Hello, my dear friends of the BIWC. I am happy to tell you about my lockdown experience. I am stuck in Dubai and lockdown regulations are very strict over here. It all started about six or seven weeks ago, at first with a two-week nightly lockdown from 8 pm to 6 am. That was not very difficult for me. However, the next two weeks were really difficult – 24-hour lockdown. People were only allowed to leave their house for supermarket, pharmacy and ATM visits and only after registering online for a permit. Masks and gloves were mandatory. Dog walking was allowed, for a maximum of 10 minutes in front of your house!

Then came Ramadan, lockdown was partly lifted, no online permits necessary during the day, but people over 60 and children under 12 are not allowed to enter any stores, not even supermarkets! So, how do I get my groceries? Friends are helping.

But you really want to know how I am coping! Having my dog helps. Having contact with my friends in Germany, other parts of Europe and in the US helps. Having a wonderful Pilates trainer helps. During the complete lockdown we did sessions on Zoom. Right now, she comes to my place. She has taught me the right way to do stair-walking, i.e. avoiding knee damage. So, stair-walking is my new cardio and endurance exercise. And what else? Reading a lot, thank God for e-books! And doing Spanish on Duolingo. By the way, a message to my friends from the erstwhile Spanish group: do get in touch, I have some ideas on how we could continue on Zoom and what we could do now that Laura is gone. And what else? Not much because with so much time on my hands I find myself strangely unmotivated. I do make schedules but find it difficult to follow them. I know I could do closet and drawer cleaning these days, I know that some people are doing a drawer or a closet a day, I haven’t gotten around to that yet. Maybe I should put those tasks into my very empty diary?

What strange times we live in. I used to be so future-oriented, so full of plans. My diary was so full and it still has some exciting dates in it. Such as a flight from Dubai to Berlin on 29 April – cancelled – a walk around Grunewald See with my sheltie group – cancelled – a book group meeting at Thora’s in early May – cancelled – a flight to the US on 24 June – cancelled – a seven-week Spanish course starting on 26 June at Middlebury College – cancelled. But now my diary is at least filling up with great online events.

So, what else during lockdown? I have started paying attention to language, there is a whole new vocabulary out there and new usage. Think of all the verbs and gerunds used with curve: flatten, decline, spike, plateau. And have you noticed how conspiracy-minded German speakers never fail to add the adjective namhaft whenever they quote virologists and scientists holding forth about the danger of masks, lockdowns, vaccinations, etc.?

Stay safe and let’s hope that things are getting better soon!

(Dubai dawn skyline image courtesy of Jan Michael Pfeiffer, derivative work: JamesA)