It’s all the same to me (but also not)

As everyone else laments everything that’s changed for them recently, it occurs to me that my life is mostly continuing as before.

I’ve been working from home for almost five years now. My two trips to the office in Germany are on hold for the time being, but basically my situation is the same as always… at least for as long as there is work for me to do. So far I’ve had just about enough to keep working me normal hours, so keep your fingers crossed that continues to be the case!

Jan working from home as well is, of course, unusual. He has occasionally in the past but never for multiple days in a row. But since he’s set up in the spare room and seems to have multiple conference calls with California  (which means they take place pretty late in our time zone) I think I’m actually seeing less of him than before. At least when he goes to the office once he’s home for the evening he’s generally done. Now more often than not he’ll emerge briefly to eat whatever I’ve cooked then disappear back to the spare room until long after I’ve gone to bed.

I only ever managed to make two friends here… or possibly more acquaintances. They are the other half of our quiz team. But even before the pandemic we hadn’t yet managed to find a date this year when all of us had time for the pub quiz. The only other people I know here are from Jan’s choir, and while I occasionally get to join them to socialise (and even hosted one of them who needed a place to stay when Jan wasn’t even in the country) they’re really his friends. This was never more clear than when I decided to join them for a virtual beer last week only for it to end up as the three of them speaking Swiss German while I contributed nothing because I was too busy concentrating on trying to understand what they were actually saying! The rest of my friends and all my family are in other countries so not socialising regularly is nothing new for me.

Most of my hobbies are solitary, indoor activities. I read, I cross stitch, I make cards, I read blogs. My friend recently sent me a colouring book so I’ve been working on that. All of those are things I can still do.

I won’t run out of books any time soon…

Day to day, my life is the same as it always was, except that I no longer go for walks on my lunch break, but only venture out to the supermarket once a week (whichever day we run out milk) and stock up on all the foods we’ve used since my last shop, hoping each time that what I buy will ensure I don’t have to set foot in the supermarket again until the following week.

The things that have really changed for me are more long term. I may not socialise regularly, but my friend K – who lives in Berlin – and I had been making plans to meet up in the summer. Who knows whether that will be able to happen now. I also had tentative plans with another friend and her boyfriend  – we went to the Christmas market in Baden-Baden last year and thought it would be nice to meet there again when the weather was nice for a look around the town. Now the weather is stunning but the border to Germany is closed and we’re all supposed to be staying at home anyway.

Speaking of nice weather, now is the time of year that we would be starting to go on day or weekend trips whenever Jan wasn’t busy with choir practices. And on the weekends that he wasn’t around, I would take long walks by myself or explore local places. That’s all out the window now  – we can still go for walks, we’re not in total lockdown yet, but we’re supposed to only take short walks close to where we live and avoid popular places where other people might want to go, so it will be a long time before I even get to see the Rhine in Basel again never mind anything further afield!

One day I will get to see this view again…

Finally, my mum had been planning to visit us in June. Will some of the restrictions in Switzerland have been lifted by June? Maybe. It’s possible that at least some businesses may be able to open again by then (like dentists). Will the UK be back to normal by then? I doubt it. Will there be flights? Also doubtful. When will I get a see any member of my family again? Who knows.

But while I am sad that I am not going to be able to take any trips or see friends and family who live in other places, I feel like I am actually comparatively lucky. I have a job that I can still do even while self-isolating and a life that was already mostly spent indoors, alone (sometimes with my boyfriend). For other people, staying home is a much greater adjustment. Take Jan for instance: no going into the office every day and seeing colleagues, no practice every Monday with one choir or on several weekends and evenings a month for another, no regular meetings for another project he’s involved in, no going for beers with his friends. And his one choir’s trip to Sweden in May is also cancelled. How long do we think it will be before he’s entirely sick of only having me for company?  😉

I feel for all those of you who have had to cancel plans and are missing spending time with your friends, family and even co-workers. I hope this is all over soon and you get to be with them all again. And as for me… well, I’ll be just fine. I’ve been training for this situation for years. Who knew being anti-social and terrible at making friends would one day turn out to be a super power? 😂

How much has your day-to-day life changed since everybody started to stay home?


