Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 314

As of yesterday there is a curfew in place in the Netherlands.

To be honest, aside from the fact that I have to think about ordering takeaways earlier, it doesn’t really affect me all that much. And perhaps the fact that I found the grocery shops much quieter at night, while the shelves are getting restocked (win – win) and thought I might start shopping later. But alas, no late nights for us now.

I wonder how long it will last. Will this just form part of life as we know it?

I have taken the opportunity this weekend to continue with my cleaning spree. I really only wanted to stick to the plan (clean the kitchen sink) but then I started wiping down the stove and one thing led to another and the next thing I knew I was deep cleaning the burners on the gas stove. Today I had a few moments of panic that I might have damaged any of the nozzles but it seems it works just fine, luckily.

The problem with enthusiastic cleaning however, is if you clean the stove, you realise how dirty the oven is. Well, I really got into it and it’s safe to say it’s cleaner now than I’ve ever seen it, ever since I’ve moved in at least!

In between my energetic cleaning spree, Marinus and I also took advantage of the nice winter’s day to go for the walk in the nearby forest/park. Let’s really lovely and at least every second person has a dog. It was so lovely to be out and about and to see all the lovely dogs and their owners of course. I am trying to make an effort to have conscious walks, where I avoid listening to music or audiobooks, or interacting with my phone, to just enjoy my environment and the company I am in,and I’m starting to really enjoy it!

Be kind. Stay safe.

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 311

This week they extended the lockdown until at least 9 February, and it’s anyone’s guess until when. Either way, it looks unlikely that I’ll see the inside of a gym anytime soon.

Couple that with the fact that I do a job that involves a lot of sitting in front of a desk, and a commute between my bedroom, kitchen and my second bedroom/home office, it means that I don’t exactly get a lot of movement in at the moment. It certainly doesn’t help that it is dark and often wet outside either.

I’m not sure what came first, but luckily 2 things happened around this topic. The one is that my employer is making a real effort in looking after the mental and physical health of us all. This involves a number of initiatives such as a buddy system, access to external coaching, a confidential health assessment and workshops around movement etc. One of my team mates hosts an afternoon stretch session, and my team also started a challenge to take a daily 20 min walk!

At around the same time I was evaluating my own lack of fitness and I realised that when it gets warmer I’m going to have a hard time trying to surf unless I do something about it. So I ordered a kettlebell and a balance board thing to start working on it.

When I got the notification that it will be delivered, I thought that I probably need to find a sort of program to at least work with a plan. Luckily I remembered a fitness program I did a few years ago, and I still have the workouts somewhere. Thinking back I can’t remember how well I did with the program, but I remember doing the workouts with other people on the program and I really enjoyed it.

So I printed the Beginner: Month 1 program and did it before work today.

Afterwards I went for a relaxed 20 min walk too.

I have a feeling I’m ging to be stiff over the weekend but I know that too will pass. I’ve seen this movie before.

Be kind. Stay safe.

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 308

Confessions of a colonial child.

I have no control over where I was born or what family I was born into, but today I realised again how privileged I am.

I was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of laundry and the mystery stains on my favourite shirt. To top that up it felt like my house isn’t clean enough to my liking and I honestly don’t have an idea how to best clean my windows.

At that moment I realised how much I’ve been spoilt by Maria, Vivienne, Zanele, Anna and Priscilla in my life. Each of these women made something look so easy that I didn’t even realise how much they were doing for me. I even sent Priscilla a text message to tell her how much I miss her. She really has become a friend in the time she worked for me in Peru.

Then I put my problem solving hat on and decided the following: if I could learn to ride a bicycle and swim, and drive a car, then I can learn to clean,and make it part of my life. It can’t be harder than learning to surf, and I managed that. And besides, I like learning new things.

So I did some research, found a really corny website recommended by someone, to help me learn the basics of cleaning. It’s a process, and there’s a long way to go before it becomes like riding a bike, but I am already starting to enjoy the process.

Be kind. Stay safe.

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 305

Snow day!!

I’ve experienced snow a few times in my life, but it usually involved travelling somewhere to see it. As a student we made a couple of trips to Franschhoek mountains when there were reports of snow, and there was the famous choir tour where we all looked at Brood saying “Kyk! Daar is sneeu op die berg!”

Later in life there was also a stop in Switzerland to have a roadside snow ball fight on my Contiki tour, and a couple of day trips to Hogs Back from East London.

But today I actually saw the snowdrops fall from my own living room window, where I live! No day trip or bus tour.

Marinus and I even had our first snowball fight, and lots of laughs!

Be kind. Stay safe

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 290

A new year dawns, and surprisingly, we’re all still the same.

The world is still in lockdowns all over, people are still surprised (?) about the Dutch fireworks on new years eve, and people on the Internet will do what they always do.

To be honest, I think people on the Internet gets a lot more attention these days than they should, because everyone is at home and a little bit bored.

I had the most relaxing day in months, doing absolutely nothing all day, and it was wonderful.

