Today I went to a site visit for the first time since February. I was so excited I nearly couldn’t sleep, like on the first day of school, a mix between nerves and excitement.
I even had flashbacks to my months in Lima, Peru, because I was once again waiting outside my house for an uber!
The site visit is somewhat different in these times of Corona. Along with the sign in sheet we also need to fill in a declaration of good health and sign it. And this is after a rigorous process of site risk assessments from the company I work with to ensure that we have a safe working environment.
On the site we kept a 2m distance as far as possible, and for extra safety, we used our mouth masks along with the usual protective gear of gloves, goggles, high visibility vest and hard hat.
When I complained about the mask and reading glasses in the train, I had no idea what a terrible combination it is to wear a mask with safety goggles. I think I’m going to have to find an old school nose clip like the swimmers used to have, or I have to face up to the fact my goggles will fog up at the merest movement, rendering me incapable of moving anywhere safely.
Goggles aside, it was really great to be able to work on site and I am thankful for the opportunity to do something I love,and to continue working even in these strange times.
I’m not the first person to say this, and it’s likely not even the first time I say this, but here goes :
This whole lockdown life is a lot more bearable because we live in the age of digital connectivity.
In the last 48 hours I’ve interacted with friends in China, India, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, South Africa, England, the USA and Peru. In some cases it was just a text message and in others it was a call or even a video call. I was able to see how my friends and acquaintances are, how they react to our conversations, and talk about shared interests and experiences.
I am not only thankful for the technology that makes this all possible, but also for each and every one who forms part of my life.
I finally took my mountain bike in for the service last week and collected it today.
When the guy was scrutinising it last time he told me that he would probably have to change the chain and the gear set and a few other things and I was worried it would end up as expensive as a new bike.
So I was pleasantly surprised when it was a little less eye wateringly expensive and they didn’t have to replace too many things. They did however replace the grips with ones I bought a few years ago and straightened out a few things. They sorted out the tyres, and checked everything. Before leaving the shop I got new batteries for the lights, added the mandatory bell and now I’m good to go.
My plans for an afternoon cycle was washed away by ‘n rain shower of a bucketing intensity, but there will be more days.
It might be just as well, because it turns out navigating a mountain bike up 3 flights of Amsterdam stairs is a bit of a challenge. One of the neighbours suggested a paid bike storage around the corner, so I might go and investigate the options there.
Sundays are made for lounging around. I spent my day of rest doing a few things that make me happy, like paining some water colour, playing guitar and baking a box cake.
I find it somewhat ironic that the mix says “cake mix” but I just had to add the sugar, butter, eggs, milk and vanilla. I read the ingredients of what was actually included: flour, baking powder and preservatives. So really the box is just a fancy way of printing a recipe. I recall buying the mix before my birthday in the event that I wouldn’t find flour in time for the birthday cake I wanted to bake, but I am happy to report that they do have flour in stock once more.
After a couple of days of sweltering heat, I decided to go to Scheveningen on the weekend, to see the sea. In typical Dutch fashion, however, the weather changed and it cooled down a bit and there was a spot of rain!
I realised if you change your plans because the weather isn’t perfect you’ll change your plans half the time. So I decided to go anyway and I am glad I did. I don’t know if it’s because of the weather or the corona measures, but it was relatively quiet and I could get an impression of the place without too many crowds around.
The beach front looks like it could get really packed at times, but I really found the village enchanting.
I think it’s safe to say that the worst cold of the winter has been broken.
In other words, it’s warm over here. I don’t have a thermometer, but at some point this evening I checked the hourly forecast and it said for 9pm it would be 27°C. It felt like it could be true. Also the fact that by 10:30 pm it was still light outside, made me feel like it’s closer to a summer afternoon than night.
I don’t know what “going back to normal” would look like, if it ever happens.
My work team and project is changing, so I’ll have a different environment altogether.
My life in the Netherlands is full of firsts, like any new experience, so I don’t have much to compare it to. My first few months wasn’t exactly normal, because it was occupied with the business of settling in. Then a global pandemic confined us all to our houses and here we are.
We al had plans that had to change. I had plans and ideas to visit Peru and visit South Africa and travel all over, and here I am,just missing home and my family and spending the longest time apart from them ever.
Hopefully when we return to the new life, and soon I can plan a visit to see my family and loved ones.