I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia. If you haven’t heard, Victoria (the state where Melbourne is located), is currently in the middle of a pretty serious lockdown. This was even reported in Austrian news, which means, it’s huge. Melbourne is now in week 4 of a six week planned lockdown, but from the numbers it seems like they’re going to be stuck in there longer.
And it’s so hard on the people there, who did such a good job in eliminating the first wave, only to have to go back into isolation. The measures they are dealing with now in stage 4 are pretty extreme: one hour of exercise per day within 5km of home, one person only allowed to go to the shops, and mask wearing is mandatory whenever you leave your house, which includes going for a walk. And that’s only the things I can remember off the top of my head!
When I look out the window at sunny Austrian summer skies, and consider weekends away and trips to see friends,
it’s hard to believe that in my home town, if I was still living in Oz, I would be in the middle of winter, and experiencing such an extreme situation. Sometimes I absently wonder what would have happened had I not moved to Austria. Where would I be working? Where would I be living? What would I be doing? But in a time like this, I already know – because my moving to Austria would not have altered the pandemic one bit. I could not have gone swimming every day, like I am currently, I could not go to work (even though I’ve only been back in the office twice so far, it’s my choice, not something forced on me), I could not visit my friends, and I definitely could not have celebrated my recent birthday (21 again) in the way that I would have liked to.
Some of my Australian friends and family are struggling. Others are shouldering it as an inconvenience that will hopefully soon be over. People have lost their jobs, or are in risk of, and living in fear of not knowing what’s around the corner.
I can’t do anything to make it better. Even if it was there I couldn’t give people hugs. But I would like to. Thankfully, by all accounts my family and friends in Oz are in good health, and I’m enjoying regular catch ups with people, who are usually up for a chat to break the isolation.
Who knows what’s going to happen here over the next weeks/months, as people return from holidays abroad and we head into winter. Everything feels relatively normal and our state has very few active cases currently. But I’ve stayed vigilant. We’ve stocked up the cellar with wine and chips, and I wash my hands regularly and wear face masks when shopping (that’s our only noticeable restriction right now). I certainly have no desire to jump on a plane, even though the lack of travelling plans is making the travel bug bite me quite furiously.
So everyone out there, please stay safe, accept a virtual hug from me, or a cheers, or whatever it is you need at this time.