“Have you settled in in Frankfurt yet? It must be really difficult after so long.” Very often friends have asked me these and other questions over the past few days. Here are the answers to the most important questions – and a small list of what’s really nice about being back in Germany.
Have you settled in in Frankfurt yet? It must be really difficult after so long.
Well, the question is what is meant by “settled in”. I‘m sleeping in a bed that is not mine and the bed is in an apartment that is not mine. So nothing has changed compared to the past nine months. I only notice that the apartment is actually in Frankfurt when I look out of the window at the television tower. If the definition of “settling in” equates to “feeling good in my surroundings”, then yes, I’ve settled in. My friend’s apartment is pretty, has a balcony, the bed is really comfortable, and I have my little presents from India set up, and there is enough space for my yoga mat.
If “settling in” means “coming home”, then no, I haven’t settled in. I haven’t seen or hugged any of my friends personally, nor sat in the park or on the river Main, haven’t walked the streets of Bornheim or made a detour to my favorite restaurant, my second living room, the Moroccan placevin Bornheim Mitte. I haven‘t yet sat on my sofa or my window sill in the afternoon sun, haven‘t yet greeted the owner of the small laundry place around the corner, and haven‘t yet seen the elderly gentleman who always walks his dog in our street. I think as long as I don’t have these little everyday things, it doesn’t feel like a home to settle into.
But there are a few things that I particularly enjoy after the long travel time:
- Go shopping with a huge selection (despite partly empty corona shelves
- Fresh German bread and rolls from the bakery
- Prepare breakfast for myself and eat in peace – without hostel noise
- Breakfast in bed
- Wash clothes in the washing machine after six weeks of hand washing in a bucket
- Just be able to drink water from the tap
- Hot shower water, which doesn‘t have to warm up for ten minutes before becoming cold again after one minute
- A soft mattress, a large pillow and a cozy duvet
- Nocturnal rest without snore, late home comers and early risers
- A place to neatly hang up clothes (no longer living out of my backpack, yay!)
- Spontaneous phone calls with friends without having to calculate time zones.
- Dry hair with a hair dryer.
This must be a drastic change – from freedom to isolation.
Yes, that’s it. But I could swear and kick and scream and get angry and upset about it and feel locked up and sad because I had planned so many beautiful things that are no longer possible for the moment: It is as it is. I can’t change the situation, just accept it and use my time well; I put my energy into the first projects that came across my mind while on the go, sorting ideas. Everything has it’s time. And now it just seems to be the time when I go inside, concentrate on all the new things that I have gained and use them for new projects. But you can be sure: As soon as possible, I will travel back to India and Nepal. Exactly when the signal comes that now is the right time.
I think I’m missing a few weeks of panicky reporting. Up until Thursday of last week I had a normal life with yoga, visiting restaurants, shopping and warm hugs in my yoga group – my “core family” (also a new word) at the time. Do not touch your face, wash your hands more often, sneeze or cough in the crook of your arm, keep your distance. And if you like, wear a self-made mask so that you don’t blow your own viruses and bacteria out into the world. Then there is a high probability that you will not be infected. I don’t like to play down the virus. But honestly: a little more moderation and less hysteria would be appropriate. Great caution is certainly required. This is undisputed in view of the dramatic videos from Spain and Italy. But not to leave the house at all or not to go shopping because you are afraid of infection? I think that’s a little exaggerated. I read that after the outbreak in China in January, many people no longer went to Chinese restaurants in Germany. Phew! I have no words for that.
One or the other then asks why I stay at home for two weeks after my return. Quite simply: I don’t know whether I got infected at the airport or on a plane, where hundreds of people were sitting in a confined space and there was no question about a safe distance. And suppose I got infected, but I‘m asymptomatic, handle the shopping cart that is next used by a person from the risk group who don’t wash their hands before they touch their face? Of course, that doesn’t mean that after the two weeks I can’t get infected anywhere. But given the strict rules on distance and exiting homes, I currently rate the risk of infection as lower, however it’s not impossible.
So, I think that was a enough about Corona, returning and all that. From the weekend there will be travel stories from Thailand again. Now that nobody can travel “in real” anymore, I take you on a virtual trip. This also helps me to process experiences. And everyone has a lot of time to read. So: stay healthy and get some fresh air. Alone, of course.
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