18.10.2020 | COVID Notes and a Long Walk

When I gathered stuff for my outing in the kitchen earlier, I came across a piece of paper on which I had jotted down some more things to maybe blog about. And today there were more things coming up, mostly COVID-19 pandemic related and I thought, maybe I should just do a section of that and get it over with. Not in any kind of order, neither topical nor chronologically or whatever.

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COVID Notes #001

Earlier this week I was on a Zoom call with my EU project team from six different countries. It was good to catch up, project- but of course also pandemic – wise. One of the guys was about to become a dad, literally just about. And he wasn’t allowed in the hospital for obvious reasons and also because there had been COVID cases on the ward and it’s all so sad. He was happy for the distraction, but still…. I’m also quite sad because I most probably won’t see either of them in real life before the project ends mid next year. There might be some more real life meetings in April 2021, but as part of the risk group there is no way I’m getting on a plane or train anywhere any time soon.

It’s always good to check my own privilege, because I’m privileged in so many ways. And I’m grateful about it and humbled by it. I just need to be reminded of that when I feel like the dark COVID clouds are coming in.

On my drive back home this afternoon I heard a song on the radio that reminded me of the Frank Turner DJ sets. I’m not sure if I actually heard him play it at one I was at, but I remember an Insta post or story from one of the DJ sets where he definitely put it on. And I was nostalgic about the last one I went to… in 2018? I don’t even recall exactly. I remember that I didn’t dare to just walk up to his DJ desk and say Hi, in fear he might not remember me, so it must have been a while ago. Either way, I miss the carelessness of those days. So much!

According to the German COVID warn app, I’ve been near one person who tested positive within the last two weeks? Few days? The app is unclear about it. No need to worry as we’ve obviously been distanced enough or just been close for a tiny span of time. But still… it’s getting closer and that’s…. scary!

I read a short news report about one local health authority stating, that they are swamped because they have to follow up on 80 – 90 contacts on average for every positive test. And I thought to myself: 80 – 90 Close-ish (face to face over 15 minutes) contact? What are have those (tested positive) people doing? When I look back over my two weeks I get to about 25, who I might have spent distanced (!) contact with for longer than a few minutes. A handful of those where I might have spent a minute or so looking on the same computer screen. Only about 20 more who I passed in the stairwell / on the floor / in the bathroom at work and possibly exchanged a few words with. Always (as far as I remember) distanced. Would all of those 25 + 20 = 45 people needed to be called up by the authorities? I have no idea…

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It is time to make a wide berth around people again. And I did that – more or less – by taking a walk at the old central cemetery in Dortmund, which is about 30 minutes drive away. I had read about it some time ago and thought this might be a good place to go for a walk as it’s open spaced enough to avoid other people who might be out for a walk as well. And that worked indeed quite well.

So here are a few photos, more of trees and nature and less of gravestones and such. I didn’t see that many old and battered ones and also didn’t feel comfortable taking / sharing pictures of other ones, because a grave is still a bit of a private issue, isn’t it? When I saw a marker for “soldiers’ graves” I didn’t know what to expect to be honest. We have a memorial stone at the old graveyard in my small town as far as I remember. I did not expect to see rows and rows and rows of stone crosses marking graves of the fallen. According to Wikipedia there are almost 4.000 graves of soldiers from both wars. Quite the humbling experience…

18.10.2020 | Hibernation, Friends and Cars

I’m in a bit of funk, which is no surprise, because we’re living through a unprecedented global pandemic! I’m afraid there are moments when it still hasn’t sunk in and I’m just like “WTF?!?!?”. And on the other hand it feels like this has been going on for ages and I can’t remember life before. It’s so freaking weird *sigh*.

With numbers rising rapidly it’s time to start hibernating again. And keeping even more distance and staying in even more than over the summer. I’m not sure how I feel about this. In some ways I don’t mind all that much, because I’m fine with myself most of the time. Or so I think and say. But on ocassion I wonder, if that’s really true and if staying on my own all the time and not reaching out more to other people is doing more harm? I don’t know! And I hate that I have to think about that again in the first place.

