Monday, November 23, 2020

Not Happening

So many plans got cancelled this year. Trips abroad, birthday parties, weddings, family gatherings, but also work events. Probably only companies that work entirely with members of their immediate family whom they live in the same household with will hold "offline" company Christmas parties this year. There definitely won't be a big office party at my company and I have not seem 95% of my team mates in person since the beginning of March this year. One type of event that got cancelled a lot this year was workshops and truth be told in same cases I gave a sigh of relief when after having been postponed for 2 or 3 times in the hope of being able to hold them in the office it was decided to "cancel it for now". Today (I am writing this on Sunday night) I am facilitating a workshop for the leadership teams of two alpha males with a tendency to demonstrate to one another who is more assertive. This workshop was originally supposed to take place the first Monday of lockdown 1, then got postponed to June and now is taking place in virtual form. I had really hoped that it would get postponed to "whenever" or cancelled for good, but, now, alas there is no escaping it. I'd be much in favour of a selective type of plan disruption caused by our favourite virus: let the nice things happen, but feel free to put a stop on all the uncomfortable commitments...

Monday, November 16, 2020

Active Vocabulary

Now that we are heading into Lockdown 2.0 my coping mechanisms remain the same: cooking, baking, sewing and walks in the neighbourhood, provided I get to see daylight. Some days it feels the "old normal" never happened (but Google photos or Instagram helpfully remind me what I was doing a year ago or so...), others my mind boggles thinking about the fact that words like "lockdown" or "mouth-nose-cover" are now in everybody's active vocabulary. A year ago, Asian people (in Asia, mostly) were the only people you would see walk around cities wearing surgical masks. "Lockdown" or "curfew" were words you only got to hear war reporters use. My mum accidentally referred to "lockdown" as "lockup" and this is what it often feels like. Locked up for having been naughty, but I want to raise my hand and rectify the situation. "It wasn't ME!". Ah, well...
 

Monday, November 09, 2020

What a Week!

 

Last week was a bit much to take in. Apart from the fact that I spent way too much time in my home office and didn't get any fresh air and daylight on some days, a horrible terrorist attack shook the nation and my phone was flooded with messages from friends abroad asking if I was okay when I woke up on Tuesday morning. Thankfully I was and all in all, it wasn't nearly as traumatising as it would have been had I been in the city at the time myself and heard the sirens like my friends did. or if I had been locked in a theatre for hours like a friend was. I was safe in Highflyer's house and therefore it all didn't feel as close to home, literally.
The day after the attack I found out that one of my dearest friends had been tested positive for Covid-19, thankfully a "mild case". This person had been very careful and rule-abiding with no idea how and where they got infected, which made it even more worrying, somehow.
I have reached that stage again where I try to seriously censor my own news consumption. Stories of hospital staff calling the situation "dramatic" does not help my mental wellbeing and I just hope numbers will go down and this second lockdown will have a positive effect.
The news of Biden winning the U.S. presidential elections and lovely quality time with Highflyer on Saturday, when he had the day off, definitely put a silver lining in an otherwise pretty bleak week.

Monday, November 02, 2020

Pandemic Fatigue

 

Last week as we were all speculating about whether there will be another lockdown and if so, how will it differ from the spring edition, etc., I came across the term "pandemic fatigue" in various articles. I may not suffer from it in the actual sense as I am still a compliant "good citizen", but I've certainly tired of a lot of the things that seemed bearable when you thought they were only temporary. I have mentioned it before, but I am becoming more and more indignant with people who are not able to pull themselves together and accept the fact that we need to obey a few things in order to be able to enjoy others. I had an interesting discussion with a friend last week when I said that one of the reasons why I try my best to take all precautions is that I don't want to inconvenience other people (who, by becoming my contacts should I get tested positive, would have to stay in quarantine and not be able to do what they might have planned for that period of time). She said that this was ridiculous as nobody thought that way about giving anybody else the flu or any other disease. Apart from the fact that I would actually feel bad, I do think it is different if you need to be quarantined and there is a certain aspect of social stigma involved as well. It might not be within everybody's comfort zone to have paramedics with protective suits turn up at your door for all neighbours to see.  As we're faced with a home-bound November with no idea how the rest of the winter months will unfold, I'd like to have a fast-forward button to that period in the future when we will hopefully have a certain stability again. It does not even have to be all rosey, but it would be nice to familiarise yourself with that New Normal, whatever it may be, without having to fear that it won't last longer than a month or two.

