Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Random pandemic musings

During the worst stages of the pandemic, many people stopped physically greeting each other in the same way. Elbow bumps replaced hugs. Waves instead of handshakes. People were advised to keep their distance. The pandemic isn't officially over yet, but many people have resumed many aspects of life before the pandemic. Some of my friends and I hug each other when we meet which is really nice. However with many other friends we end up automatically keeping some distance still.

Sometimes I would like to hug a friend but I don't want them to feel uncomfortable if they are still anxious about catching Covid so I don't say anything. Personally I find it a bit of a shame and I hope the pandemic will officially end soon and that people will hug each other more again (with consent of course)!

I get the impression a lot of people are trying to make up for lost time because all of a sudden this summer there have been lots of social events. That has taken some getting used to because during all the lockdowns there was very little social interaction, so it's felt like a lot to go from that to suddently lots of interactions and events. Nice but exhausting too!

It's still required to wear a facemaks on public transport here and everywhere else is optional. Personally I have been mostly wearing mine still while shopping or going indoors because I still hope to reduce the spread of the latest variant. It's also just a habit now. It feels strange not wearing a mask after being so used to wearing one! I really hope there won't be any lockdowns this winter.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Summer 2022

In June we went on a family holiday to Mallorca for ten days. We've been a few times before but this was our first time going since our daughter was born. We love it because it's only a short flight away from Germany and it's a beautiful island. It has gotten a bad reputation at times in the past as being a hotspot for drunkenness and bad behaviour from tourists but it's very easy to avoid those areas! We stayed in the Play de Muro region.

The beaches were long and beautiful. We stayed at a very family friendly hotel which was perfect because they had kids disco in the evening followed by an entertainment program with live music /dancing etc. They also had a kids club from age 4 which we brought Mini to a few times. My Dad and his partner as well as my sister and her family all stayed at the same hotel so it was a really nice way of spending time with family while also having a holiday! Mini hasn't learned to swim yet but she had great fun splashing around in the pool with her arm bands on. Oh and the food was delicious too!

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Dublin over Easter #MicroblogMondays

We finally made it over to Dublin! After two years and four months (due to the pandemic, otherwise we would have travelled many times). There's always something comforting and nostalgic about going there for me. It was so nice to spend time with family and catch up with friends. Hopefully we'll get over there in the Summer again.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The one where we all caught Covid

Well of course we couldn't avoid catching Covid-19 forever and our luck finally ran out. We aren't actually totally sure where we got it from but we suspect it was probably from Mini's daycare. I'm actually impressed we even managed to go a full two years without catching it!

Mini came down with symptoms first - a high fever and the first few nights were rough. She complained of tummy pains on and off as well as having a blocked congested nose. Luckily, she seemed to fight it off quickly and was back to herself after a few days. For me it felt like a really bad headcold and I felt crappy for around 4-5 days then very run down for several days after. For hubby it was more like a bad flu and he suffered the most with it. Thankfully we all seem to be fully recovered now.

Timing wise it was unlucky because I wasn't able to go out on St. Patrick's day. I had been looking forward to meeting a few friends at the local Irish pub beer garden and the weather was meant to be sunny. So we just dressed in green at home and I cooked a wholesome shepherd's pie. I haven't been able to celebrate Paddy's day with friends for several years now due to the pandemic.

In Germany, the plan is to drop lots of the restrictions from April. Time will tell whether that's a good idea or not! If you read my previous post you'll see I have somewhat mixed feelings about it all. The good news is that since we have recovered from Covid, we now have some immunity for a few weeks/months at least so we are getting out an about more which is really nice.
(I guess from this photo it's not so clear but there's a faint second line on the Covid-19 antigen test.)

Hope all my readers are keeping well and staying safe!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Pandemic musings

One of the aspects that has bothered me the most about living through a global pandemic is that it often feels like real life is on hold. That we are only passing time. I really hate that feeling because life is actually short but I certainly don't feel like I'm living life to the fullest these days.

