Monday, May 25, 2020

Painless

"Good health is the most important thing" is a saying that we all agree to but take as seriously when everything is alright as "All we want is World Peace". For more than half of last week I had such a fierce pain in my lower back that I was afraid I must have slipped a disc. I have no idea what caused it but it gave me a fright that I could not put on or take off my left sock the usual way, i.e. by just lifting my left foot while standing. I had to sit down and raise my left foot "manually". Honestly, I felt like 48 going on 102. I got injections in my back (no effect) and painkillers and 3 days after seeing a doctor who also sent me to have my back x-rayed the pain went away. Hallelujah! My "smartphone thumb" incident aside I can't remember ever having experienced such excruciating pain. Laying down was actually more painful than walking or sitting still and I could not turn myself over in bed without wincing in pain. Being healthy and able to move all your limbs really is something we should not take for granted and I probably needed this painful reminder to appreciate it again.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

In My Element

Yesterday we visited a friend who lives by a little lake and I went for my first al fresco swim of the year. Aaaaw. So nice and it was the first time since Mid March that I completely forgot that this was not just any other day in any other May but that until recently it would have been illegal to even hang out with a friend unless they are a house mate. Swimming, in cold water in particular, makes me happy and I am truly in my element. We may be experiening crazy and unsettling times at the moment but as long as there's a pond/lake/pool/river where I can swim without wearing a mask I am a happy bunny.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Reluctant Miranda

When Sex and the City was the TV series de jour my favourite character was sarcastic Miranda. Towards the end of the show she got settled in Brooklyn with husband and child which meant that she gradually gravitated out of the centre of the circle of friends, mostly orbiting in her boring little uncool-district bubble as perceived by the rest of the gang who remained in Manhattan. 
Myself, I always used to pity friends who had to commute to work from some godforsaken village in Lower Austria or Burgenland and counted myself lucky I did not have to leave a fun gathering halfway to catch the last train home or to arrive stressed and in sweaty patches because I could not find a parking spot near the meeting point. 
Now that I am still working from home but lockdown measures have been loosened and a semi-normal life has begun I am increasingly torn between still wanting to be the Miranda or having a slight sense of FOMO and being afraid of being cut out of people's plans because I am the boring one who prefers country walks and sewing yet another mask to a spontaneous meeting in town. Things will change once I am back at the office as I really don't see myself commuting, but for now I would not mind if the (outdoor) space I enjoy here were located within walking distance of my friends and favourite hunting grounds in Vienna.

Monday, May 04, 2020

New Normal

Now that (all) shops are re-opened and everybody seems ecstatic about the fact that they can get a proper haircut again it is a weird transition time when most office workers are still working from home and comparing notes on when they are returning to their respective workplaces. Many, myself included, are not all that keen. What's the point of exposing yourself to the risk of public transport only to be in an eerily deserted office where you'll sit metres apart from your colleagues and can't really have any normal types of meetings with. In general, I've grown quite fond of the perceived safe bubble of my suburbian (temporary) home and on the 3 trips to Vienna last week I was happy and eager to return there. Had you asked me two months ago if I would ever gravitate towards village life and be glad to exchange Vienna for it, I'd have laughed. What happened to this passionately "urban" girl? I find comfort and joy in cooking up a storm and am happy in the sunny upstairs room where my sewing machine is. Truth be told, I don't really feel the need to go anywhere right now, least of all abroad. Okay, ask me again when it's super hot and I'd have been at the Cote d'Azure, but doing what I loved to do is not the same when you have to wear a mask and consider every person near you as a potential virus-transmitter. If I can't have my "old normal" back, I'd rather stay in my little lockdown bubble a little longer than become friends with the "new normal" too soon. 

Monday, April 27, 2020

I'll Be Here

This week I am off work and for the first time (not counting my sabbatical in 2015) I am on leave and not going anywhere, but spending time here at Highflyer's in Lower Austria and in Vienna where I need to get some long overdue household chores done.
My company prompted employees to take as much leave as possible in order to help the company financially and while at first I found it rather annoying to have to use up days of my precious annual leave in times when I can't go anywhere, I now think differently. Not only do we now know that vacations abroad are off the agenda probably for the greater part of this year, but I also really needed this break. Last week, I spent hours on end in Skype calls and my back was killing me. It's different if you rush from one meeting to the next when you are in a huge office building where you have to walk from meeting room A to meeting room B and might have the chance to grab a coffee or chat to a colleague on the way. Now everyone knows you're stuck at home anyway and BAM slams another 30-minute meeting in the only slot you would have had for lunch or a quick walk round the block. Not funny when this is the case several days in a row and you wish you at least had had a morning commute to be able to stretch your legs. 
I am really looking forward to a few days of just laying in the sun, reading, sewing, cooking, baking, cycling on top of the cleaning and decluttering I need to do in my flat back home. Not going anywhere, but not minding that one bit right now.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Summer Plans

Now that Austrians are slowly beginning to ease into the oft-cited "new normal" (with a mask) phase of life in the  current Covid-19 crisis many people are beginning to think of their summer plans. Whereas I have long resigned myself to the fact that the motto for summer 2020 will be "holiday in Austria" and don't have a problem with that, it's the fact that public pools won't open that makes me very sad. I understand the motivation and support the decision, but summer without swimming in any body of water is a bleak prospect for me. Never has a swimming pool in the garden been a more coveted asset, I guess.

Monday, April 13, 2020

An Exercise in Minimalism

Now that I've spent more than 4 weeks in my suburban isolation retreat, I've noticed an interesting phenomenon. Just like back in 2011 when I lived in Sydney for 3 months, I am really enjoying making do with less. Less clothes (although I replace them occasionally when I visit my flat once a week), less kitchen utensils, less "anything" mostly than in my own place. If you know me, you know that I have a lot of anything I own. Numerous handbags, clothes, shoes, nail polish, make up...you name it. While I am still a shopaholic who has found excuses to place quite a few orders in the past weeks (all of them essential, of course...ahem), I have realised that I really don't need much here and it feels strangely freeing. My favourite place is the garden and the fashion police rarely patrol there.
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