Emma in Sydney: 'I have to say, home has never felt so far away'

In the midst of the Coronavirus crisis IMAGE has reached out to women all over the world to hear how the disease is impacting their lives and their country. Emma Priestman is originally from Dublin and now living in Sydney


Our first trip home as a family with our firstborn (now three-months-old) was an extended 2-month holiday in May back to Ireland and Spain during the northern hemisphere’s warmer months…a hugely exciting trip.

I have to say, home has now never felt so far away.

Living in Australia and denying our daughter the opportunity to grow up alongside her cousins, aunts, uncles and of course grandparents was a hard decision to make. So we agreed - until the day comes that we move back - we would travel to Ireland as frequently as possible.  Needless to say, the strict travel ban now in place as a result of COVD-19, and perhaps more specifically the ambiguous length of that ban, has been a hard blow for our family to take. Like much of the world, that is now on pause. We are fortunate that our loved ones are safe and healthy, and right now that’s about as much as one can hope for. But I have to say, home has now never felt so far away.

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Ex-pats and travellers

The travel ban is just one of many measures that the Australian federal government has announced recently. These harsher measures have been introduced as a result of questionable behaviours (credit Bondi Beach) which illustrates just how difficult Australia is finding it to adjust its outdoor lifestyle.

People are increasingly influenced by the attitudes, actions and experiences of their native countries

With the sun shining through these warmer months, the ban on days spent with friends at the beach, an extended family barbeque sand even the weekly sporting activities has been difficult to enforce. This becomes ever more complex with the large number of ex-pats and travellers who densely populate Australia’s COVD-19 hotspots, many of whom do not (generally) have their own extended family to consider for social distancing. Not that it’s any excuse for us.

Given the eclectic mix of people and nationalities in the major Australian cities, the source of news, hearsay, and advice can in some instances be very different. People are increasingly influenced by the attitudes, actions and experiences of their native countries (in some instances with their approach to the virus almost mirroring those abroad).

Inconsistent

Right now, you can’t attend a relatives funeral (with more than x people) but you can get your weekly blow-dry if it can be done in under 30 mins.

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The Australian government has been inconsistent in its approach, and with social media meaning global news at our fingertips, some fear the approach has been too little (and too late) and we will face a similar trajectory to those countries now in the peak of the crisis. Whilst testing rates are some of the best in the world, Australia- a country well known for its strict quarantine rules (think being fined $400 for bringing an apple through customs in your bag by accident)- somehow recently allowed passengers (some infected) from a cruise ship roam Sydney last week without any checks.

The consensus here is, it’s all a bit confusing.

Right now, you can’t attend a relatives funeral (with more than x people) but you can get your weekly blow-dry if it can be done in under 30 mins. And the matter of schools is still unresolved, with the Federal Government recommending schools remain open whereas some states choosing to close them (Victoria the first to move). The consensus here is, it’s all a bit confusing.

I would like to see Australia roll up its sleeves and unite in the way it did during the recent bushfire crises

It’s believed that the worst is yet to be seen here. I would like to see Australia roll up its sleeves and unite in the way it did during the recent bushfire crises. I’ve no doubt that whatever happens next across the world, we will all come to appreciate what truly matters; reunions will take a different meaning, special occasions will have a new layer of celebration, a hug will reach through to the bones, and for us… the emerald isle will never look so good.


Read more: Mary in Marseille: 'I have lived and worked in many trouble spots where lockdowns and curfews were common'

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Read more: Alex in Barcelona: 'My kids and I have not left our 90sm apartment in 16 days'

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Read more: Eimear in Surrey: 'I got a temperature and a headache. I went into a deep depression and panic'

Read more: From Singapore to Sydney: Women around the world tell us how coronavirus is impacting their lives

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