22 thoughts on “It’s all the same to me (but also not)

  1. I’ve been feeling pretty ok but then recently feeling a bit down for the petty reason that I can’t plan anything 😡. I think I have gotten used to planning trips and days out and now I can’t I have started feeling sorry for myself. I don’t even feel like phoning my friends anyway as I feel such a mooch at the moment. To combat the no planning thing Wil says we should plan a BBQ in the back yard next wknd. I think he is right. Hope your getting some fresh air Bev. X

    1. We have been getting out for the occasional walk… trying to avoid other people! I’m not feeling sorry for myself yet but I I am thinking wistfully of drinks by the river. Take care of yourself!

  2. Our day to day, at least Monday through Friday, has changed a bit since the kids are home from school and I can’t go to work. They are doing online school, which I supervise a bit with our younger one, but not the older two. My son is home from college and finishing the semester online as well.
    We are homebodies and don’t go out too much but I miss going out to dinner with the family or just my husband and I. I also miss being able to go for walks/hikes in the local wetlands or going to the beach.
    I was thinking that it’s a bit like my days as a stay at home mom, only the kids are older. I feed everyone three times a day, clean up after them, do laundry and make sure they do what they are supposed to do and keep them entertained.
    Hope you and Jan will continue to stay healthy! Take care.

    1. It would definitely be different if we had children, especially if they were school aged.
      We do eat out relatively often usually but I haven’t missed it so far. We’ve ordered food a couple of times.

  3. It’s good to hear you have Lockdown superpowers!! And I’m really glad about your job being ok so far.
    I’ve got an idea for a blog post for you (mainly because I’m nosy!)- why don’t you give us a tour of your book shelves and show us what’s on each shelf or something like that- with some discussion about the books etc.
    I was tempted to do the same with some of mine (obviously, since both of us have so many bookcases, this would need to be broken down into a few posts!
    For me, so far, I’m actually fine with the situation. I like spending time at home pottering and whilst having spent 2 weeks preparing music blog posts has been time consuming and much more difficult and frustrating than teaching lessons, I’ve loved not having to commute 3 hours a day, eating when I want, CBC actually doing lots of the cooking (he’s the best cook but despite me having the long commute- inevitably, it’s me that always cooks and washes up mainly because he’s useless in the evenings after school), not having to teach the mad year 1’s and the crazy year 4 class in person. I really like our house- it’s so calm and spacious and because I have so many hobbies (books, cosplay, craft, blogging, music, singing, gardening) and have lots and lots of tidying and sorting to do, I am finding it really fine. We are so thankful for our beautiful garden- it isn’t big but it’s a gorgeous garden with lots to do to. The 2 weeks have absolutely flown by (I was a bit ill the first week- who knows if I had COVID or not but I had something). On Friday night, I played flute in my garden and got an audience from upstairs windows! That was fun. I was sad to be missing the rehearsals and the concerts I was supposed to be doing this last fortnight but I do occasionally get times like that with no rehearsals or concerts. We were supposed to be in the Cotswolds on our first family holiday with my side of the family this week which is sad, then on Wednesday, we were supposed to be going to see Jacob Collier at the Roundhouse and then getting the Caledonian sleeper train to Glasgow for 2 days, then Edinburgh for 3 days and then coming back to Essex. Chris was supposed to have Legally Blonde rehearsals at school for 3 days and I was planning to go and see my friend Ellie in Sussex (if she wanted me to) or go and arrange something with other friends. Then, the final weekend, we were supposed to be getting the CAT! Chris’s sister and her husband were supposed to be going to America for 6 months to do the Pacific Crest Trail. They’d taken sabbatical from work and bought all their stuff, booked their tickets and supposed to be off on the 28th April. We were going to look after their cat for 6months. They’d been planning it for a year so I can imagine they feel quite gutted about it.

    1. Sorry you’ve had to cancel your holiday. Hopefully if people start doing as they’re told we’ll get this over with sooner rather than later and be able to make plans again! I will have a think about how to do a bookcase tour. That’s actually an old photo – I’ve arranged it slightly differently now.

  4. I’m glad to hear that you have enough work for now! I’m crossing my fingers for you that you will continue to have enough work. I’ve also been lucky since I’ve been able to transition to working from home. My fiance works in food production, so he is also able to continue working. He’s lucky that he can work without coming into contact with the public, I just hope that all of his co-workers are practicing proper social distancing.

