The pandemic is not over, yet. However, Austria is back to work, slowly, between resilience, anger, and worry. Three months ago, we were recommended to stay home, going out only for essential needs, whereas most of the commercial and cultural activities were closed. My employer was kind enough to allow working from home. For 7 weeks, I watched the world from either my windows or the screen of my laptop. Was it a completely negative experience? Did I learn something? Here it is, the list of the 5 things I liked of this time and the 5 I hated. As reminder, in case we have to experience another lockdown, soon or later.
|"Staying home", when you can take the house with you.|
The top 5 things I liked:
1. Working from home. It is called "home office" in Austria, "teletravail" in the French-speaking part of Belgium. I wouldn't do it every day, but I'd like the opportunity to work from home some days of the month, when I have to write a proposal or a paper and I really need a quiet environment. I missed my colleagues, the lab tools, and the creative interaction of the office, but sometimes, I need to work in a "monastery".
2. Dress code. I'm Italian, I cannot dress bad. This causes me a lot of stress. Every morning, I have to decide what to wear. I dream of uniforms, because I'd have no choice. Staying home, I didn't have to change outfit every day. I was dressing like I was going out (i.e., not wearing the pajama during the day), but without paying too much attention to colors, fabric, etc.
3. Cooking. Time for experimenting, eating healthy, without having to improvise at the last minute. I didn't bake bread or cookies, like many others, but I dedicated more time to prepare healthy and tasty recipes, although with a few ingredients.
4. Regularly playing music. Generally, I am too tired, when I come home, or it is too late to play organ, mandolin, recorder, or singing. In this time at home, I spared the commuting time, using it to practice.
5. Virtual conferences. All the international conferences in cool places I planned to attend were postponed or transformed into virtual events. Even though a virtual conference is not s effective and enjoyable as a real one, I liked the opportunity to attend for affordable prices high-quality international meeting, without having to stay in a hotel or flying 12 hours (although I miss travelling a lot, mostly by train). In this category, I'd include the virtual masses, too. I still prefer going to the church, but in this period, I could attend masses celebrated by good priests that I could have not heard otherwise.
|He hates staying home, but luckily, my parents have a garden.|
The top 5 things I hated.
1. Making the dishes. This is something I hate in normal time. Eating at home and cooking elaborate recipes imply getting so many plates and tools dirty. I have a dishwasher, but I use it twice a year. It takes too long and is not worth for a person alone.
2. The dust. Vacuum cleaning is OK, but how is it possible that every day so much dust piles up in my flat? When I go to work, I do the cleaning on the weekend. During the week, I've never noticed dust so much as staying at home. I was cleaning every day.
3. Neighbors. Especially those with kids. When I tried to focus on something or when I wanted to enjoy the sun from the window, they were loudly playing. When I wanted to play music or talking with friends by phone, they started knocking on the wall or on the door, probably because the child just fell asleep. Not mentioning those neighbors watering their plants on the roof terrace at 5:30 am, causing a waterfall on my window.
4. Eating alone. Even though I like the monastery life, I like to share the time at the table. A temporary solution was introducing the virtual lunch with my parents, also to overcome the impossibility to travel to Italy.
5. Friends moaning about everything. It was difficult for everybody, I understand that having also the kids at home makes life much more difficult, but you wanted to have children, you always complain that you haven't enough time to spend with them, why are you complaining also now? Not mentioning the friends moaning for having to stay home and verbally attacking those, who went out (even where it was permitted, like in Vienna). Then those complaining about the weather ("it rains and I cannot go out", "it is sunny and I cannot go out"). I mean, we were all in the same situation, let's share feelings rather than complaints.
What did I learn? The next time, is it ever happens again, I will start earlier with the virtual social events. I realized that I became somehow misanthropic, but I always disliked hugging people. However, I might try to communicate with my neighbors, trying to find an agreement rather than hating each other. Finally, I should seriously consider the idea of adopting two cats.