Life in Germany in the Time of Corona

Day 2 of my self-imposed isolation has begun. It is not a complete isolation yet as I plan on making one last trip to the pharmacy to pick up medication, which wasn’t available yesterday.

It is eerily quiet in our neighborhood. Once in a while I get up from my desk to step on the balcony to make sure the birds are still singing. Very few cars come through our residential area.

Day 3 is almost over.

  • Just heard on the news that the town of Mitterteich in Bavaria is the first city in Germany to have gone on complete lockdown. The city is in the district Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate).
  • I enjoyed my last Korean lunch – sitting in a restaurant. As of today, some restrict their business to take-out only.
  • Every morning, I watch the Robert Koch-Institute (Germany’s public health institute) update at 10:00. For your information: https://www.rki.de/EN/Home/homepage_node.html
  • Many shops have closed or are in the process of closing. Playgrounds and parks are no longer accessible.
  • I’ve heard that our local supermarket is still out of toilet paper. 🙂

Last, but not least, there is a little German lesson.

die Ausgangssperre (curfew)

Other terms in English, depending on their restrictions, include: shelter at home, quarantine, lockdown;

Life in Germany in the Time of Corona

My professional life has come to complete stop as of Monday, 16 March 2020. I have cancelled all work-related appointments, and will keep socializing at a minimum. I’m not the worrying kind, just more cautious than usual.

With this I want to share my personal observations of life in Germany in the time of Corona .

  • Walking to the supermarket on Monday morning to pick up a few items, I noticed everyone else seemed to be walking faster as well.
  • I held a door open for an elderly gentleman, he then took over with his elbow. With caution.
  • The customer in front of me asked the cashier whether there are any news of supermarkets closing any time soon. She sighed and mumbled something. I’d suppose she’s heard this question, or just small talk, quite a few times.
  • I had to meet a friend on a prearranged errand. And yes, it was different to meet without the initial hug as well as keeping distance while talking.
  • I find it hard to wash my hands for thirty seconds. For so many years, I would remind my kids to turn off the water while brushing their teeth, or between shampooing and rinsing in the shower. The recommendation is to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice for a suitable hand washing. I barely make it through the first round.
  • My husband and I made a final run to the doctor’s office to get our prescriptions. On the way there, he stopped at a wine shop to get me a 10L container of wine, drinkable with a hose. What pleasant surprise! I had to turn almost 60 years of age to have a drink as a 17-year-old might do.
  • I’m guilty as charged. Yesterday evening, I went out for dinner one final time with a friend before all the restaurants close or restrict their hours. Whatever comes next. Including our table, only three were occupied. I overheard the proprietor and staff sharing the latest news, which seemed to change every 30 minutes. They discussed why garden centers could remain open, as well as hairdressers and nail studios. Not one of them could come up with a plausible answer to this rhetorical question.

It is a strange time we live in right now: surreal, on edge, and yet cathartic somehow.

The birds keep on singing and the flowers still bloom.

Germany’s Very First Garage Stands in Oberursel

And of course, it was built for a Volkswagen, so this makes it a Volksgarage. If you want to know more about the history of this garage, visit Graham’s website AllThingsGerman.

The location of this garage is at the end of the street Camp-King-Allee in Oberursel. It has been there since around 1938, and is a listed building.

New Year’s Day 2020 in Germany: What a Waste!

Millions of Euros are wasted every New Year’s Eve (the previous year, 2018, Germans spent €133 million on fireworks).

Ever so efficient, all public spaces have the waste removed before the following work day, 2 January.

These photos were taken at the EDEKA supermarket parking lot on the former military post Camp King in Oberursel.

“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.”

― Jacques-Ives Cousteau

New Year’s Eve in Germany

Last year, the firework industry took in euro 133 million in sales in Germany alone. Personally, I could do without this air – and noise pollution. On the other hand, I understand that some people (mostly men, I’d suppose) see this as a bit of Wild West fun.

Revenues from firework sales reached their peak in both 2016 and 2017 with € 137 million in sales. In 2018, the New Year’s celebrations brought in € 133 million, as did 2019. Let’s hope for a continuous drop in sales.

Fireworks on New Year’s Eve

“Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at.” , said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

I’ll be laughing a lot on New Year’s Eve, when I watch Dinner For One. I’m the only one in our family from a 100% German gene pool, and have been told only a German could find this show funny. True. Nobody else in my family laughs with me. One of them might laugh about me, while I’m doubling over in laughter. 🙂

Back to the fireworks – in spite of them being produced mostly in China, I still want to wish your people 祝 你 们!

fireworks – das Feuerwerk (German)

New Year’s Eve – Silvester (German)

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