I have hope for the new year. There are talks of vaccination programs starting around the world and although it may take a few months before I can get it, if might mean that I can see my family again soon.

Be kind. Stay safe.

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 289

New years eve 2020. I think many people are happy to see the end of this year.

In the afternoon we biked around town to do a round of cider deliveries. Some of Marinus’s holiday cider still had to be delivered to the recipients and we enjoyed the opportunity to see some friends and have some coffee.

Afterwards Marinus went to pick up some olie bollen and we settled in to a quiet evening at home. I guess it would have been fun to spend it with friends and have a party, but perhaps next year.

As the evening grew late he started a fire in the garden pizza oven, and just before midnight we were ready to say happy new year and drink a glass of bubbly together.

Despite the fireworks ban, there were still many bangs and lights around and we looked at the amateur displays and wished the neighbours a happy new year just after midnight.

A quiet end to a different year.

Be kind. Stay safe.

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 288

A while ago I told the story of the bike shop saga.

The Internet saga was nearly as intense, but only nearly.

When I got confirmation of my moving date I got in touch with my Internet supplier, and asked them what I should do to have Internet when I move in, since I work from home. They informed me that I can just notify them online.

So I tried, and failed. Apparently the new address is served by a different region of the supplier, so I have to do this via phone.

So I tried that. I called and told the lady my new address and move in date. She even said she’ll activate it a few days after my call so the package with modem etc arrives once I’m there.

2 days later the package was delivered to my neighbours, while the place still belonged to someone else. But I thought, hey, maybe for once they are ahead of the curve.

Boy, was I wrong.

While looking for a place to connect the modem to, I found nothing. Nada. Zilch. So I get back on the phone. The friendly call centre guy says, oh, he’ll send a technician to help me, and the next available appointment is the next day. So I’m hopeful.

But then the email confirmation comes, and says the technician will come at the appointed time, to my old address.

So I get back on the phone to change it. Only, it seems like my address is not yet updated in the system, even though my move has been registered (I ask you, how does that even work?)! The friendly guy then goes about changing it, and says he can only book an appointment once the change has been accepted in their system, 24 hours later!

Surprisingly, the guy calls back the next day to book an appointment, at the end of the week. Of course this conflicts with the one other appointment I have but what can you do. I accept it and wait.

On the appointment day, the new technician arrives, walks around my apartment, and tells me what I already know and told them on the phone: there’s no point in my apartment. (no sh*t Sherlock) and there’s no cable into it, so a different technician has to install it.

In the mean time Christmas happened and I didn’t really expect anything to happen, but eventually someone got back to work and I received a letter asking for some information. I promptly reply with everything I have at my disposal. Then today I receive another email: it will take 14 weeks for my Internet connection.

Needless to say that is not acceptable and after a couple of calls to the customer service I managed to cancel my subscription without a month’s notice period, because, what will I use in the supposed “notice period”

Now I still don’t have Internet, but at least I don’t have to wait so long for the other supplier (I hope)

Be kind. Stay safe.

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 287

Pearl earrings

On the day I met Marinus, half a year ago, I was on my way to the Mauritshuis in Den Haag. It houses some incredible artworks be the Dutch masters, including the famous “Girl with a pearl earring” by Vermeer.

The plan was to meet for a coffee before my museum time slot, and after a lovely coffee or 2, we had a quick walk around the area before I went into the museum.

A couple of weeks later he asked me to be his girlfriend and the rest, as they say is history.

Today, due to lockdowns and the postal overload, my belated Christmas present arrived in the post: a set of pearl earrings from the museum shop!

Be kind. Stay safe

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 286

After all the excitement of the ladder few days it was wonderful to spend a day at home, doing home things and so.

This is including, but not limited to the following:

  • Setting up and trying the new printer (needs some adjustment to print according to scale , but will revisit when I have a real WiFi network)
  • Finishing one sewing project and starting another
  • Preparing 2 light fittings for hanging by adjusting the cable length
  • Listening to audiobooks (The Ultimate Sherlock Holmes, read by Stephen Fry)
  • Preparing a delicious pie made with leftovers and other findings in the fridge
  • Taking out the trash and a big chunk of recycling (related to moving and other stuff)

All in all, a most excellent day.

Be kind. Stay safe.

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 285

For the second time this year I made a sneaky birthday trip to the east of the country. Last time I went to celebrate my birthday with my best friend, this time for hers.

I packed the carrot cake in my bag along with leftover lamb from Christmas dinner, and made my way to the station.

Luckily I was able to keep a reasonable distance from other passengers and soon enough I was at my destination. Along the way I met up with her sister, who was also travelling the same way.

Our original plan was to go for a walk in the forest, but the weather was miserable so we decided to stay in instead and play a board game. We have been friends for 20 odd years and I am delighted to report that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I am lucky to have someone here who shares a bit of my history and who has over the years become more like family than friends.

Be kind. Stay safe.