Groningen Round-Up 4 (Quarantine Edition)

It’s been about six weeks since I last posted about our trip to Munich for Shane’s interview, and, despite being in ‘intelligent lockdown’, quite a bit has changed since then!

First up… can you spot the difference?!

If you guessed bikes vs flowers well, you’re wrong. 🤷‍♀️

But you were close though – so good try! The temporary tourist center building has been taken down! The tourist center moved into The Forum, which is a massive and beautiful new building that’s home to not only the tourist center, but the library, study rooms, a kids center, a movie theater, and multiple places to have a drink and a snack. We are lucky to have checked it out back in December because it’s been closed since mid-March and won’t reopen until at least June.

View from the top of The Forum.

And no, you didn’t read that wrong – ‘intelligent lockdown’ is the official term for our status here in Holland.

What does that mean exactly? Well, pretty much the same as most other places. Bars, gyms, massage parlors and sex shops (lol) have been closed since mid-March. Restaurants are closed except for take-out. Weed shops were initially closed but were deemed essential (😉) and re-opened for take-away after 24 hours. Masks (at this point) are optional.

Stored-away chairs and tables in city center.

Essential stores are still open – including the market! *insert singing angels*

Like most things right now, people have a lot of opinions about what should and should not be open. The market was not excluded from this but, it’s open-air, bigger than a grocery store, and providing an essential service so it stayed. To keep people separated, they have expanded the width of the market to include the street, and stands must have a way to keep people 1.5m apart from one another. They have also implemented ‘market police’ so to speak, who walk around ensuring people follow the social distancing rules.

The ‘market police’ in yellow, and barriers to keep cars/bikes out and limit the flow of pedestrian traffic.
Our veggie stand with designated spots. Not pictured is the tape on the ground so you know how far back to wait in line.

Other than the gym, life hadn’t changed much for us up until Friday. My job wasn’t very WFH friendly, so 4 days a week I was hopping the bus to head to work (and properly disinfecting when I got there).

Ok – so maybe Shane felt the effects of the closed climbing gym more than I…

Why up until Friday?

Because I’m officially UNEMPLOYED BABBBYYY!!

I know. It seems like a really odd thing to be celebrating right now given that millions of people in America are unemployed and not by choice.

For us, my last day at work means that we are one step closer to our next chapter in life – Munich!

Quick update here. Long story short, we’ve been delayed for one month – our original plan was to move at the end of April. We should technically be there as I write this. Shane should start work on Monday but, the consulate is closed, so he’s unable to get a temporary visa which would allow him to start working. We can enter Germany with just our passports for up to 90 days, but this doesn’t give you the right to work. The new plan is to apply for a work visa with the German consulate if it opens after May 20th, when the Netherlands re-assesses the lockdown, or we will head to Germany at the end of the month (on our passports) so we can register with the city of Munich and apply for residency. This option also gives you the right to work. Option 2 may delay his start date one more month, but in a corona-world you do what you can!

As for the move to Ecuador, that is postponed. For how long is still uncertain, but currently Ecuador’s borders are closed so until they re-open we will be hanging out in Munich.

And until Munich, we will be enjoying our last month living in the Netherlands! It’s certainly not an ideal way to leave the country – we had hoped to make it to a few more museums, or take some weekend trips, but I guess that’s our fault for waiting 6 years to do those things.

In the meantime, we’ve been up to… well, probably what everyone else has been. Baking, Nintendo, people-watching from our windows, and walks. A lot of walks.

I’ll never not be excited by police on horses.
Bikes don’t interrupt sidewalk construction in this country!

Oh! And I almost forgot – we celebrated our last King’s Day on April 27th. Indoors. On a G-O-R-G-O-U-S day. Probably the best weather on King’s Day we’ve had. Well played, Netherlands. ✌️

To anyone reading this, stay healthy, stay sane, and remember…

It will get better again. 🧡

Tot ziens,

Whitney

Posted by

Shane + Whitney = The Shwits. Cheesy? Yes. Is our cat ashamed of us? Probably. We're an American couple that has lived abroad for 6+ years. The Shwits is our diary of expat life, travel, and occasionally science. Enjoy!

One thought on “Groningen Round-Up 4 (Quarantine Edition)

  1. All so exciting! Congrats on the unemployment-by-choice! Hah! Hope you’re able to enjoy your last month thoroughly!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s