Much like the majority of people I don't live to work. I like my job and I'm happy there for the most part but I am not typically jumping out of bed Monday mornings in anticipation of logging into my computer! Pre 2020 on Mondays I would usually be looking forward to events such as meeting up with a good friend for mid week dinner or perhaps an upcoming holiday, or maybe a play date outing to the ice cream cafe after daycare pickup. During the pandemic our work lives have been expected to carry on as before - we are meant to be just as productive but we have often been made, or at least strongly encouraged to give up almost everything else : travel / visiting family and friends / going to restaurants, cinema, concerts, theatre, sports events, museums etc.. going almost anywhere basically! That's been so hard. 

There have been phases where the Covid numbers were low and restrictions were eased for instance during last Summer which has been wonderful but there have also been several lockdowns and tightening of restrictions. Our daycare have had several mini outbreaks so we've had to keep our daughter home then which is sad for her missing out on seeing her friends and stressful for us juggling our jobs without childcare. I had a big birthday recently but wasn't able to celebrate how I would have liked due to the current restrictions.

The frustrating thing is that I don't know when the pandemic will really end. Why are there so many new variants all the time!? The thought of my daughter or us possibly catching long Covid is scary because there are so many unknown about the long term effets on our bodies. I read something recently about people who have recovered (in paritcular over 65 year olds) then have higher risks of having heart issues or strokes the following year. That's not something I can easily get out of my head especially with a parent in that category. The idea that I might not be able to go to the cinema or theatre in the future without worrying about catching a desease makes me so sad!

This is all hopefully worst case scenario.. I know that restrictions are starting to be removed in many places, such as in Germany from March, but part of me is just anxious that it might be too soon. I have been hoping and praying that it will be safe for life to return to normal and we'll all come out the other side because that is what I wish for more than anything.

We still have lovely moments, despite the pandemic, as a family and I'm trying my best to stay positive and continue to make happy memories with my daughter but to be honest I've felt really low at times and filled with worry. There are so many conflicting articles in the media and it's hard to make sense of it all sometimes. We have tended to be very cautious this whole pandemic for instance avoiding indoor places as much as possible and trying to only meet people outdoors in small groups. However the downside to living this way is we have also been missing out on many experiences.

What's even worse is that on top of a global pandemic, there is now a war in Ukraine! The world is a very scary place right now.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Life lately

Well this pandemic isn't going away anytime soon unfortunately so we certainly haven't been doing as much as I would like but we still had a few fun events recently. Mini was invited to a friend's birthday party. It was one of her little pals from daycare who was turning five. Hubby wasn't sure about whether it was a good idea since it would be indoors but I spoke to the parents and they were vaccinated and had only invited us and one other family who were also vaccinated. The kids aren't vaccinated as they are too young but they are in the same daycare group anyway.

The party was fun. Mini had a great time playing with her two friends and of course she love the yummy treats and cake! It was nice for me to chat to the adults and we all ate lunch together. Naturally the topic of the pandemic came up. Sadly, their neighbour had recently passed from Covid sadly. He was only forty-five and healthy with no precondtions, however he was unvaccinated. Germany has quite a low vacine rate unfortunately, compared to other countries. Ireland has one of the best Covid vacine uptake rates with over 90% of adults fully vaxed!

Apart from that party, we have minaly been avoiding indoor events to keep Mini safe as the Covid incidence rate is really high in our area at the moment. However we try to bring her out for bike rides and to the playground with her friends several times a week if possible and recently we took her kite flying for the first time.

December 6th is known as Nokolaustag. This is a tradition that was new to me as we don't have it in Ireland. The evening before Nikolaustag the children are meant to clean their boots and leave them out and Nikolaus comes around and fills them with little treats/presents. Technically it's only meant for kids but as you can see from the picture, I left my boots out too and I received a vegan choclate Santa Claus.

