I think I’m the only one still wearing a mask…

Eating outside during Covid

Covid? What’s Covid? Oh that awful thing that plagued us for two years and is now… gone? Except it’s not gone… and though we’ve enjoyed a deliciously warm early start to summer here in Austria, it’s not even really trying to hide. Luckily, it has wound itself down so it’s not causing the kind of mayhem it did previously. But it’s still causing plenty of disruptions.

I know that if it hits me everything will be fine. But still, being pregnant I’m being extra careful.  Because the numbers, despite the good weather, are a lot higher than they were this time last year. And I just need to get through two or so more weeks. So yeah, I’m still wearing my mask. I’m still social distancing.

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First class – a glimpse into the high life

Flying first class

It’s one of those things we only dream about… flying first class. I’ve flown business before, with a free miles upgrade, but first was something that was probably never going to transpire. Yet when I flew to Australia recently, that’s exactly what happened.

We’d initially planned for business class. My back would not have survived 24 hours of economy, so booking something that allowed a fully reclinable seat was an imperative for me to even consider the journey.

The jump in price from economy to business is monstrous… the jump to first is still hard to swallow but comparatively not as hard. So we figured, with the extra benefits of first, why not take the leap. And if you’re going to do it, why not do it properly? So with some trepidation about my back, but a little spring in my step, I boarded an Emirates A380 for my 24 hours of luxury. Was it worth it, you ask? Well read on!

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What happened to all your Covid stuff? 

Coronavirus

When the pandemic first kicked off, the world went a little bit crazy stockpiling… the predominant of which seemed to be toilet paper. To me this made little sense. But I understand the theory behind it – the need to be able to control some aspect of something that feels out of your control. 

Now two years on, despite Covid still lurking, we have calmed a little. Which is a good thing. But… what happened to all your stuff? Did you use it up… or is it still sitting in a spare room or at the back of the pantry, gathering dust or going off? In one way toilet paper is not the worst contender – it doesn’t have a use by. But what about the rest? What about the yeast? Did all those people who decided, on a sudden whim, that they would buy yeast because they were going to bake their own bread… did they do it… or did they do it once and the rest went to waste?  

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Dark days

fog bubble

There’s been some dark days over the last few months. There’s been a few more tears than usual, a few more outbursts of Life’s not fair and why me? And I know that there are many people out there worse off than me, as I bask in the privileged position of having a steady job, living in my own house and enjoying Friday night date nights. 

But it’s like two years of Covid just came and bit me in the ass. I recently gave some very serious thought to trying to make it back to Oz. Why not skip over there, I thought, despite everything going on, because it is possible. Of course, for it really to be possible, a lot of aspects of my life had to line up perfectly. And when they didn’t, my world kind of crashed down.

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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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Short trips – I will see the sea in 2021 – I will!

Trieste, Italy, Hotel Riviera

Despite over a year of living with Covid (or hiding away from Covid), we’re all still up in the air about what the future is going to bring. What’s the right thing to do? Should we be in Australian-esque-style lockdowns, or should we be celebrating Freedom Day? The government has an opinion, the scientists have an opinion and the people have an opinion… they don’t always agree, and no one really knows who’s right… if a ‘right’ actually exists.

In Austria, following the removal of almost all our measures in early July, our numbers are steadily increasing again, which is hardly surprising. So what do we do now? Half the population is already vaccinated, yet Delta is threatening to plunge us back into chaos.

I tell you what we do. We get in the car and we drive to Italy.

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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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