I got myself tested again. Daughter fell ill on Friday (with a fever) and I felt my throat turning a bit sore. Therefore I booked an appointment. In contrast to the previous test, the process went smooth. On Saturday afternoon I logged into the site, got offered an appointment for 10:15 the following morning in my home town. When I arrived at the test location (De Rijtuigenloods, a former train warehouse turned into event space) there were about five cars waiting before me. It looked like a busy morning. Within ten minutes it was my turn. The swab in my nose was significantly less pleasant than the previous one. It took about an hour to get rid of the feeling that something invaded my nasal cavity. After returning home I spent the rest of the day doing nothing special. This morning at 7:23 I received an e-mail that the testresults were in. Negative. All cleared to step out the door.

Mentally it’s getting tougher to cope with the absence of change of scenery and little human interaction. The weather seems to have a significant effect on the mood of the day. When it’s grey and rainy, I feel sad inside. When the Sun is shining I feel cheerful. I haven’t experienced these mood swings for a long while and I don’t like it.

As the number of infected people is not really going down, rather going up again, I expect to celebrate the holidays just the three of us. Our annual trip to Switzerland to visit friends will not take place. I knew that in April, but it still sucks. We do intend to visit my parents at the very end of Daughter’s school vacation. As she has two weeks off, it offers an opportunity with limited people interaction on her side. That’s something to look forward to. Fingers crossed we all stay healthy so Daughter can play with Opa and Oma.

Now that Sinterklaas left the country we can perk up the home a little. The Man and I invented a word for that: Swedify. It was when we visited Umeå in the Fall many years ago that we noticed how the Swedes use candles and fire baskets in abundance to brighten up the extreme short days. Since that visit we use significantly more candles and decorative lights in our home, especially in December.

So yeah, overall I’m feeling a bit gloomy. Despite the hope vaccines offer for 2021, it doesn’t change the fact that today and tomorrow will look generally the same as will 25 December and 24 January and 6 March. Mass vaccination is expected to start in August, but I don’t mark that down in my calendar. So many things can change between now and then. I do have some hopes for the coming months: that Winter brings snow so I can build a snow (wo)man together with Daughter; perhaps a week or two of skating on the local canals; an early Spring so we can enjoy outdoor activities with friends and family.

This gap year is now nine months on its way. At least four months until 15 March 2021, a year after the day we were ordered to work from home. Our gap year doesn’t end on that date, but at least we’ll have Spring to look forward to by then. And perhaps a jab even. Until then, I’ll just focus on one day after another after another after ano….