This is a report from inside the second wave of pandemic. Amsterdam is in a high-risk region and my neighbourhood is the worst of the worst. I am fully enclosed by risks and still (again) at home. There is no end in sight and not light in the tunnel. This is it and there is no point in complaining.
I try to be strict with myself and try to control my own thinking: Focus on the positives. Be for the specifics, never against the unspecific or unidentified. Always accentuate the good, regardless how marginal.
We have made lists of lovely and inspiring things in our lives.
- Sewing and knitting and some embroidery: continuing to entertain us, and to occupy our time, thoughts and creativity. There is enough in the house for a several more months of projects.
- Gardening: The balcony is giving its last tomatoes and the last pod of the runner bean is hanging to dry. The great enjoyment is to see the bell peppers ripening from green to red. Also still growing herbs (parsley, basil, thyme, mint etc.) as well as mangold for eating. The Jerusalem artichokes will stay on the balcony over winter together with the trees (plum, oak, acacia, bougainvillea) and the sprouts until they are eaten.
- Food: Finding and correctly storing staple food, cooking from scratch, experimenting with flavouring of said staple foods, and developing techniques to develop said staples into new dishes is continuing. This months new dishes include home made pizza dough, pancakes from scratch, toffee candy and aubergine (eggplant; a despised vegetable that we finally figured out how to enjoy eating).
- New hobby is music: I have dug out my renaissance recorder (alto, F tuned). It will take time to get the finger reach to where it was and need to be. So I follow a beginner course on Youtube to rehearse old knowledge (and gain some new). I think my neighbours can endure it.
There has also been attempts at drawing, painting and printing; uncertain if any of those interests are going to stick around though.
- Language: Another new hobby is to work through one of the free on-line language training courses for all the languages I speak, or used to speak. It goes fast as it starts from beginners level, and it will be interesting how far I can get in the different ones before I get stuck and need to start studying.
- Sport: Sport is currently enjoyed more in theory than in practice due to health issues. That means watching football (international) wherever it is being played, cycling, fencing, and triathlon. I dream in the sofa to be just like them. Although a part of my cultural background, I just can not get into ice hockey.
I do go for a walk outside every day, often late in the evening, and always away from people. We are discovering immensely interesting things in my neighbourhood that I never have seen before, or noticed or understood what it was. Amsterdam is truly the most fascinating and most beautiful city in the world and I am very happy to live here (and that I have somewhere to live here). The city gives me a lot of joy.
- Family and friends is an area with difficulties. Family are mostly filled with neurotic idiots, and I am becoming more and more estranged from them. Friends instead, are receiving more attention. Neither me nor the man have high social needs, although we are both starting to crave people. I made myself a list of lovely people I know or have met in my life. I am making a point of reaching out to them one by one. This social outreach program is of course completely virtual and on-line based, which actually has its advantages.
- Money: This is not a hobby that is taking any time at the moment. Solid investments just keep on ticking away until there possibly could be an end to the misery in the outside world. Counting all assets, subtracting all debt (currently some taxes pending) and dividing the remainder with the amount I have identified as my annual budget. I live on a lower amount but this is the budgeted for the year. The sum gives me the number of years I can live on my assets before they run out. Currently the assets gives me 52,16 years. I do not intend to leave an inheritance and I hope (fingers crossed) that inflation and price increases are covered by dividends and interests. I now solidly count the assets to take me beyond my own life expectancy. It is time to make some decisions based on that fact.
- Work: I still work and although it is not a hobby, it does keep me connected with other people. That part is nice. It fills my agenda and I enjoy my free time more. But there are issues and concerns with the current work place. I am able to fill my agenda without them. There will be a day when I tell them that I will leave, it will be soon, and possibly also only based on the fact that I can.
They do not know that.
It is my secret that I do not need them.
It is my secret that I will leave.
But right now: I am fixed in, locked up, and not going anywhere.