Monday, November 22, 2021

Well That Escalated Quickly...

I can't believe we're back in another hard, nation-wide lockdown as of today. I am absolutely for this measure in order to prevent our health system from collapsing and yet it is infuriating as it seems like something that could have absolutely been avoided. Incompetent politicians who ignored warnings from (real) experts paired with irresponsible and gullible citizens makes for an explosive combination. Personally knowing people who got infected even though they have had 2 (or 3, even) jabs makes the seriousness of the situation more relatable as does knowing real-life believers in conspiracy-theories who are of course adamant anti-vaxers. I sometimes wish I could press some fast-forward button to spring or summer 2022 when, judging from the past few years, things will be more hopeful and maybe those in charge will have learnt from past mistakes. Until then, I will be the good and compliant citizen I have been for the past 1.5 years and occupy myself with my favourite lockdown  hobbies. It's not that we don't all have a routine by now.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Lost Innocence

I am writing this before going away to Budapest for the weekend in order to redeem a hotel voucher before it expires (I was supposed to go there last May with my mother and am now travelling with Highflyer). So far, we're still allowed to be out and about but in view of the recent explosion of infection rates in this country and many others I am very close to becoming a recluse who will politely decline invitations. Even last week when I attended a workshop with a large group of people (our vaccination and test status got checked so we didn't wear masks) and met friends 3 nights in a row, I felt I was challenging fate a bit. At some stage during the weekend (I usually switch off my work phone) I thought "What if someone from the workshop had tried to reach me to tell me they got infected/were a contact person. Should I check my phone to make sure?" I didn't, in the end, but I am quietly weighing the pros and cons of each potentially risky encounter and a train journey and hotel stay are probably not something I would have booked for November if there had been other options. Then again, I keep telling myself that worrying yourself to death is not a sexy option, either and as long as I do everthing I can to stay safe, this already makes a big difference. One of the friends I met last week called me a few days later and - since she doesn't call me that often - my first thought upon seeing her caller ID was "OMG, she's probably calling to tell me I'm a close contact now" and her polite "how are you?" even reinforced my paranoia. It really made me think that many of us have lost their innocence when it comes to certain social scenarios and hearing someone cough or sneeze nearby will always make you flinch and look at the "offender" with suspicion. At the moment I can't imagine enjoying a live concert or other event with a really carefree attitude, but I am confident that some day, this will be the case again.
 

Monday, November 08, 2021

We're Getting There

It's getting cold and Covid infections in Austria are rising to a very unpleasant peak. Unlike many people among my friends and family I never actually thought that getting vaccinated meant the end of this pandemic and therefore am not really surprised about the current situation. It seems like a long and exhausting hike more than ever, with the summit in sight and yet some new obstacles always obstructing the path. It sucks, but for some reason I am confident and not in panic mode. At least some of the stubborn anti-vaxxers are trotting to their nearest vaccination centres now that they will be excluded from a lot of social and other activities. There's no point on berating the fact that these measures might be too little too late. At least they have some impact now and I'll gladly take that. As somebody who likes walking uphill and prefers to take the stairs to elevators, always, I'll just walk on and hope we'll reach some kind of nice observation plateau, if not the actual summit.

Monday, November 01, 2021

Oxygen

One thing I heard constantly from my mother when I was a child was "go and play outside in the fresh air". It was an absolute no-go in our household to watch daytime TV and like many other habits (always have a side salad with your meal, clear away dirty dishes immediately...) that are deeply ingrained from my upbringing, I still feel that a day is not complete if I have not been outside even for a short walk around the block. This is particularly true for weekends or days off and I almost feel guilty if I don't me it outside before sunset...which rarely happens anyway. I don't consider myself a sporty person and don't have the urge to push my body to its limits...ever, but I do feel the need to "air myself" on a daily basis. The weather has to be absolutely horrible or I have to be super sick that I don't venture out of the house at all. Thankfully, Highflyer is no couch potato either (unlike me, he IS sporty on top of that) and will gladly "walk me" when I've been in one video conference after another all day. 
 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Everyday Awesomeness

 

I am writing this in Klagenfurt where I took this picture on a walk in the neighbourhood on Sunday afternoon. At the moment, autumn is presenting itself in its prettiest colours and while this is nothing new, we agreed that the leaves are particularly beautiful this year. Like this tree that reminds me of my first trip to Japan 12 years ago and which I suspect was just as beautiful in the past already. I have the theory that having had our wings clipped or horizons brought closer made us take closer looks at what is in front of our doorsteps and appreciate it more. Not the worst by-product of a global pandemic.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Yup, I've Changed


This past weekend, I spent mainly at the "Country House", i.e. Highflyer's home. This would not be such a remarkable event if it had not been for the fact that the Lord of the Manor himself was away and I chose to be there on my own...not for the first time. Two years ago, I would not have thought this possible and in fact I could not understand friends who met a partner with an address in the back of beyond and voluntarily chose to move there and commute to the big city. Well, I have no plans to give up my flat in Vienna, ever, but my attitude really has changed. Moreover, I have definitely changed. I attribute it to a combination of factors, the most important one being that I spent so many months of lockdown here and have so many happy memories of really getting to know Highflyer and realising that this is indeed the man I want to spend the rest of my life with as spending weeks together 24/7 did not result in a single argument or disagreement. Lovely company aside, I just became quite attached to this place that will forever be associated with this crazy period of all our lives. Another important factor is that what I first visited as a house with (to my taste at least) very questionable interior design choices (which were mostly the previous owners', but I didn't know that then) has now had a subtle makeover by yours truly and feels like my home as well. I treaded carefully at first, very carefully as I learnt the hard way that anything less than enthusiastic exclamations about furniture and decor can really offend some home owners so I didn't say anything, relieved that I probably would not have to spend a lot of time there. In those first months of our relationship, we mostly met in Vienna. When it soon transpired that the furniture, curtains, cushion covers, etc. had already been there and were not beloved heirlooms of Highflyer's family, I started making suggestions that met both approval and appreciation. This, combined with the fact that I have so much more space here for my hobbies, feels like having hit the jackpot and I love the generous kitchen counter space (my kitchen in Vienna is tiny) and my DIY room upstairs. Having a garden and terrace is an added bonus and something I don't have in the city so, yes, I love spending time here and now understand my friends who chose to always spend their weekends at a country home, much to my disbelief.

Monday, October 11, 2021

In an Ideal World...


...I would have a 3-day (at least) weekend and get to do my various DIY projects all day. I really love making Highflyer's home prettier and its really gratifying to see the transformation from when I suddenly moved in during Lockdown 1. He had bought the house more or less fully furnished and decorated from a family with 2 children who had emigrated to the U.S. Some of the things (like the dining and sofa tables I actually like and might have picked myself, others were exceptionally tasteless. The previous lady of the manor must have had a liking for granny-smith-apple-green and thus had curtains, carpets and pillowcases in this colour. I have gradually replaced everything with off white an by and by this house with questionable interior design choices turned into a cosy place that started to feel like mine. When I'm in Vienna, I miss the counter space of my "country kitchen" and separate office and DIY rooms. The only thing missing is enough time to enjoy it to the fullest.

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