I’m quite glad that last week I reached out to two friends I haven’t seen for over a year now and haven’t talked (phone, messaging) to for months either. I had Friday off from work (tomorrow as well) and asked if they’d like to meet for a walk or other outdoor activity. And they both said yes and we met and walked and talked and it was so so nice to see and talk to other people than just my immediate family and the people at work. I missed that and we all three vowed to do that again at some point this year. Winter walk or Zoom talk or something. I’m really glad I sent that “hey, have you got time and like to meet up?” mail to them earlier this week. I had planned to do that for ages and… never did for some reason I can’t even explain now.

What else is new? I’m in the immediate process of buying a new car which is equally exciting and daunting. I had planned to do that since before the pandemic. I had a test drive in  February (or January?) and the plan was to check with other dealerships and have the car ordered, like a brand new car for the first time in my life. That was put on the backburner of course when the shit hit the fan in March, but I now decided to follow through with maybe not the same, but a similar plan: To not order a brand new car, because this might take a few months to be delivered now, but to look if I can find a almost-new car with the same specifications. Which would be cheaper as well and I don’t really need a brand new car anyway. 

As I work in the climate action field and have a 100km commute each day (on regular office hours, less during a pandemic) I wanted my new car to be the most climate friendly I could manage. Electric is not an option for me, because I couldn’t charge it at home (rented flat, no garage, car parks on the street) and I don’t think electric mobility for everyone is the way to go anyway for a lot of reasons. Another blog post at some point maybe. So the next option I looked into and decided to go with was/is CNG (compressed natural gas), which has much less carbondioxid emissions and is much cheaper than petrol. Even with the car itself costing more I will save money over the years I will drive this car. People say: “But are there enough gas stations around to fill up the car with CNG?” Yes, there are. Fewer stations than regular petrol stations of course, but more than enough along or just a tiny detour from the regular routes I’m driving. To work and back. Around my small city. Once a month to my neurologist in the morning and to work from there. There is a CNG station right next to the motorway entrace I have to use. It’s going to be just a small change in my routine and that’s fine and will be easy to do. I usually fill up my car at the same few stations anyway. They only will be different ones in the future πŸ™‚ And it’s a hybrid with a small petrol tank as well, so I don’t risk running empty at any time.

 Oh, it’s going to be the SEAT Ibiza (Style) by the way. At least that’s the one on offer by the dealership I went to on Friday. I’ve got another appointment at another dealership for another as-new car, but with a bit more extras and thus more expensive and I’m not sure they are extras I really need or want. I’ll check it out regardless, but I think I’ll be going with the one on Friday. My mum will lend me part of the money even though when I checked all my saving accounts I could afford to buy it all on my own. Would wipe out quite a bit of my accounts though πŸ™‚ But it’s so weird to see these savings, which I haven’t touched this year since drawing some money for the trips to London (January, Operation Mincemeat) and Amsterdam (February, Frank Turner). The only upside of 2020: the money I did not spend! I guess…

Enough rambling now. I want to make the most of the non-rainy day and go for a photo walk, snap some indian summer pictures. I might share some later. Two posts on one day? Unheard of… πŸ™‚


13.10.2020 | It Still Comes In Waves… #3

There is not much to say except that it’s still a lot of ups and downs moodwise for me. Especially today. I felt moderately productive and accomplished at work, two days in a row. I managed to not think about COVID and the state of the world / country / city at the moment, because it feels so overwhelming. Thank God for distracting LEGO sets, which force my mind to really focus on other stuff.

And still… all of a sudden my mind transports me back to the time mid-March, where I had planned to travel to the UK to see Frank Turner play some shows and how I cancelled that last minute and how much that broke my heart. I’m remembering that very vividly right now. It might also still be aftershocks from this tweet last night.

The fact that I’m browsing through various songs of my favourite bands to pick as requests for this …

doesn’t really help matters either. I miss live music from my favourite bands so so so much!

Off to bed now in hopes that I’ll feel a bit more upbeat tomorrow.

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