You couldn't make it up.
That is what I keep telling everyone when they ask "how did you get stuck overseas?"
What we thought would be one of the least stressful overseas holidays my husband, Dylan, and I have ever been on turned into a holiday from hell, despite being in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Stuck in Vanuatu.
Stuck in paradise for a month.
It doesn't sound too bad.
But it was the hardest thing I have ever been through - and it definitely tested our marriage.
Both mentally, emotionally and financially.
There was also an earthquake and a category five cyclone thrown in for good measure.
But we made it.
THREE WEEKS TRYING TO GET HOME
There is only so much you can do when they tell you the borders are closed and you are stuck in a foreign country.
- Register your details with the Australian embassy, or High Commission.
The waiting is what is hard.
From day one, we were told by the high commission staff to be ready to go at short notice.
Do you risk going out for the day and missing the call that there is a plane?
Do you sit by your phone and go insane waiting for some news?
There is no answer and some days we did just sit by the phone and wait.
Other days we went around the island, to the beach, into town, to the pub.
Finding another couple who were in the same boat as us was my saving grace.
Talking to them about it made it a bit easier.
After a week waiting and hearing nothing we were told it could be a month before a plane would be here to take us home.
That day was the hardest for me. We had to come to terms with the fact that this could be a long term problem.
We joked about trying to get some jobs.
Dylan could do some electrical work and I could ask the local paper if they needed another journalist.
Then came the news we wanted.
That is how many times we were told the plane we had booked and paid for was cancelled.
You can't help but laugh after the second or third time because we started to think that whatever could go wrong, would.
And it did.
The first email we got from the Australian High Commission in Vanuatu about a flight was on the Thursday before Easter.
We had three hours to check out of our resort, pack our bags and be at the airport.
I cried I was so happy.
But forty minutes later, after we had been running around like headless chooks getting everything sorted, we got another email.
After that, while debriefing over a few gin and tonics with our friends at a pub, we all came to terms with nothing would happen until after Easter.
But this time we were wrong.
Saturday we got another email saying a flight was coming from Brisbane with supplies to help with the cleanup after the cyclone the week before and we had seats on the way home.
We got to the airport, checked in, filled out forms but before we could get through immigration and customs it was cancelled again.
Like I said you couldn't make this up.
But we got on the plane the day after.
When we got off the Air Force jet in Brisbane after the craziest month of our life we though it was over.
But we were wrong.
WELCOME TO HOTEL HELL
Infected until proven healthy.
That is the way Australia, and most of the world, has to treat coming into their borders after being overseas.
The COVID-19 pandemic means governments have to be extremely careful.
So when people who arrived home who were ordered to self-isolate for 14 days in their own homes couldn't abide by the rules, the government said 'enough is enough'.
Mandatory hotel stays were introduced.
And that is where we found ourselves after finally getting back onto Aussie soil.
Despite coming from a country with no confirm cases, we had to follow the rules.
We were treated as the infected ones, despite being the healthiest people in the country.
Coming back home was inadvertently putting ourselves at risk of contracting the virus.
A five star, six by five room with a window that doesn't open.
I love my husband, but after a month together 24/7, everything starts to annoy me.
Even when he crunches on an apple, I cringe.
It is a mental game staying in one room together for so long.
The four walls start closing in on your after the first night.
You wake up and when your eyes and brain adjust to your surroundings your heart sinks.
You are still here. There are only so many things you can do with a few metres of floor space.
Exercise has been our saviour.
For 20 to 30 minutes a day we stream a workout on the TV and follow along the best we can.
The lack of fresh air is surprisingly the hardest part.
The best part of our day is when two police officers knock at our door and we are escorted down to the outdoor pool area for 10 minutes of fresh air.
It would make such a difference if we could just crack a window.
We get fed three times a day. But to call some of it food would be an exaggeration.
The government is paying for us to be hold up in a hotel with all our meals included.
I don't know where they are getting the meals from but some of them have been inedible.
Three times a day the staff deliver the food to our door.
They knock three times. We have to wait 10 seconds before opening and seeing what we have to eat.
The night we got here we got a "mixed grill with seasonal vegetables".
This included a sloppy pork chop and one small sausage with eight soggy beans and other cold vegetables.
The next morning we had bacon and eggs with a sausage and a hash brown.
We were so excited - until we opened the box. The eggs were meant to be boiled but were still runny, the bacon was cold and the hash browns were stale.
Some of the meals since have been ok but thankfully UberEats can deliver.
We are in this together. That is what we keep telling ourselves.
Never did we think in our lifetime we would get stuck overseas, have to wait for a cyclone to pass and an Air Force plane to bring supplies for us to get home to then be confined to a hotel room for two weeks.
You don't realise how much it is going to affect you.
Most days I work at a desk, that isn't the hard part - it is the lack of fresh air and keeping your mind busy.
Thankfully I have great parents who had ordered and had delivered a laptop the day after we arrived in Brisbane so I could work remotely.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
When we get home on the 27th it will have been just over six weeks since we left home.
I know I will ugly cry when we see our puppy dog.
And when social distancing relaxes a bit we can't wait to hug and kiss our loved ones.
If we can get through this I know we can get through anything.
And as a story teller by trade, at least it makes a good yarn.
One for the grandkids even.