It’s now been 18 months since COVID appeared in The Netherlands leading to the first lockdown here in March 2020. Even people like me who were never infected have seen changes to their lives. So here’s a summary of some of the more noticeable impacts of the pandemic on my day-to-day …
Working from home and an increase in the time at home
In the period immediately before the pandemic, I was between jobs. My old employer had closed the office here making me happily redundant. After a year of holiday and relaxation I had a new office- based position lined up. Well that job never materialised. For months we were encouraged to stay home and avoid external or large groups as much as possible. At first there was no real impact to me leaving the house as I was helping out at GreenSwapp.
This changed when I got my new job and now I work for the app- based relocation startup PerchPeek as the only Amsterdam-based employee. I could go to an office but generally choose not to. Working from home is easy – I get up about 30 mins before starting work and don’t have to dress for the public. Plus I have the company of cats – what more could I want?
Attack of the introvert
Restrictions have now lifted but this really tapped into my inner introvert. It frequently feels a huge and unnecessary effort to actually leave the house to either meet up with existing friends or make new ones. I know it will be fun when I do go, but I can’t always be bothered getting nicely dressed and making the effort. Plus it feels great if when I do get somewhere, it turns out to be pretty empty
Feeling out of shape and no more Onefit
Most of my pre-COVID days involved a visit to the climbing gym often plus an exercise or yoga class. I went for cycle rides, for walks and to gigs. Until early 2020 my Onefit membership offered great value for money allowing unlimited workouts, and even when they reduced it to 16 visits per month that was still not too bad.
Right up until the second lockdown in December 2020 I still felt fairly physically fit. After that everything changed. During the second lockdown my work was desk-bound which combined with cold weather and feeling more introverted meant I lost my fitness and gained around 5kg of weight. When everything reopened it seemed a challenge to get back into condition. Just climbing didn’t work so my plan was a couple of months of intensive Onefit. But even that is scuppered. As of October Onefit now costs a EUR 65 for only 10 workouts. Surely this is less exercise than recommended even for basic healthandfitness. And you can still only make 4 visits to the same place within a 1 month period. At this price it’s not worth me paying the extra fee on top of my climbing. OneFit has priced themselves out of my affordable price range.
In the year immediately preceding March 2020, I visited Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Siem Reap, Bali, the UK (3 times), France, Germany (twice), Belgium, Spain and Greece. Between February 2020 and September 2021, the furthest I went was Hilversum and The Hague. It will be interesting to see how travel has changed in the post COVID restriction world.
This one was not a side effect I expected but a lot of travel definitely led to spoilt cats!
At the start of 2020 Little H was still fairly wary of humans and prone to overgrooming. By the end of the year he was much friendlier and no longer stressing out. Ziggy in the meantime became even more of a lap demanding cat. Me staying home also changed their feeding habits since food left out attracts flies. Previously they ate larger portions less often but now my kitties expect smaller fresher meals throughout the whole day!
Sadly and unrelated to the epidemic Little H escaped from the enclosed garden earlier this year and was involved in an accident with fatal consequences. Ziggy now has a new companion, a much younger tabby by the name of Toby.
Unmassaged, no make up and brown and one colour hair
For the last few years I’ve enjoyed the luxury of regular visits to the hairdresser whether to get my hair cut or coloured. During lockdown this was no longer possible meaning for the first time in several years I actually had to maintain my colour etc myself. Gone are the fun days of purple tips or random two- tone streaks. My hair these days is one- tone dark red or brown though multicoloured streaks keep calling out to me. I’m considerably richer but also missing massages and a reason to wear make up…
Good and bad times for museums, venues, shops and restaurants
2020 did see the opening of some new places. Vegan Sushi Bar expanded to a second shop whilst Plant Based Sushi moved several times before finally finding their permanent home on Kostverlorenstraat. Vegetarian supermarket Klein the Grocer opened whilst Vegan Shop Shop closed. Dogo shoes are now only available in The Netherlands online plus Vegan Fresco started out amid huge fanfare as a store and recently just switched after being open for just 6 months to having an online presence only.
It wasn’t just shops and restaurants which suffered. My museumcard now has so many extra months added that it runs to December 2021, but not all museums made it through. I haven’t been to a gig for almost 2 years but some venues are finding interesting ways to keep their doors open. The Marktkantine in West is one example, having housed Rocycle classes the last months during the downtime without gigs and parties.