We are now three weeks in Schenefeld, and overall it is going pretty good! For a start, we are all healthy and went through 2 weeks of self-isolation and none of us got COVID-19. That’s good news which also meant that from last week on we extended our bubble to include Oma. Finally Oma and the kids can spend time together playing, baking, etc. and we can have a few walks, chats and meals together.
The weather has been good, lots of sunshine but with temperatures still below 20 degrees. We are starting to adjust though and of course it will get warmer and warmer. Fortunately we got some warmer clothing for the kids through help from extended family – after all we were just travelling with our light summer clothing. Not just that, we also got a few toys for the kids and Jennifer and I also picked up some warmer jerseys etc. from family. So we are all set and wait for summer to arrive.
Spring is a cool time of the year though, lots of flowers about already and trees start to get into the action as well. We are using the time to pimp up Oma’s garden a bit. Raised beds are ready to go, the lawn needs quite a bit of attention, weeding of course and we started to plant a few trees and bushes. We like this kind of work anyway, have plenty of time and it keeps us busy. Could be worse really.
The first week of our self-isolation we spent tidying and cleaning up our flat. Lots of boxes moved out for Oma to review and then usually put into her attic. She is not a person willing to part with any of the stuff accumulated over the last 40 or so years. Let’s leave it at that. At least it is not in our flat anymore and we have some room to move around. After a week of tidying up, cleaning, re-arranging and hanging up the first pictures – I have to say, it is pretty cosy and we feel right at home. The rest of the family got a video tour and seems to agree. For some reason they all didn’t agree with the large Kudu in the bedroom though? Of course I also ordered a TV first thing which was delivered the next day (!). I think it is just right but everybody else seems to think it is too large for the room. So now we can enjoy a bit of TV and best of all, The Last Dance started to air. Probably the best show of the year if you haven’t started to watch it yet. Could be worse.
Well, that was our first week gone in a flash. And it is not like we worked all day, most if not all days we had a nice long walk around Schenefeld and especially the Muehlenteich is just a beautiful spot. Also had a quick drive to the Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee-Kanal) which is always a nice and interesting place for a wander. Overall the lockdown restrictions here a a bit less stringent compared to back home in NZ. We did the grocery shopping for us and Oma and also could go to the hardware store to get a few things for the garden.
It was nice to talk to some friends back home to see how things are going. As with all conversations, main topic is usually Corona but it was nice to hear that everyone is doing ok and that people are just adapting to new ways of home office work and enjoying the family time.
And just like that it was Easter weekend. Bit of a weird weekend not just for us I am sure. Easter Sunday was the first day we extended our bubble to include Oma, very much to the delight of all. Finally the kids and us could give Oma a cuddle. The kids had an Easter egg hunt of course and having been spoilt by everyone, now have enough chocolate to see them through for the rest of the year. My sisters joined our Easter breakfast via videoconference which worked surprisingly well.
Now, after three weeks of lockdown for us in Schenefeld, the restrictions are slowly lifted across Germany. Smaller shops can open again, as can car dealers and some other shops. Schools are gradually opening again but everything with distancing rules still in place. A few areas are introducing mandatory mask wearing in all public places and I think this will be the norm for the foreseeable future not just in Germany.
So that’s us really. We are safe and sound tucked away and our big trip is on hold. The two main reasons we took the year off was to spend time as a family – tick, still doing that. Even have extra time with Oma now, that’s a bonus.
We wanted to explore the world as a family – well best case that’s on hold, worst case it is over. But let’s not forget that we had an awesome three months in South America and at least a few great weeks in Africa. As I said before, at this time we wanted to head from Africa to Southern Europe and that’s not going to happen. Our Plan B is now to explore Germany as soon as it becomes possible again. Bought a couple of travel guides and after only a quick skim, I am sure we can easily spend a couple of months exploring.
And that’s the frustrating bit, the big unknown of how everything will play out going forward. Will we be able to explore Germany at least, and if so when can we start? Will Europe or parts of Europe open up and will travel be possible and safe? Will we be able to return to New Zealand as planned at the end of the year – will international air travel resume to get us there? Don’t even want to start with job and long term accommodation questions. And then there is the car question. We need a 7 seater to get us around Germany (well if we are allowed to at some stage) as Oma will join us for parts of it at least and it will allow us to do some day trips. Do we buy one, rent one or lease one? All depends on the question on how things will play out over the coming months, and I don’t think anyone can be sure of that yet. One big decision for us will come in a couple of months. At the moment we are tourists but if we will stay longer than three months in Germany – things change. Then we will have to register as being back in Germany, and that has a few significant flow-on effects. Mainly, the kids have to go back to school and our ability to travel will be very limited around school holidays. Anyway, trying not to think about it too much as it is out of our control. And I am sure there will be some leeway due to the Corona situation. Anyway, we are not the only ones facing uncertainty, so no complaining here, we will make the best out of the situation and overall are in a good spot whatever will happen down the line.
For now we enjoy our time with Oma and being back in my old stomping ground. Best of all, it is now asparagus time in Germany. If they find enough skilled workers (they flew in 80,000 Bulgarians despite Corona I think) to get them out of the ground, this is hard to beat. Reckon we will have asparagus at least 4 times a week until this is over again. Going well with asparagus is a good craft beer of course. And here is more good news, Germany seems to finally have woken up to the craft beer scene. I might have ordered a small Easter present for myself which might have contained a number of German hazy IPAs to taste. And I might have tasted a few of them by now, and would have to say that they are all excellent! So again, it could be worse.