    It’s been weird but good to work from home. I think my dog really loves it. She’s asleep in the chair next to me that sits in front of a window in the sun. This must be great for her! I am slowly getting used to this new normal in general. It’s been nice spending more time at home. We managed to clean and organize our shed and reorganize our living room. I just worry about what is going to happen when we all suddenly (hopefully gradually) stop social distancing and the virus picks back up. Hopefully we will have given hospitals and governments a chance to at least get organized and prepared for more cases.

    1. P.S. I absolutely love your bookshelf. I have been using the library but it shut down. I bought the Harry Potter box set, but I burn through those pretty quickly. I do have some other reading around with short stories, essays, etc. My co-worker brought me a big bag of books before we all left for home, so that should help as well, but I aspire to your level of owning books someday!

    2. Work has been sloooow this week. I’m hoping people took time off for Easter and it will pick up again.
      Aww, I bet your dog is loving it. It would be so nice to have a pet during all of this.

      Switzerland is gradually lifting the restrictions now but it’s going to be a sloooow process. Hairdressers, dentists and garden centres can open again from 27th April but other business still have to stay closed and social distancing still applies. It will be a while before normal life can continue so hopefully that will stop the virus from picking back up too fast. We’ll see.

  5. It really is such a blessing to be able to work from home. I’m always telling my husband and mom that I’m so glad I’m not where I was two years ago, I’d have to go into work every day, as my job would have been considered essential.

    I’m like you, I try to stock up on everything at the store so that I won’t have to go again for another week. So far I’ve been able to stretch it out to almost two weeks. I’m hoping the trip I take today will be the last for a little while.

    1. I could definitely feed us for two weeks but I don’t think milk would keep for that long so I still have to go shopping once a week at least for that and I feel like I might as well do a big shop to make the potential exposure worth it! LOL.

  6. I’m with you. This isn’t difficult for me. I think the physical distancing at the grocery store is great! I’m not a hugger and was happy as pie when Germans dropped the hand shaking as well. I’m only sorry that won’t continue afterwards, at least during cold and flu season. My family is in the US, which is a place I do NOT want to visit anytime soon, and ironically we had planned no vacation to Scotland this year because we had other things going on. No trips planned anywhere except 2 weeks in Saarland for a class, which could still happen. We are lucky in that – we don’t have to give anything up that we’d been looking forward to. I get together with one friend or another maybe once a month under normal circumstances, but there’s always email (I don’t video-chat). My favorite thing to do is read, and I’ve got an enormous stack of “to read when I have time” books. I could ride this thing out til Christmas. But I do feel awful for those who are suffering either with health or having lost their jobs or businesses, putting themselves at risk every day to keep the world functioning in one way or another… For their sakes I hope this ends soon.

    I’m glad you’re doing ok, and I hope you’ll be able to see your family later this summer. Stay healthy!

  7. I’m sort of the same as you. I’m quite happy staying in and have more than enough to occupy me indoors for months and months. My mum was meant to be coming to stay in May but I guess that won’t happen.

  8. Our biggest blows have been shutting down out warehouse & cancelling a trip to Texas (for a wedding). The wedding still happened and they live streamed it. We’re HOPEFULLY flying down for a reception in September. K and I have been working from home but truthfully there’s not much to do. All our clients (schools) are closed and we can’t ship anything. It’s more time with M and she’s on a pretty good schedule but we’re going stir crazy inside. We used to be pretty social, active people.

    1. I used to be a lot more social when we lived in Germany and I made an effort when we first moved to Switzerland – I went to so many MeetUp events in the first 2ish years. But eventually it was more stressful than fun. Making friends as an adult is hard! Especially when you end up being the ones nobody clicks with every single time. I think now I’ve got used to not really knowing anyone here and socialising in short bursts when we have visitors or go to the UK.

      I hope you get your trip in September. It will be so awful if we’re still in lockdown then!

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  10. I’m on my eighth week of relative isolation, so it’s interesting to see how others are handling things. Zoom calls are a blessing and a curse- I appreciate having the ability to see people but I also burned myself out quickly on trying too hard to retaon socializing… it’s a weird weird time.

  11. Just been catching up on some of your older posts. For me the main difference has been working from home and not being able to travel to Ireland. I’m also a planner, I love thinking ahead and right now it’s frustrating not knowing when it’ll be safe to travel again.

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