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And then you only have to quarantine for Christmas: 'She's crying, actually'

And then you only have to quarantine for Christmas: ‘She’s crying, actually’

After a young year, Christmas can proceed fairly normally. Unless you have this virus now of course. Three of the patients are spending their holidays in quarantine. “We were looking forward to it.”

Stijn Walker

Jean Loires (27), founder of jewelry brand JEAN, celebrates Christmas with her boyfriend: “Our plan: good food, good wine and dancing in the living room”

Janne Lauwers took two negative self-exams before finding out earlier this week that she was infected after all. “I was really reasonable pissed When I heard that the test results were positive. Every time I’ve seen friends in the past few weeks, I’ve done a self-examination wholeheartedly, just to avoid this situation. And now I’m going to stay in quarantine until right after Christmas. She’s crying, actually.”

Usually, Christmas Eve is celebrated every year at her mother’s house, where the whole family – grandmother, aunts and nieces – gather around the festive table that evening. That was finally the plan again this year, after the copy got lost in 2020. “Christmas, these are always nice evenings with us. We always take hours to open all the gifts because everyone buys something for each other and there is always plenty to drink. I live by myself in I sang, and my family is in Tisendirlo, so I don’t see my family much. I was looking forward to this evening.”

Jan and her boyfriend in their apartment in Ghent. Our plan: Dance together in the living room.Picture of Wouter Van Vooren

For the rest of her family, the party continues as usual. “I had already informed my niece that I would not be there this year, and she immediately replied that she already liked the party ten times less. My mother is also very sorry that I have to miss this edition, just like my grandmother.”

Although Jan and her boyfriend will try to make the most of it at home. They managed to order the Christmas menu at the last minute at a Ghent restaurant, then celebrated Christmas Eve at home with the two of them. “Like last year, so. Our plan: good food, good wine and dancing in the living room. We also agreed to dress each other on Christmas Eve. I think it’s important that we don’t just spend these days in pajamas, and that it remain a bit festive.”

“Meanwhile, I’ve already informed my mom that I’m asking for a second family party,” laughs the twenty, who have cold complaints but fortunately already feel less lousy. “You will see what she can do. These gifts will not remove themselves, will they.”

Robin Marisen, 49, physical education teacher, quarantined in his son’s bedroom: ‘The turkey comes to throw my mother at the door’

When he started having muscle aches last weekend, Robin Marinisen initially thought it was from the cold bike ride from the day before. But when the cough came later, he could already feel the mood being lingering. “The fever also started, and a later self-exam confirmed what I had already feared: This second streak was there a few seconds later.”

Everyone in Mariensen’s home – his wife and two of his three children – are now quarantined in their own room. Robin anyway until after Christmas, the rest of the family until they get the PCR result. “If they test negative, there is a chance that some festivities can continue with the family on Friday evening. I really hope so for them. But I have to stay in my room upstairs anyway. It’s simply no different.”

Robin is in quarantine at his home in Prashat.

Robin is in quarantine at his home in Prashat. “I’m now sleeping in my teenage son’s room, so I can play myself on his Xbox.”Picture of Wouter Van Vooren

Everything should have looked a little more festive this year. The plan was to have a party with the siblings at Mom’s Restaurant, and then another party at home. Pull names and buy gifts, you know it. We were really looking forward to it, because we haven’t seen each other in real life for a long time. After the missed party last year, my mother, who was on her own, was especially looking forward to meeting again this year. She had ordered good food early from the caterer. Now she’s about to throw that meat at the front door.”

Robin, who has been hit hard by the virus for several days, is trying to stay positive in these imperfect conditions. “I now sleep in my teenage son’s room, so I can keep busy on my Xbox, or try to read for a bit. Although I have noticed that the boredom is starting to set in.”

But Robin mainly cares about his eldest daughter who lives in Leuven. “She was with us last weekend, and now she’s waiting for her PCR result. I really hope she isn’t sick. For her group, who is now in the middle of it, the timing will be especially bad. But it also means she’s going to have to spend Christmas alone In her room this year.”

Ini Rinson, 37, a project employee at 3Wplus Energy House, has to go to a raclette for two days: ‘I think it’s especially unfortunate for the kids’

Ine Rinson herself has been telling for weeks that Christmas may finally return to normal this year, but Tuesday’s positive self-test put an end to all of her fun Christmas plans.

“An outcome like this is not at all comfortable, but it is very unfortunate. We have been running away from this virus for two years and now we are getting it now, at a time when we can finally look forward to some small party again. In the past year we have had quite a few people Outside on our balcony around a bonfire, but that’s not all.”

Anne Renson and her family in a house in the city of Ase.

Anne Renson and her family in a house in the city of Ase. “Kids will have to wait a little longer to get those gifts.”Picture of Wouter Van Vooren

For Ene and her husband, Christmas is a day that is usually reserved for the family. “If, due to circumstances, there are no plans for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you will always feel a little sad. Those are supposed to be the days when you are among the people. This year there was a party planned with my father, and the next day we were partying. With my in-laws. My mother-in-law is always making sausage rolls, that’s a tradition there, and the kids always look forward to it.”

Especially for her children, she thinks it is a shame that Christmas is also celebrated in such a small circle this year. They have been looking forward to opening their gifts for weeks. I would expect them to cry if I told them there would be no family birthday party this year. Thankfully it didn’t happen, but I saw from their faces that they thought it was sad. They’ll have to wait a little longer to get those gifts, and patience, that’s hard for five- and seven-year-olds.”

Ene still feels a little tired, but luckily it still has its taste and smell. “The plan now is to do raclette on Christmas Eve, and we’ll have to do it again at Christmas itself. We’ll make the most of it: put on a warm Christmas movie, play some board games, that kind of thing. So it won’t be a sad night.”

“And with a little luck, we can even postpone the family moments until next weekend, so we can all celebrate New Year’s Eve more intensely.”

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