Last time we visited Finland and saw my family was in August 2019, it’s been over 2 years now that I’ve seen my parents and my siblings. My niece is already over 1 year old and I have never seen her. Last Summer my grandmother passed away and I couldn’t be there to say goodbye. I don’t easily miss home, but I think it’s safe to say that during these times thinking of home can be very painful.
Why we aren’t hopping on the plane and visiting Finland then? Technically it should be possible to do so, but here are the reasons why we choose not to.
Our daughter is not vaccinated yet and I don’t feel comfortable traveling with her without her being vaccinated. There are also uncertainties of whether non vaccinated kids are able to return to China or not. Our daughter has a Finnish citizenship plus a Chinese exit entry permit, and is considered to be “kind of Chinese” by the local authorities here in China, but would that be enough to come back to China? We don’t know. There has been cases where a family decided not to come to China or return to China because their family couldn’t go with them.
Risk of covid
Traveling and being in Finland it self is a risk of actually getting covid, significantly more riskier than staying home in Guangzhou. For returning to China, we would need to show negative test results. This means we would have to be very careful when visiting Finland, because in case of a positive result of covid, we wouldn’t be able to return to China until the results turn negative. Risk of getting stuck in Finland is too high in our opinion. Being stuck in Finland would mean that our daughter would miss school and we wouldn’t be able to go back to work, which of course would be devastating to our finances.
Quarantine for at least two weeks
Coming back to China we would have to do centralized quarantine for at least two weeks, most likely added with one more week at home. You can’t choose which hotel you will do the quarantine, but it will be in the city where you land. At the moment there are direct flights only to Shanghai, so we would have to quarantine there. I don’t want to do quarantine with my 6 year old daughter.
Cost of travel and quarantine
A quick search on Finnair website for flights next August, I could find decent prices for going to Finland, but only business class tickets for returning to China. That would mean our flight tickets would cost over 10k euros for the three of us. No way we have the kind of money lying around. Then after landing is the cost of quarantine which can be estimated to be around 800-1000 euros. Financially it’s just not possible for us to travel. (If there are economy flights both ways, the cost of flights and quarantine together would be around 3000 euros, still a big sum for us!)
Chinese companies don’t give long Summer holidays like in Finland, my husband would only be able to get 1 week off, that isn’t enough even for the quarantine! Our daughter has a 1 months Summer holiday, with possible 3 week quarantine it would only leave 1 week in Finland. Keeping in mind the flights get cancelled all the time, it wouldn’t make it very difficult to come back on time for school and work.
Risk of being separated
All of this becomes a lot easier if I would travel alone or just with our daughter (my husband staying in Guangzhou). But this puts us in risk of being separated in case something happens and me/we wouldn’t be ablate return to China. I can barely think of any reason, besides a couple of nightmares that I truly wish won’t happen, that I would travel without my daughter. I wouldn’t be able to cope to being away from her. During these two years, especially in 2020 I knew few parents that were away from their small children for a year.
As much as it hurts me that I have no way of knowing when I’m able to see my parents and siblings again, traveling to Finland right now just isn’t an option for us. In Guangzhou our daughter is able to live a normal life and the only things in her everyday life that still reminds her of covid are masks and showing health codes when we enter the indoor playgrounds.