Re-entering the World

by Martha Hicks

Though Covid19 restrictions have loosened somewhat, and we are now able to do things we have not be able to do for more than a year and a half, it still feels like a very strange world, and we know that we have a long way to go before we can say that this pandemic is behind us.

These are the things we did this week that we have not done for more than a year and a half:

  • Attend our sport rehab class with more than 4 people.
  • Clean every room in our apartment thoroughly so that our German neighbors taking care of plants and mail would be comfortable.
  • Travel more than an hour to a vacation destination.
  • Check into a hotel for three days.
  • Eat inside a restaurant three days in a row.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Watch a glass blowing demonstration.
  • Join good friends with young children for a day trip to a wild animal reserve.
  • Visit a castle tour with 15 people.
  • Walk around a town (Hamlin of Pied Piper fame) not our own.
  • Join friends for a drink and meal this evening in Bielefeld.

Every day was precious and wonderful and at the same time frustrating and difficult. We were exhausted when we arrived at our hotel. Though the trip had only taken an hour and a half, we needed a nap. I realized for the first time how my body was not used to walking most of the day and felt insecure and wondered if I had the strength to deal with a strange bed and the planned excursions. We had established a home pandemic routine of exercise and meals that we were pretty good at. The new travel routine made me feel like an inexperienced teen again. I felt weak and shy as I climbed the 20 steps up to our room.We were always losing or forgetting something (mostly our masks and keys). Had we lost our mental facilities as well? We needed a nap every day. Wearing masks was still required for all indoor activities, and it was hard to understand each other as well as tour guides and the hotel personnel with masks. Had our hearing also deteriorated in the the last year and a half?

My conclusions after this first exploratory venture into the new world are:

  • I am glad we did it.
  • It was wonderful to get out of Bielefeld for a couple of days.
  • Though I am a good cook, it was lovely to eat someone else’s good cooking for a few days.
  • Tours with masks are better than no tours, but disappointing compared to what I remember before Covid19.
  • I feel like I have learned a great deal about myself and the world during this pandemic but have grave reservations about the months ahead as the Covid19 statistics grow worse.
  • I feel blessed that our restrictions have been tolerable and that we have remained healthy, but also sad that two years of our lives seem to have been taken away.
  • We have each other, and that is more than many others, so we know we are lucky.
  • We have learned much from this experience and feel confident that whatever the future brings, we will make the best of it and continue to stay optimistic.
  • We wonder if Sicily will be open and ready for us and if we will be strong and healthy enough for Sicily in spring 2022. We have our fingers crossed.

Sending love and best wishes to everyone. Here is hoping that we all will be able to travel and explore and visit one another again in the not too distant future.