Day 62: Opening up

Today is Saturday. Finally after 9 weeks, I note a subtle difference between weekdays and weekends. We just end up shaking up the routine a bit and it feels more relaxed. For example today we (and by we I mean them) had a dance party to kid’s reggae music, then tried on all mommy’s bathing suits.

The girls got in a big fight because Big Sister wanted to dress Little Bean. Little Bean put up with being undressed but then got fed up and chose to just run around in her skivvies. She seemed to accidentally figure out how to do a somersault and then asked Big Sis to get out of the way because she needed room to practice.

We took our first ever family trip to the shoe store this afternoon. In most stores, shopping as a family is forbidden but at the shoe store it was permitted, with masks and distance, of course. Thank goodness. Shopping for shoes with both maniacs is difficult enough in normal times. Having two of us there at least made it go faster.

Some of the differences between my girls reveal themselves while shoe shopping–The one wants to try on 15 pair and tries to get me to buy a few. The other one refuses all but one pair and after the one refuses everything else. Her refusals are epic–crying, tears, frustration–it’s as if she is devastated by my terrible taste. How could I offer her all these awful shoes?

We watched the first live soccer game (on television) that has been played since the quarantine began. In German it’s called Geisterspiel (Ghost game) –because the arena is completely empty of fans. At first it was weird but once the game began it was interesting because you could hear everything the players and coaches said on the field. Our favorite team wasn’t playing today but we watched a little anyway in solidarity with all the others.

The current situation in Germany with the Corona Virus is this in a nutshell:

Active cases today: 15, 310

New cases today: 222

Total that tested positive: 175,921

Total that have recovered: 152,600

Deaths today: 2

Total deaths: 8,003

The first small steps to open up happened 10 days ago. There have been some, but not a huge amount of new cases. This was expected. The quarantine was not meant to end the virus it was meant to slow the spread–to allow the hospitals more time and space to respond and be able to treat people. I think sometimes we think of this virus as bad weather. But in this case we cannot stay inside until the bad weather passes. The good news is that the total continues to drop every day. (check detailed numbers here.)

I’m satisfied with the way it’s being handled here in that every step to open up has been very slight with much precaution.

  • People must wear masks in public closed spaces (that means any shop).
  • There is a hefty fine if a person is caught without a mask.
  • As I mentioned– at grocery stores, only one person can shop.
  • Each person must use a cart so that the stores can monitor how many people are actually in the store at one time.
  • Beer Kellers and Beer Gardens will begin opening on Monday but each person must wear a mask, tables must be arranged far from each other and every party must register with a phone number so that in the event of an outbreak everyone who was present can be notified.
  • Schools have begun to open but students attend in scheduled cycles. Four days at school for a specific group and then 10 or so days at home. Slowly the grades have begun to cycle through in this way.
  • Kindergarten is still closed altogether because little children obviously cannot manage social distancing effectively.

We shall see how things progress. I am sending good thoughts to restaurants and small businesses as they design creative ways to navigate through this challenging re-opening.

The one thing I’m thrilled to report is that I think people themselves are getting friendlier, opening up a little bit. I see a lot of smiling eyes now behind the masks. People are a bit more chatty. I benefitted just today from the kindness of a stranger who lent me a coin so that I could get a cart at the plant store. I know it’s possible that people are actually just friendlier at the plant store because plants make people happy but I’m choosing to believe that this shift is encouraging people to reach out of their emotional comfort zones a little more because physically they can’t reach out at all.

I’d love to hear how it’s going in your neck of the woods.

Until tomorrow,