Monday, October 26, 2020

It's Complicated

 

Now that infection rates are rising at an alarming rate and many countries have put Austria on their red list, travelling is not really on my radar at all. Also, in view of public appeals by poltiticians to stay at home, it almost feels like a criminal act to leave your hometown, even if (like me) you are an extremely cautious and rule-abiding person.  I am writing this at my parents' and if I am honest I have moments of panic thinking that I might be one of those asymptomatic cases who unwittingly infect others. Ironically, I spend most days in isolation in my suburban home office and can't remember the last time I was at the cinema (pre-lockdown in any case, potentially in 2019) while my mother, who herself is at risk because of her age and who shares a household with my super-high-at-risk dad has been in the cinema a few times recently. In comparison to some old people I am careful to the point of paranoia and I feel safest at home, truth be told. 
The other side of the coin is that "people like me" who take social distancing very seriously and are in full cocooning mode contribute to the demise of the hospitality industry. I really pity all those hotels and restaurants (the family-owned ones in particular) who don't know how they will survive the next months. Due to Highflyer's job I have way more insight into the current state of the aviation idustry than I want as it makes me extremely anxious to know just how bleak the situation is (sometimes there's more crew on a plane than there are passengers) and that no silver lining is in sight.
When I see people posting about trips abroad in my Instagram feed I am torn between self-righteousness ("wouldn't it be better if you stayed at home?") and respect ("so good that at least some people are buying flight tickets and supporting those poor hotel owners") as I am too much of a coward myself. It's so easy to judge people for their behaviour in times of crisis, but it definitely is not as black and white.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Not All Bad


I think we can all agree that the one headline we would most love to see is "Covid-19 is cancelled" and I am as frustrated as the next person at times about the fact that this pandemic seems to go on and on and on. There are, however, some positive side-effect of the past 7 months, one of them being that I have re-ignited my love for sewing. Granted, I've made mainly masks by the dozen, but I have truly enjoyed using up and repurposing old fabrics and thinking of some creative upcycling projects. I've been cooking and baking up a storm and could publish a cookbook called "100 Creative Ideas for Store-Bought Puff-Pastry" at any time. Sure, I loved cooking and baking before, but while I baked on most Sundays, bringing my offerings into the office the next day, I tended to only cook when I had guests over. In the past months I have cooked for Highflyer (and when he was not around, also for myself) pretty much every single day. These "housewifey" endeavours are immensely gratifying and I love how my "sewing room" has come together now that I had my comfortable armchair delivered. Yes, I have a dedicated sewing room at Highflyer's house, right next to my office. Despite the fact that the sewing machine that I have in Vienna is much better and sturdier, I love the little turquoise Singer entry-level machine that I ordered during lockdown. Having limited social obligations and distractions definitely boosted my creativity and I am grateful for that.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Fast Forward

 

I spent the past weekend in Vienna and it was a pretty action-packed one in the sense that I didn't get to tick off all the chores I had planned. I had wanted to get started on the "bi-annual wardrobe shift", i.e. put away summer clothes, shoes and scarves and change them for my things for the colder months. It feels as if I just did this, only the other way round, and took a bundle of t-shirts and summer dresses to Highflyer's house. The last 6 months have just gone by in a blur and by now most people have resigned themselves to the fact that some things will never be the same. It's noticeably autumn now and nobody knows how much face to face socialising will be feasible over the coming months. I had a pretty social weekend and it felt really good to see some of my favourite people and walk around in the city. A little dose of urban life has recharged my batteries and I am happy I have the option to alternate between Suburbia and City. These days, staying in Vienna feels like a treat or mini vacation and I almost feel like a tourist in my town.

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