I would have loved to have visited the Christmas markets with Mini this year but the rules for visiting them are only vaccinated adults who had been freshly tested which was a bit awkward and hubby doesn't want me bringing her on public transport to get there. I walked past by myself one morning and took a few pictures. However they have since been closed completely.

I have flights booked to Ireland for a short trip just by myself in a few weeks time. It would be two years since I've been there last. However, I'm not sure if I will end up needing to postpone the trip because of this new Omnicron variant. I don't want to risk having to quarentine in Ireland and not being able to come back to Germany! So right now I am just waiting to see how things play out and what the current travel restrictions will be before deciding.

I hope you are all having a nice Christmas season!

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Pandemic TV

We recently watched the third season of "YOU". It's a good show. It centers around a guy named Joe Goldberg who becomes fixated on certain women in his life and does a lot of creepy stuff. And worse. He's not someone I'd want to know for real!

He does have a sad backstory and can be quite sympathetic at times so that you almost forget he's basically a sociopath. I'd describe it as a dark comedy.

It can be difficult for TV series to continue to be as gripping after the initial season but so far it has remained entertaining.

What struck me though, was how the characters in the third season speak about the Covid-19 pandemic as if it is already over. I guess when they were filming the show, they assumed life would be totally back to normal by now..

No such luck!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Invisible Women book review

We read "Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men" by Catoline Criado Perez for my book club at the start of this year and it's taken me this long to get around to writing the review but I didn't want to miss this chance to talk about it because it's such a great book. It's based around the premise that the standard human is always considered to be a roughly 70 kilo man and all the negative repercussions that has for women when they are discounted.

At the start of the book I found it very interesting hearing about how even language affects sexism. Countries that have more gender neutral words such as "doctor" in English versus "Arzt / Arztin" in German for instance tend to be less sexist in general. There were things that didn't surprise me such as how women's trousers generally don't have pockets and phones are designed to fit perfectly into a man's hand. However as I kept reading, I eneded up feeling more and more angry about how much women have been overlooked and how far reaching the affects of this are.

For instance crash test dummies are based on men's bodies and so car seats are designed based around that, meanding women end up with higher chances of being badly injured in a car crash. The medical world studies "human anatomy" which is all based on men and their symptoms and then usually only have one course on "women's health". I was reminded of a tiktok video I saw recently where a male doctor clearly hadn't a clue about how periods work! Time and time again research grants aren't given in areas that primarily affect women such as period pain since issues that affect women are considered less important.

There was a lot in the book that I could relate to and could see happening to my friends. For instance it spoke about the challenges for women who want to work after having kids. In Ireland there is good maternity leave, however the cost of childcare is extremely high and it's rare to be offered part time options so there are many women who quit their jobs afterwards. In Germany childcare is generally affordable and by law you are entitled to work reduced hours until your child is a certain age which helps a lot. However it is generally the mother who has to miss work and stay home if the child is sick. All over the world a significantly higher proporion of unpaid work falls on women - childcare, household tasks and care work. There are many women who end up having to leave the workforce in order to mind elerly or disabled relatives for instance. Being off work affects women's pensions naturally. Women tend to be exposed to more chemicals which also negatively affects our health.Not to mention women are more at risk of suffering sexual assult and abuse.

I also learned how much representation matters. When young children are asked to draw a "doctor" for instance they were equally as likely to draw a male or female doctor however past a certain age, then they are way more likely to draw a male doctor. Young girls seeing images of female scientists in their school text books helps them see that this could be a career for them and something as small as that can make a huge difference. Having a female quota in certain jobs actually helps weed out the mediocre men while including more competent women.

The book is incredibly well researched and it feels very sciency and heavy and times to read but overall well worth it. In fact I think it should be conpulsary reading for everyone! It did make me feel angry and upset at times at all the injustices to women. However the book gives many positive examples of things that are changing for the better so it's not all negative thankfully. The more women there are now in leadership roles for instance, the more younger women will see that as an option for them. Let me know you're thoughts if you've read the book or are thinking about it!