We knew it was coming, yet we let it happen, the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. Now, stricter rules apply inside and outside the Netherlands, to contain the virus. Will we be able to fight it back in time, so that we are able to spend Christmas with our families, or will the holidays be another item on the very long list of things that were ruined by the pandemic in 2020?
I have not hugged my mother in over eight months. I visited my family in Germany a few times during the summer when the infection rate was lower (using my car, not public transport). But when I was there, we still kept our distance and wore face masks inside the house. It was nice to see my family and yet strange to be scared of close contact. My 87-year-old grandmother lives with my parents, and none of us wanted to risk infecting her with the virus. It was quite heartbreaking to visit, though. My granny has dementia and could not understand why I would not hug her or the rest of my family.
My granny has dementia and could not understand why I would not hug her or the rest of my family.
Now I’m stuck in Wageningen again, as I am not allowed to cross the German border unless I bring a negative Corona test with me. But even with a negative test, I know I should not go, as travelling and personal contacts are among the most significant factors in spreading the virus. I know that, everybody knows that. So, it saddens me to see the new rise in numbers, which could have been prevented if more people would have followed the rules.
As a German, it may be in my nature to stricktly adhere to rules. And it appears to be very personal what we are willing and able to do to contain the coronavirus. Some of us could not find it in ourselves, to abstain from parties, others had to fly to a different country for their vacation. I have renounced these things this year but would make an exception to spend Christmas with my family. We’ve all had a tough year so far, and many challenges still lie ahead. It may be good for morale, to have something to look forward to. For me, that is Christmas dinner with my family.
Katrin Heidemeyer came to Wageningen in 2014 to do her Masters, and started her PhD at the Laboratory of Biochemistry thee years ago. She hails from Germany.