Heading home

February has been a kind of roller-coaster for me. So much that I have had hardly any time to write.

It is hard to pin point why it was the case, but I guess that it all started when a colleague at the Universidad Nacional commented “en passant” that the KLM flights were returning empty to the Netherlands. How weird? – I thought.

It didn’t take too long to find out why the Netherlands had tightened the entry rules and asked for two Covid tests in order to board the plane. A PCR taken between 72 and 48 hours prior to the arrival to the Netherlands and a fast antigen test that had to be taken 4 hours before the boarding. Just a minor detail: the fast antigen test was not available in Costa Rica.

I called the different labs that were offering the PCR test and none of them could tell me when they would have the antigen test available. The best answer that I had was that it will take at least two or three weeks. We estimated that if everything went like a shine, the test would be available juuuuuuust before our scheduled flight. It was a tight call.

And then, KLM decided to cancel our flight and rebook us in an earlier flight. No way that we could have the second test by then.

So, after one or two sleepless nights, we decided to postpone our return flight one month. ….only to find out a week later that most European flight companies would stop flying directly between Costa Rica and Europe in April. Iberia had substituted their direct flight for two flights via the USA and KLM would start flying through Panama from the 27th of March.

Minor detail: Panama is now in the red list in Europe and no flights are allowed from Panama….not to speak about the nightmare of having to comply with the entry requirements for Matilda in a third country.

Sooooo, we had to abandon the plans to travel of postponing our return for a month and go back to our plans to fly back in march, while we could still get a direct flight.

Fun right? to add salt to the wound, before I was informed that the KLM flights were returning to Europe empty, I had started the process of selling the car (since we planned to leave in early march), people were ringing and I couldn’t give them a date in which I would be able to deliver the car..since it was a moving target.

To add even more salt to the wound, I had already started the program with the students in Lund, going back and forth to San José every week, which didnt give me a lot of spare time to do the “other” things: rebooking the KLM flight, informing the potential buyers about our changes of plans, finding out where and when we could take the new Covid tests, etc, etc, etc.

Additionally, during the last study trip with the students we also got the notification from migration that our temporary residence was approved. We had to go to the bank, get an appointment with migration and make time to go personally so that they can check our passports….in an already quite busy schedule.

And in the midst of all this, Matilda gets her paw infected and had to be taken urgently to the vet. As if I needed more excitement in my life!

So, I have been STRESSED. Very stressed. It does not help either that I am not particularly keen to return. I’d rather stay here, where we can have a more or less normal life in a warm country, than going back to Europe where not only is still cold but the freedom of movement is rather limited due to Covid. But I guess that the D-day of returning to Europe cannot be postponed forever….

And as I am writing these lines, I can hear agent Smith telling Neo, hear that? “that is the sound of inevitability”.


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