Monday, June 08, 2020

Nothing Will Be the Same


When I was about to embark on my 3-months-sabbatical, or rather unpaid leave, in 2015 some colleagues said goodbye with an ominous "you'll see when you come back: nothing will be the same". I laughed them off, knowing that the three months would just fly by and they did. Nothing life-changing happened. I enjoyed a lovely summer break, returned with a great tan and the realisation that I did not like travelling in Japan on my own as much as I would have thought. Meanwhile, there had been a reorg at the office (but I was used to those) and the team I worked in had a new name. Soon afterwards, I was told I had to find myself a new job as my old one was being discontinued. That was way more life-changing than my sabbatical had been.
In many ways, the eleven weeks of self-isolation/quarantine/home-office I spent at Highflyer's house in Lower Austria felt like a sabbatical or rotation of sorts as I was not in my usual habitat. Bewildering external circumstances apart, I felt incredibly privileged and even though I spent way too many hours at my desk and only had a few days of vacation, it was a very special "time out" of reality as we both knew it and above all, the clichéd phrase of "quality time" got a new meaning. In all those weeks that we spent together 24/7 we never once fought or even bickered and I suppose it was a stress test of sorts. The fact that I was surprised with a proposal almost 4 weeks ago was only the icing on the cake (I said "yes", by the way) of weeks of blissful cohabitation. 
These strange weeks that I spent in the suburbs not only taught me that there was nobody else I would rather spend time with than my housemate, but that I still loved drawing (pictured above are some of my "Skype Call doodles") and sewing and that I had in fact inherited some of the gardening passion from my father's side of the family, even if it only meant sowing some rocket salad and making sure the potted basil got on well. 
I'm still allowed to work from home for the time being and will divide my time between the "country house" and "city flat". Life in Vienna feels almost normal even if there are still a few places where you need to wear a mask, but I know deep down that I am not quite the same person I was at the beginning of March and I am only getting to know her. 

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