It’s the final day of my spring break, and now it feels like it went by as quickly as it always does. We’re still on lockdown. It’s been extended to May 3, our travel ban (from work) has been extended to June 30, with the statement that it could change for better or worse. Some restrictions are lifting: more stores are allowed to open, provided distancing measures are taken, and work is discussing post-lockdown strategies, but, of course, none of us knows how long any of this will last. What we do know is it’s not ending tomorrow.
Belgium’s daily hospital admittance numbers are going down (whew!), but people are still dying. As of noon today, our numbers are: 38,496 confirmed cases, 5,683 dead. That’s a lot more than where we were just a month ago, but for the past few days more Coronavirus patients have left the hospital (healed) than have entered, so that’s a very good sign — one we all want to see continue.
I post those numbers for posterity’s sake — one day I’ll look back at this and either go whew! we did okay (relatively speaking; I’m sure those left mourning disagree), or shit that was just phase one. Only time will tell. It’s a waste for me to bitch about what frustrates me most about where things are today, but I do want to say to those people at home who are protesting stay-at-home measures or flocking to beaches — stay the eff away from my loved ones. I totally get your frustrations, and I type this knowing I’m lucky that financially I have not yet been bit by this bug (except for my retirement savings plans), but for God’s sake rallying in a crowd isn’t going to help anyone. Oh I so badly want to vent about the politics of our pandemic, but that is where we are at this phase in our evolution and you guys don’t need me adding any more frustrated venting to it all. May we all (idiots included) get through this.
Okay enough on what I cannot control. Let’s get back to Spring and pretty things. This is my happy place, so poof away to the uglies.
I’ve been a productive little beaver and a total couch potato at the same time. In the past two weeks, I’ve polished off two three credit literature courses. I’ve read Mark Twain’s Huck Finn, Theodore Sizer’s Horace’s Compromise (an education reform book), Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and Jenette Winterson’s Written on the Body, completed a massive amount of reading comprehension questions, written a few essays and completed a week’s worth of lessons for a book I will not teach this year (maybe next year). I am done with being a student, and my students will be spared essays for the next week or two — but poor babies will get work. Well, I’m not completely done because I’ve also joined an online class for teachers going online (see the different layers this corona world is taking us!).
I thought Easter would be a bit of a bummer, but it turned out to be a nice day. We baked a ham, roasted garlic potatoes, made cornbread and ate in the balcony room. Afterwards we watched Andrea Bocelli’s Easter concert on Youtube, and to keep things classy we watched the Tiger King extra episode — no way near as touching as Bocelli’s music to the backdrop of empty cities around the world, but I’m glad to see the characters I liked seemed to all be doing well, but ahem so were the losers (well except for Mr. Fancy Pants whose still in jail). To top it all off we got to video conference with all three of my kids, and I got to see Torin tearing up his parents living room. I am so bummed I won’t get to chase that little monster around the pool this summer, but we’ll play again soon.
We’re also still doing things with friends, but differently. One friend loves to bake and then bring us treats, another loves to barbecue and bring us brisket, others are cooking a Thai feast next weekend, so we walk our little portion of the hood, hang out our windows to yell small talk, and bring each other treats. It’s our own version of Halloween and Hollywood Squares.
A perk to the pandemic is that we’re discovering Mons more. Thanks to friends of ours we’ve found our way to pastoral hills and country walks. A 15-minute walk takes you to a whole other side of the non-city portion, and it’s loaded with trails and trees. It’s been amazing walking and enjoying these trails. We’ve also walked around the nearby lake and canals, which I’ll include in my next blog post. But, for now, I’ll leave with you some pics of the beauty that surrounds the city. Dinner is almost done, so time for me to go and feast. Oh, Badger also had some words to share on his blog. If you’re bored go to BadgerDoesBelgium.