Monday, January 25, 2021

Next Phase: Monochrome


Starting today, FFTP2-grade masks are obligatory in Austria in shops and pharmacies, on public transport and other public places. This means that the countless masks I sewed (most of them pictured above) will have to go into hibernation for the time being. I remember when I first started "mass production" last spring and gave the first few away, some people thanked me but thought they would only need them in the coming weeks. Well...All in all, I must have sewed dozens of masks until then and I truly loved this quick and gratifying sewing project. Mine are all 2-ply and I always used some type of tightly-woven fabric so I am pretty confident they were semi-decent in terms of protection. I once saw a guy on a tram in Vienna who wore the thinnest, flimsiest excuse of a mask, made of a gauze-type material and he could just as well have worn nothing. Given this type of people, I totally support our Government's decision and I also don't mind wearing FFP2 masks from a comfort point of view but it will definitely make interacting with people even more boring and dystopian-looking than it is already. Everyone walking around wearing the same kind of (mostly white) masks. Ah, well. 
While I never thought that masks would disappear in 2020, I actually did not anticipate that my birthday (later this week) this year would fall in a lockdown. I pitied all my friends whose birthdays took place last spring during lockdown one and tried to make Highflyer's all the more special. In hindsight, the fact that the Empress was able to celebrate her 40th with a large group of people last summer is almost a miracle as I remember wishing almost everyone whose birthday fell between Mid March 2020 and now a happy birthday "despite it all", i.e. the fact that they couldn't celebrate properly.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Summer Then?


Lockdown nr. 3 in Austria has just been extended for 2 more weeks (fingers crossed that it won't be even longer) and our Chancellor apparently has promised that our lives would be "normal by summer." Hmmm. Now this sounds familiar. I still remember that at the beginning of lockdown nr. 1 people kept telling one another that everything would be back to normal by summer. Right. Now that didn't happen and I am getting broken record vibes. I sincerely hope that by January next year we won't be in a lockdown, dreaming of the summer when things might be back to normal!

Monday, January 11, 2021

Lockdown on the Slopes

I spent the past 10 days in Tyrol, skiing on 8 of them. When the present lockdown was announced, it was unclear until the very last moment if skiing would be allowed after all. When it looked as if it might not be (there was a lot of political pressure by neighbouring countries), both Highflyer and I were utterly crestfallen. This was our one silver lining, the carrot we'd had hanging in front of our noses for months and now it looked as it was not going to be possible. In the end, ski resorts were allowed to open (minus the hotels, restaurants and those notorious après ski bars, of course) provided they had a decent Covid-19 prevention concept in place and we were so, so happy about this fact. 
It remains a very controversial and polarising issue with opinions ranging from "complete and utter madness" to "skiing is our birth right as Austrians". Mine is: it's open air and as long as you keep a distance and wear a mask when queuing for the lift or gondola, you should be much safer than in a supermarket. I do know that injuries on the slopes could (unnecessarily) add to hospital workload and that it's an entirely frivolous activity if you so will. Bestie Boy forwarded an article from a German newspaper that commented on the skiing exception that "it's for Austrian what jogging is for us", and this is of course an exaggeration. It is, however, the highlight of the long winter months for many Austrians and I admit to being one of them. 
I really feel very lucky and privileged (not everyone knows someone with an apartment near ski resorts and I have this great fortune in not one, but 2 provinces) that I got to enjoy so many ski days in good weather this year already. We never know when regulations might change, too, so my attitude was: "enjoy it while you can".

Monday, January 04, 2021

A Special Gift


I am probably one of the few people for whom 2020 was not a horrible year. Needless to say, I, too could have done without the permanent threat of catching a potentially deadly virus and the side-effects that came with it, such as minimal personal interaction with friends and family, spending way too many hours in video conferences, not being able to travel and enjoy activities I used to take for granted in the past...
2020 was a special gift for me as it brought me even closer to Highflyer and proved that spending 24/7 together for months without a single argument or disagreement is indeed possible if you share unconditional love and respect for each other. This past year was slow-paced, but eventful, uncertain, but secure, stationary in terms of location, but so full of growth and learning. 
A surprise proposal on a seemingly "random" evening walk back in May would be an obvious highlight of this year, but it was just the icing on the cake, or rather the red ribbon on this gift of a year, to stay with the metaphor.
I will forever be grateful that this crazy year allowed us to spend so much time together, discover so much about ourselves and about each other, and to rediscover the joy of some old hobbies. 2020, you were a tough one, but I owe you a lot.

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