Lockdown V.2.0: The Lightening

Germany is currently two weeks into our second lockdown, but once again, it has little to no effect on anything I’m doing. I hear gyms are closed, but as long as I can do yoga at home and go for long walks, I’m all set. I’m still working from home, minus two weeks I recently had to go to work in person. It was the first time since March, and let me tell you, it was really weird after seven months. Trying to get teenagers to put masks on before they get up from their desks or open the windows with regularity in November was… a new aspect of my job that I wasn’t expecting.

But while I was out for those few days, I did get a chance to walk through Fürth and see what was happening. The first week I went out was in October, when case numbers had been steadily climbing but there were no new restrictions yet, and the second week I was out was the first week of the new “lockdown” restrictions in the beginning of November. To be honest, I saw nearly no difference.

I had to stop at the bakery and the supermarket while I was out, and both of those places were open during the first round of lockdown back in the spring. The new restrictions came into effect during the fall school holidays here in Bavaria, so I was looking forward to emptier trains, more space, and fewer school kids than in a normal week. To be fair, there were fewer kids, but the trains when I was coming home at ca. 1-1:30 pm were oddly full. Walking through Fürth, all the stores (most of which were closed in spring), were open and people were out and about shopping. My train was full with middle-aged folks with shopping bags. I was… confused.

There were signs that masks should be worn, even outdoors, in the pedestrian areas. That was mixed at best. And since then, the numbers in our region have gone through the roof. It’s incredibly discouraging. I know there are plenty of people staying home and only going out for necessities, but it seems not enough of us.

I was expecting the government to tighten things up even more soon, but some news came out this evening that there’s disagreement among the state leaders, and they’re meeting again in about two weeks to see where the situation is. Seems like a long time with these numbers, but who asked me?

I do feel a bit hypocritical because this seems to be the price we’re paying for amongst other things, people travelling on their summer holidays. We travelled as well, but it was after peak season, we went to low-risk areas, avoided people as best we could, masked up everywhere, and got tested when we came home. Both of our tests came back negative, which helped the peace of mind a bit.

On the other hand, if we do have harder and longer lockdowns coming, I think I’m going to be really really really glad that we had that nice, long, late fall holiday. With no Christmas markets, no big village Thanksgiving, and likely the bare minimum for Christmas itself…. it’s going to be pretty dull. I was really hoping that we could go back to Tuscany for New Year’s again this year but the chances of that look like they’re slim to none. The prospect of cleaning the office instead is less than appealing.

This was all a lot less bleak-looking in March when the weather was getting warmer and the days are getting longer. Now I’m going to have to try to shoehorn walks in during my workday somehow, as normally I don’t finish until it’s already dark out. It’s going to be a long winter, that’s for sure. But at the end of the day, this is what we all have to do, or what we all should be doing, so maybe we can actually see each other in person again. At some point.

Until then, I’ll be here. In the living room. Where I’ve been. For eight months. EIGHT MONTHS.

Gratuitous fall shots, for as long as it lasts…

21/52

Greetings from the Inside

Hay there

From the other side of the story to the inside of all our stories. Here we are, in Corona-induced limbo.

Like hopefully most of you are doing, I’m on day two of self-isolating. I wasn’t really planning on it this week, but my first indication came at about 8:00 on Monday morning when one of my afternoon appointments switched our meeting to their virtual channel.

Normally on Mondays, I have an 8:45 meeting so I’m out of the house by 7:30. They had conflicts this week though, so cancelled our meetings. Thank goodness, because that saved me at least an hour-and-a-half round trip to find no one in office. All of my groups were informed on Friday afternoon or Monday morning to stay home, so though I wasn’t ordered to stay in, I’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future. The good news is, it’s possible. Not ideal, of course, but possible.

BV is, at least for now, still going in. They have relatively little possibility (tech capability, really) to work from home, so he doesn’t really have a choice until they are told otherwise. We have no idea if that will happen or not, so for now we’re just hoping he doesn’t bring anything home with him.

Germany isn’t yet fully restricted, and I will be interested to see how quickly they decide if that needs to be cracked down on. Not that social media is always a terribly reliable resource, but it sounds a bit like people are treating it as freebie days, particularly in the cities. As of this week, non-essential shops should all be closed, all big events are cancelled, but it’s still not as stringent as many countries around us.

