A: Oh my god, this tuesday was so stressful! After waking up late at 5:27, I rushed to the gym and almost missed my 6:00 pilates class. After it was over i quickly took a shower, brushed my teeth and shaved. Getting to the office by 8:43, grabbed some coffee then headed into the 9:00 sync meeting where we reevaluated the pending transaction with the Taipeh plant, discussed the new format for the personnel records and talked about regional integration. I met with a client at 10:45 and then proceede to work through lunch stopping to eat a low-carb, trans fat free, Vitamin d-enriched salad at my desk at 3:15. I rescheduled the next meeting with my life coach, paid my bills through the end of the month and organized my cubicle. Leaving the office at 7:00, I had dinner by myself at 7:45 and read the paper before getting back to my home at 8:50. I went on the internet to complete the homework for my online MBA program before catching up on The News Hour. How was your tuesday?
B: Today’s tuesday? Cool. I woke up sometime in the afternoon, ate some doritos and played video games for about 5 hours, then pretty much froze in front of my laptop and watched all kinds of pussy cats on all kinds of tube-channels. Then I ordered pizza and watched Netflix until you interrupted me for this hypothetical discussion.
This fictional dialogue best describes how i have spent my last two weeks, according to german regulations, at home.
No, it wasn’t that blatant, on the contrary!
The text was just so funny. Fittingly, I found it on the inside of my sleeping eye mask, that I’ve been using since Bangkok. I don’t know, I got this idea i can sleep better with it, because it block out the night lights of the big city. But as i said, maybe it’s just an imagination.
Back to quarantine.
I have to say that my experience with the regulation, as implemented here in Germany, was simply ridiculous. You were given a slip of paper on the airplane, which indicated that a quarantine regulation applies in Germany and that one should report to the responsible health authority upon arrival. There were no employees of the health department at the airport, neither was there any further health check (…and that was so strange, cause your temperature was basically measured at every corner in Bangkok). The very fact that the plane was filled to the last seat makes the contradiction perfect…
So when I got home (…as always, the journey from the airport in Munich to my flat felt longer than the entire return flight itself…), I did some online research and filled out and sent a questionnaire with a few details about me to the responsible health department. The next day, I received a call from a lady from the department, who told me that I have been quarantined for 14 days and that i can’t leave my flat from now on. Then I received an E-Mail with the same content and that was it!
No more calls! No further checks of any kind! I mean, not that i would like to be controlled by anyone, but this procedure felt really like a joke. Somehow I didn’t feel like someone was taking the whole thing seriously…
But that fits well with my first impressions that I have noticed so far:
Generally it seems to me that the restrictions and measures here are handled much more laxly than in Thailand, even though there are only a fractional amount of cases compared to Germany. The obligation to wear a face mask is one of those things. In Thailand everyone wears them, whether on the street or in a shop or in a hotel. Here, I have seen people pulling the thing off their heads immediately, just one step out of the bus or out of the shop’s door. I understand it in a way, cause unlike asians we are not used to wear such kind of a face protection (I found it difficult at the beginning too and often forgot it…). But as it is well known, you get used to everything and you also know what it’s good for: to protect yourself and others! But apparently many people in this country have not yet understood that.
Another advantage of wearing the mask would be, that it hides the often gritty facial expression of some people (…like my one in the pic above, LOL). I really noticed that: how stressed people look in this country, how tense and strict their faces appear. I often thought that it was nonsense when foreign friends told me similar things, but this time i really had the same impression. And i didn’t even have too much opportunity to move outside… I hope i can survive it all without damage 🙂
In any case, I survived these 2 weeks of self-isolation very well, I would almost like to say, i enjoyed it. On one hand i had time to arrive and was not immediately occupied by appointments and people, on the other hand I had time to re-arrange my apartment. I don’t know, since i have been to some fancy condos and apartments of friends and acquaintances, especially in Bangkok, I felt inspired to “invest” in my own flat as well…
I had sublet my apartment while I was away and put some things down in the basement. And now I had enough time to set everything up again and clear it out straight away. And once again you find out how many things you have that you don’t actually need. In return, when traveling, you just realize how few things you really need. I know that these are not new insights and have certainly been written a thousand times before, but it is always astonishing how it surprises one anew.
Another thing i became aware of: after weeks and months of “homelessness” it is nice to sleep in one’s own four walls again.
Based on these findings, I have now decided to make my flat more minimalistic and – attention – tropical. Minimalistic in the sense that, as already mentioned: I muck things out and have less stuff around. More tropical by adding a few more (tropical) plants, because they always fascinated me during my trip.
And I have to admit, the beginning has already been made (…i hope that does not contradict the minimalist idea, LOL): I can now call a Monstera deliciosa and a fern my own. I hope i havn’t fall for any influencers line, because lately I have been shown a lot of plants, and especially monsteras, on Instagram…