What a year. No one saw that coming. Back in March, when I arrived in Germany because my employer in Beijing didn’t allow me coming back, I was still hopeful that it will be a week, maybe two, that I will have to stay in Germany. But things accelerated and countries started closing their borders. China was among the first. I was (and still am) trapped outside China, outside the country I initially chose to live in. All the things I planned doing and sights planned to visit in China fell flat. It took some time to adapt to new circumstances and I am not hiding that it was not easy. Many weeks were miserable as I was forced to live a life I did not choose and I wasn’t able to see my partner. But that was the case for many, many other people, too. However, no single situation was better or worse – everyone had their own individual hardships. The uncertainty of the situation was and still is probably the most hard to endure.
But now, at the end of that year, that was one of the longest and darkest so far, I look back and to my big surprise my personal conclusion is not all that bad in hindsight. First of all – partner and my family are healthy, my friends are and so am I. I got the unique opportunity to spend much time with the family ( I admit, I had to get used to that idea). I educated myself with new skills as I had to start teaching online. I took on the challenge of having to accept life as it is without being able to control too much of it (not too hard …actually, take it easy and loosen up a bit doesn’t hurt at all). And, oh yeah, nature is healing. So I hiked as much as …. kilometres this year, cycled …. kilometres and managed to get another …. kilometres running under my belt. I believe I never knew the area where I grew up better than I do now. Mostly because John and I were forced to stay put in the countryside for the time him being in Germany. We did a lot of quarantine walking and hiking and – believe it or not – but we „redlined“ the area which means we hiked and walked every single trail/path/street in the close vicinity.
After some time it felt good that life calmed down a bit. Not much having to take care of also means more time to read these books that piled up, knit that hat and scarf, bake those cookies, binge-watch all those cool series and tv shows or reminisce the last couple of years. Speaking of tv shows – am I the only one who finds it weird watching tv movies from before the pandemic and who twitches whenever seeing people on screen getting too close to each other?! Anyway, notwithstanding physical distancing, some connections grew stronger, but sadly, others didn’t. Overall, my trust and my fundamental optimism remain: after a long wait my partner and I were able to see each other again; being stuck in the Thuringian Forest turned out being a bliss, and overall without that pandemic I probably wouldn’t have gotten the chance for an awesome new chapter that awaits me in 2021.
So, what about 2020? A year for the garbage bin? A year to forget about? No, rather a challenge we all are forced to take on. A year that showed many weaknesses in societies and were the pandemic acted as a burning glass. There is work to do … life won’t be the same, but, actually, that’s no that bad over all.