown in Queensland had been lifted and although mask-wearing was in place, citizens were able to go about their business pretty much as usual. So if I’d stayed in Queensland, I would be free. Instead, I was in South Australia doing my bit to ensure if I had COVID, I wasn’t spreading it amongst the community – good girl.

It wasn’t long before the South Australian Government followed suit and decided to lift quarantine restrictions with immediate effect – yippee! But did that mean I was instantly free? I’d better check and yes, I had it on good authority that I was indeed a free agent although I was still required to undergo COVID testing on day 5 and day 13.

Flossy picked me up and I enjoyed an Easter social gathering. Because I had not packed, I spent one final night at my quarantine digs and the next morning took myself off for the day five test.

And so I finally moved in with Flossy and The Chippy to await the arrival of my consignment and the start of my new job. The COVID test results are turned around within 24 hours and are received via SMS. I was surprised to receive a phone call from SA Health – Oh! no, I’ve tested positive! Actually, I was receiving official notice that it was ok for me to leave quarantine – even though I had been advised on Saturday – Erm!

Somewhere over the rainbow

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