The world was always huge, but the pandemic has intensified the distance

Australia beach sunset

There are thousands of people all over the world who haven’t been able to get home and see loved ones during the pandemic. They’ve missed births, deaths, weddings, divorces and everything in between. It’s heartbreaking. But what it does demonstrate, is that even though we’ve all gotten used to the fact that the world does not seem so big, it’s still a bloody big world. I’m sad that I haven’t seen my friends and family back home for two years. But the thing is, this is kind of what I signed up for.

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That damn pandemic – it’s still going on

Egypt Pyramids

The pandemic has taken plenty away from me: general socialisation, the chance to see friends and family back home, the opportunity to travel, and so on. But I count myself lucky, because I’m surviving ok – I’m pretty happy in my bubble, I’ve been able to work without the hassle of the commute, and I’m in the wrong age group to constantly need to go out on the town.

But I can’t help thinking how it might have been, in another place, in another time.

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Hang on… I’ve kind of forgotten about Covid

Summer in Italy

In the last two weeks in Austria we fell suddenly into autumn. Late summer was amazing and it almost feels like we’ve skipped autumn and gone straight to winter. Morning temperatures are very fresh and there’s snow on the nearby mountains. I had quite a bit of time off over the summer which was fantastic and now it’s time to knuckle down again – put the garden to bed, crank up the heater, get out the boots and coats and so on.

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Oz international borders opening… really?

On the beach in Safety beach, Australia

The world is abuzz with the news that it’s actually going to happen… Australia is finally talking about opening its international borders. I’ve been hearing murmurings for a while, but when it hit globally the other day, a number of people got in touch to spread the love. It even made it to Austrian news, so you know it’s big.

Except I can’t help but feel a little bit cynical about the whole thing.

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Coming out of Covid

Eating out after covid

Many countries in the last months have been dealing with the rocky ride of transitioning out of hard lockdown into something a bit more normal. In Austria, the official date was May 19th. And yes, I took the afternoon off work to go to the pool… and yes, it was freezing but I went anyway.

With the opening of the restaurants and so on, they introduced the 3G rule. That is… Getestet, Geimpft oder Gesund. Basically if you want to eat at a restaurant, have a haircut, visit a pool or lake etc. you have to be able prove that you have either a valid negative Covid test, have been vaccinated (3+ weeks) or have recovered from Covid (in the last 6 months).

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Covid goes on… it’s not so bad… is it?

Masks at the pool - covid

With the news of Victoria’s flash seven day hard lockdown last week, I’m reminded again what a yoyo of an experience this whole thing has really been. On one side I’m in Europe where measures against Covid were relatively mild… and I say relatively because the flip side of that coin was Australia where life in my home state basically stood still for months on end. At first I was thankful I was in Europe, where we were coming into summer and were safe – this thing would be over soon. It was lucky I wasn’t stuck in Australia in a hard-core lockdown. That would be awful. But then it flipped again. Europe hit the cooler months and Covid raged… while in Australia it was back to business as usual.

And there’s these words I keep hearing again and again… it’s not so bad…

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A confession… I’m a hankie lover

handkerchiefs

I’m not even sure if everyone knows what a hankie is these days… let alone uses them. Of course, what I’m talking about is the humble handkerchief. You know that thing a handsome man presents when a woman becomes upset – a clean, ironed, folded handkerchief – even allowing her to take it home with her. It’s in the movies, so it must have happened in real life. I’m sure it was a ploy back in the days to get a piece of a beau’s belongings. Or to make an excuse to see someone again. And it would have worked great for me, since I’m a bit of a crier.

Still, hankies have gone out of favour – they’re old fashioned and they’re disgusting – tissues are far easier to contend with. Still, in a time of banning the straw and plastic bag, I think there’s a good case for bringing back the good ol’ hankie.

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Daylight savings in lockdown – a non-event?

clock

Recently in Europe we moved our clocks forward an hour. Normally, this can be quite a traumatic event. Having to get up an hour earlier for work is just no fun. And there’s this weird sense of almost-jetlag that goes along with it. Is it time to eat yet? Am I even hungry?

For the loss of the hour I usually placate myself with the knowledge that it means summer is coming. And I have to say, I’m a fan of the time change. I know not everyone is – I know the cows are unhappy – I know the curtains are fading – but I’m down with it. There is a lot of talk of removing it altogether now – I know the original reason for introducing it is invalid – but for me, it adjusts the light of the day better. In any case, whatever is decided in the future, I’ll live with it.

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Covid one year on – I think I’m doing ok – I hope you are too

Closed for covid

Who would have foreseen this? That the first lockdown (which began officially for us on March 13, 2020), would be ongoing one year later? Now, I know that there are different lockdown labels (I think we are in number 3?), but realistically, even though we opened up quite a lot for summer last year, we weren’t ever completely free. So basically it’s just one long lockdown.

What I see here in Austria is a lot of Covid-fatigue. People are sick of it. And fair enough too. It’s been a long haul. With numbers rising (around 3000 for the last few days) it’s hard to believe there are people who haven’t had it. How have we not reached herd immunity yet? Well… because we’ve been very very good (or most of us have), we’ve protected our fellow citizens and we’ve endured. And a lot less people have died than otherwise would have. And the cost of that (to the ecomony and what-not) is probably not fully understood yet. But I digress.

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Puzzling away a Corona Crisis

jigsaw puzzle time

I am a keen puzzler. And for those of you unfamiliar with my terminology, that means that I like doing jigsaw puzzles… a lot. One of my standard winter activites is puzzling. Even though I also usually spend a chunk of this time travelling, I usually have time to do a couple of puzzles. Because what’s better than sitting inside on a cold day, with the winter sun (or heating) streaming in to keep you warm, and an Aperol at hand to imagine you’re somewhere else entirely. I think it’s a kind of meditation for me… I listen to music… and my mind wanders.

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