March 2021 Joy Report

Heyyooo – we’re out of lockdown!

APRIL FOOOOOLSSS!

You might have but most likely did not notice that I skipped my February joy report. I mean, sure, stuff happened in February, but mostly it was a same-shit-different-day kinda month. Towards the end of February and the beginning of March, we stupidly got hopeful. The number of new cases was stable or declining, and they allowed up to five people in two households to gather. The rules even allowed non-essential shops to open for “click and collect,” so if you’ve ever wanted your own personalized shopping experience, then here’s your chance! Essentially, you have to make an appointment online to visit non-essential stores. Since a lot of these shops are smaller, you’ll have some one-on-one customer service!

But that didn’t last long. Over 70% of new cases in Germany are the British variant, which means that the case numbers are going up again. Hello, third wave! Once there are more than 100 cases per 100,000 people, it’s bye-bye click and collect a semblance of social interaction and hello evening curfew. Munich’s been hovering in the high 90s lately, so it’s only a matter of time. On top of it, the vaccine rollout here has been dismal. I think one headline last month said something like “Germany: Gloomy with a Chance of Hope,” but I think that was even being kind.

Anyway, I think it’s safe to say in the past month or so, #lockdownlife has caught up to me!

HOWEVER, we’re back on summer time (yay daylight!), spring is in the air, I’m getting back on the joy-wagon!

Vaccines bring me to my first joy.

A lot of our friends and family are vaccinated!

America has got-it-goin-on with this vaccine rollout! Honestly, for most of the pandemic, I’ve just shaken my head at the good ‘ole US of A’s response, but I am thrilled for how well it seems to be going. All of our parents and almost all other family members are vaccinated as well as several friends. I have so many emotions! First and foremost, I’m THRILLED that the people we love the most are protected and can start to venture back to normal life. I’m also incredibly jealous (’cause I want a vaccine!), and I’m excited because that means less quarantine time and more fun when we can finally come home!

We had social interaction!

As I mentioned earlier, two households are allowed to meet (up to 5 people). So, we took advantage of the spring weather and met up with our friend, Theresa, in the Olympic Park. I mean this with love (and I think he would agree), but it was nice to talk to someone in person other than Shane. I don’t count the grocery store cashier (mit karte bitte?) or the vet.

On top of the Olympic Hill.
The Frauenkirche with Alps in the background.

And speaking of the vet…

No more fish breath for Meatball!

Ha. Ok, so this is a weird one, I know, and actually, Meatball hasn’t really been a happy cat this month. Meatball’s breath was dis.gus.ting. TMI? Whatever. So we took her to the vet, who *highly* recommended that she have her teeth cleaned. BUT FIRST, kitty had to see a kitty cardiologist because they thought she had a heart murmur (she doesn’t, she’s just vet-certified dramatic), THEN poor little kitty cat had her teeth cleaned but left the vet’s office with two fewer teeth (go figure, rotting teeth = fish breath), and FINALLY, she managed to give herself double conjunctivitis from messing with her face afterward. Fun fact? Conjunctivitis in a cat can present as cold symptoms – so, miss watery-eyed sneezing Meatball has had a rough month.

Where’s the joy in this? Well, she doesn’t run us off the couch with her fish breath anymore, and we know she should pass her health check if we ever get to move to Ecuador. 😑

A post-anesthesia clean-toothed kitty with her cute little bandage.

And finally,

I’m a workin’ woman again!

As of March 1st, I’m a legal lady – I’ve even got my own tax ID and health insurance (and whew, that was a bureaucratic journey)! I’m doing freelance medical manuscript editing – research articles, case reports, things like that. Honestly, the pay is pretty crap (compared to what I was making before), but it pays enough to support our wanderlust. I can also work from home in Munich or anywhere in the world, for that matter. Assuming we can go to Ecuador, this is exactly what I had hoped for. If we don’t go, then, hopefully, this experience will help me transition into a more permanent medical writing or editing position.

With that, happy April, and send good thoughts for looser restrictions!

Tschüss,

Whitney

January 2021 Joy Report

January always feels like a long month. Do you agree?

