So one more pandemic year has past. Never could I have imagined three years ago that we would still be in a pandemic with alcogel everywhere and people’s faces behind masks. I sometimes feel like society has changed for good and I am wondering if there ever will come a time when there is not plastic curtains hanging in receptions and taxis, if there ever will be a restaurant where the tables are not separated by plastic screens, or if the body temperature appliances found here and there will ever be considered obsolete.
Maybe it was a good timing to have a baby in the beginning of the pandemic (apart from me not being able to be at the hospital with my wife that is) – since my world changed completely anyway, the fact that the outside world also changed became somewhat part of the same big transformation of existence. Of course I would have preferred to be able to share the first years of my baby’s life in a world free from masks, but the fact that I had a pregnant wife and later a newborn son meant that the drastic change that society went through had perhaps a little less impact on me than they would have had otherwise.
What is there to say about this the third year of the pandemic? First of all, I am so happy to live close to nature, close to mountain and beaches. There is fresh air to breathe here. And last year we finally managed to navigate through all the travel restrictions and bring our son to Sweden to visit his grandparents. Finally I am now vaccinated four times (a few times too many for my comfort, but not taking the shots would have been even more uncomfortable I fear). In Japan they have started travel-subsidy-programs, and when we went to stay at a ryokan in Saga for my birthday in December, we got a forty percent discount since my wife and I were vaccinated at least three times. To top it off we got vouchers to use for shopping, so tanks to the vaccine I got some beautiful Hasami pottery for birthday present.
That we had the courage to not only go to Sweden, but also to Tokyo and to a mini-holiday at a ryokan, makes a huge difference from the previous two years. So even if I did all those things having my heart in my mouth, it was a small but significant step towards a more normal life. I so do hope this third post will be my final one in this pandemic year review series and that next year we can celebrate a world without the need for masks (theirs is chatter that change is coming this spring). The first two installments can be found below.
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