I’m not without fault… I went to the post office yesterday to retrieve a package, and took a long walk later in the afternoon, but I did my best to give other walkers a wide berth. The parking lots at both supermarkets were quite busy when I went past, and the people in line at the butcher’s (attached to our post office), were standing much too close to each other for comfort. There were also a few groups out walking together in the afternoon, and while sure, the mom and kids probably live together, I doubt that the three older men walking and chatting away do. If it does come to a stricter lockdown situation, I would really like to still have the possibility to get out in “the nature,” so people need to stop acting like idiots and potentially ruining it for the rest of us.

But if that is where we are headed, I fully plan to channel the energy of that lovely South Tyrolean horse up there. Even a recluse by myself might get itchy after a week or two of this. So if you’re stuck on the other side of the proverbial fence, you can still try to reach people. Or maybe it’ll be time to learn to be content where you are. Though if where you are looks like this…

…it might be a bit easier. Our apartment is plenty comfy, but I think I’ll be mentally going to this valley as needed in the next few weeks.

Take care of yourselves, each other, feel free to mentally hang out in this majestic place too… and remember to #staythefuckhome. Hope you can.

 

9/52

 

31-Day Challenge 2018: Day 25

Who was the last person to knock on your door?

This is particularly relevant due to how today began. I slept pretty badly, as our room has been a virtual oven for the last two weeks, and when I did manage to sleep, Marry came in to party on our heads. She hasn’t been coming in too much at night when it’s been hot lately, but last night she passed through several times.

As I mentioned yesterday, my usual Monday class was off today. That meant that even when I woke up in the middle of the night, I figured I’d be okay today since I didn’t have to get up at 6:30 like I usually do.

Cut to 6:45 this morning, and the doorbell rings. Who was it at such an unholy hour?

Yep, Ye Olde Chimney Sweep.

We had an appointment for this morning, but the card has been next to the door for so long that we had both completely forgotten about it. Whoops. BV flew out of bed, threw on clothes, and took off to let him in. Not the most relaxing start to the day, but at least I could go back to sleep for a bit.

In case anyone is wondering, the appointment time is decidedly NOT our choice. He comes 2-3 times a year, and sets our appointment time based on what time our landlord (the former resident) wanted. We could change it, but it’s just easier to let him come at the ass-crack of dawn and complain about it then to try to find alternatives.

Up until recently I assumed we were on the early part of his route and so that was why our time was always so absurd. 6:45 is actually late… it’s often 6:15 or 6:30. But then one day I was walking around town at about 9:30am, and saw his truck go by. I thought he’d be three villages away by that time, but it seems we’re just the early-bird suckers.

I still find the whole “we have a dedicated chimney sweep” thing to be kind of funny. If anyone had told me at 22 that this would be a consistent part of my life at nearly-35, I would’ve looked at them like they had three heads. Our house growing up had a fireplace, but I really don’t remember someone coming to clean it with anything like this kind of regularity.*

I guess this is just one of those unexpected things.

*Insert future edit here if/when my dad corrects me on this one.

*****

Editor’s Note: This is part of a 31-day challenge series for the month of May, which will possibly now extend into June to compensate for the vacation gap, in which I aim to spend at least 15 minutes writing about whatever strikes my fancy. Results may vary.

31-Day Challenge 2018: Day 22

Our village is usually a pretty quiet place. On this Friday night though, I’ve been hearing a lot more noise than usual. Laughing voices have passed by occasionally, and just now I can tell that a train has arrived based on the increase of rowdiness in the air.

That can only mean one thing, and that is Kerwa time. Ours always takes place the second weekend after Pentecost, this year from Thursday to Tuesday. When I popped out onto the balcony to take in the laundry, I could hear the faint sounds of a band playing, so I guess the beer tent is rocking right about now.

It’s a good time of year to live around here. Every weekend has an event. On Tuesday  night this week we could hear the bangs of fireworks from a town about six kilometers away as their festival wrapped up. And if you’re out of town when your local fest happens? No worries, the next town will host theirs in the next few weeks.

In fact, the Zindorfer Brewery handily mails us a brochure with a map of all the local dates, and suggestions for routes on how to make the most of your free weekends. So convenient, and tasty!

We swung by last year for some snacks and drinks, but I’ve only managed to get the full festival experience once. It was quite memorable, sheep dances and all, and I wrote about it here if you missed it. I can’t believe that was four years ago, but it must have been… we even watched a World Cup game that weekend, and that’s coming up in just a hot minute.

I also can’t believe it’s June already, but it is. Technically I should’ve finished this writing challenge but we’ll march on for a few more days. 31 will be here before I know it.

*****

Editor’s Note: This is part of a 31-day challenge series for the month of May, which will possibly now extend into June to compensate for the vacation gap, in which I aim to spend at least 15 minutes writing about whatever strikes my fancy. Results may vary.