Oddly, January 2021 has flown by! Perhaps it’s the monotony of lockdown life. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

A quick update on life here in Munich.

We’ve been in partial lockdown since the beginning of November and a total lockdown since December (i.e., only the essentials are open), but it does seem to be working. The numbers in Germany are decreasing – they are still high, but decreasing nonetheless. Back in December, Munich was considered a hotspot (200+ cases per 100,000 people), but as of yesterday, we were down to only 63 cases per 100,000. The most recent change is the FFP2 (N95) mask requirement. Now, shops and public transportation require an FFP2 mask, or you’ll be issued a fine. The hope is that FFP2 mask use will continue to drive down the numbers, which could allow non-essential shops to reopen. For now, we’re in lockdown until Feb 14, but with the new variants and a slower than hoped for vaccination pace, I expect it will go longer. The goal is to have the country down to 50 cases per 100,000 people before lockdowns are eased. So… we wait!

Oh, and Munich has a friendly reminder…

Munich lockdown alcohol restriction.
We still have a curfew and exit restrictions.

Anyway, on to January joys!

My Birthday!

Shane made cupcakes (with glitter!) and bought me a Soda Stream so I can drink “fluffy” water to my heart’s content!

Sparkling water is called sprudelwasser in German, which is really fun to say and has made its way into our day-to-day Deutsch-lish (ya know, a German/English mix).

“Can you sprudel me some water please!?” and “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts, sprudely doodely…”

…lockdown life. 🤷‍♀️

Whitney's 35th birthday.

New apartment stuff.

The apartment we rented is furnished, and we never intended to be in Munich this long. So, we never bothered to spend any money to personalize it. I mean, we brought some stuff with us from the Netherlands, but it was a hodgepodge of things, and we were hesitant to buy stuff just to put into storage later. However, the longer we’re here, the more we felt the need to make it feel a little more… adult. Like, perhaps we should have a matching set of sheets.

To add to it, we’ve not been able to go to the gym since November. We’ve been getting by, but it was getting boring.

So, we bought some new fancy LED lamps and some fake plants to brighten up the basement, some new sheets and pillows to minimize the ‘college dorm’ aesthetic, and a pull-up bar and some dumbbells to add to our studio home gym.

Game. Changers!

We should have done this sooner.

Living room upgrade.
New couch pillows, rug, lamp, and fake plants (old kitty).

SO. MUCH. SNOW!

I would say we’ve easily gotten two feet of snow this month.

Snow measurement (about 8 inches)

All this snow has its pluses and minuses. Plus, it’s gorgeous! Minus, we can’t go snowboarding (and it’s the “best winter in Germany in years” 😐). Plus, we’re the weirdos who like shoveling snow. Minus, Shane still has to bike to work.

We haven’t seen this much snow (outside of snowboarding trips) since we lived in Pittsburgh. The seasons in Groningen were pretty indistinguishable (cold wet winter, slightly warmer and dryer summer). It’s been really nice to have a “true” winter season!

Chillie dog!

Much to Meatball’s chagrin, we have won over our landlady’s dog, Chillie. It’s becoming a morning routine. Chillie is sent outside to pee but instead comes straight downstairs and barks at the door for some love. I can’t say I hate it.

Meatball though – she hates it. 😂 Chillie is small enough and so full of energy that Meatball isn’t quite sure what to do with her. One day, Chillie ran smack into Meatball and started licking her face (unfortunately, I was out for a walk when this happened). Shane said that Meatball sat in shock for a moment before it occurred to her “wait, I don’t like this!” and started hissing.

But how can she resist this face? I think the more Chillie comes to visit, the more Meatball will like her. Probably not, but we’ll let her come visit anyway.

Chillie belly rub.

That’s all I have to report for January. In all honesty, the lockdown hasn’t felt so bad, but I am getting really tired of walking the same neighborhood loops, and I am ITCHING for some travel. Anywhere. Just to see something new. But for now, we wait.

Fingers crossed for some relaxed restrictions in March! 🤞

Tschüss,

Whitney