Socializing again

We had our first post-lockdown house guest: my 21 year old niece came to stay with us from abroad for 5 days, negative Covid tested and half-vaccinated (getting her second shot soon). She met up with some Dutch friends and of course came to see the family. It was good to reconnect again, especially for the cousins. My niece is studying at a university in South Korea and my daughter is already planning her trip to visit her there after she graduates high school next year.

After I dropped my niece off at the airport to fly home to my brother (her dad) yesterday morning, I drove to Delft to have my first post-lockdown lunch with two friends of mine. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year. No kisses and hugs hello, because you never know with high Covid infection numbers now, but a lovely outdoor lunch and time to catch up again in person.

A week and a half ago I also met up outdoors and socially distanced with 12 or 13 colleagues of mine for late afternoon drinks before the summer holidays start and next week I have a dinner planned with 3 ex-colleagues who have become friends. Although everything is happening with some distancing (except my niece’s visit), it feels like social life is picking up again. It’s lovely but also feels a little weird and I find I need a little time to adjust. Have I become even more introverted since the lockdowns started last year March? I find that while I’m really happy to see people again, I’m also really happy to come back home and crawl back into my own world again.

After I finish this post, I’m off to do some grocery shopping and then I think I’ll put the laptop away for a change and start crawling back into books again. Actor D.B. Woodside posted this on his Instagram stories…

…. and I’m thinking, yes, reading is a great idea! We have tried to make our kids read in the past as well but alas, it didn’t stick and they are not great readers now. Even I, who used to be a great reader when I was younger (before kids), have been neglecting my reading for quite a while now. Seeing D.B.’s daughter like that reminds me of my own childhood reading days and how I loved reading then and now I really want to disappear into a book again. Counterbalancing the socializing with reading seems like a great idea, no?

21 thoughts on “Socializing again

  1. I’m with you on reading. I’ve lapsed really badly opting instead to binge watch crime and police stories.
    I went with a friend to a local mall last Sunday yo get us both out and about socializing again and it felt weird. We woke masks the entire time and only ventured in a few stores to browse but I think just to be outside the house did us both a world of good. So kudos for your social butterfly calendar this last week!

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  2. Fun to do a bit of socializing – your lunch looks great! I went to a lunch a few weeks ago, just 6 of us, for a leaving party for someone at work. Seemed very strange to be that close to people who aren’t family. But all of us had been vaccinated at least once.

    The grass there looks green! Here, where grass is pretty much green year-round, we all have very brown grass as a result of the massive heat-wave we had. Does not look normal at all.

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    1. Yes, all of the people I’ve seen have also been vaccinated.
      It’s always pretty green here, and it’s been raining quite a lot recently too, but the past few summers we have also had dry spells where the grass was starting to go yellow as well. Hope the worst of your heat-wave is over!

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  3. How lovely – and normal ( in the positive sense). I always used to have my nose in the book but now it seems to be in my laptop more. I am really intrigued by your lunch! Can I ask what it is and what you were drinking?

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    1. The lunch was a mix of offerings from the menu: a tomato soup, pastry with meat and the other one I can’t recall the filling, bread with brie, bread with cold cut meat and a Russian salad. The tea was a fresh mint tea (although, not technically tea, but fresh mint leaves steeped in hot water with some honey added in). My friend is vegetarian so she had egg salad on one of her sandwiches. It was all very yummy.

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  4. Servetus

    On the reading vs. watching issue: I actually control my own TV now, which makes watching very tempting. I’m definitely not reading as much as I was pre-pandemic. However, what I’ve found is that if I change the sort of things in my reading queue, I read more. Pre-COVID I was reading what I’d call “more challenging” stuff — more experimental literature, novels about themes that I was ambivalent about, etc., etc. What I find now is that I want to take refuge in the familiar and the comforting. While we were moving i reread all the Poldark novels. Obviously, that was self-soothing, which seems to be how I use TV as well.

    I think with the delta variant I am probably headed back into quasi-lockdown. I saw Obscura on Sunday (outside, six feet from each other at a café) and I plan to go to another movie this week, but the CDC said again today that even vaccinated people should mask up while inside.

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    1. I’m in familiar and comforting mode as well with reading/watching and I actually finished a novel this week! ‘Recipe for Persuasion’ by Sonali Dev – a kind of retelling of Persuasion set in San Francisco with an Indian cook as the heroine. It was perfect comfort reading, I really enjoyed it. 😊
      Ugh on another lockdown.

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  5. Socializing does feel odd now, and seems to sap my energy more than previously. I think part of it is navigating the new manner in which people wish to engage. I have friends who wear masks and stay 6 feet away, friends who need hugs at the beginning and end, friends who will not show their face unless everyone in the room is fully vaccinated and friends who fumble about as I do, trying to figure out what they’re personally comfortable with.
    I often find myself wondering how many years after the pandemic of 1918 did it take for people to feel comfortable in their own skin again-to feel safe in their world again? I love that we are at least peeking out of our burrows now.

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    1. Servetus

      One thing that really differentiates us from them is the communication situation: in 1918 there was no tv and almost no radio, only newspapers, and not everyone had a phone. People were really cut off in 1918 in comparison to how even those of us who observed a stricter lockdown are today.

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        1. Servetus

          It’s a really good question and I don’t know the answer. There are primary source reports / anecdotal evidence that after people reemerged from their houses (obvs these are middle and upper class people) they felt like people were not as friendly as they used to be. Another fun fact: shared drinking cups / ladles were gradually but quickly replaced by what we would call drinking fountains.

          Honestly, it’s very hard to for me to imagine a life without sustained exposure to mass media. I could live without social media (I think?) but without at least radio would be hard.

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    2. It’s especially weird to say hello to friends you haven’t seen in a year and a half and then not hugging, as happened yesterday evening at the lovely dinner I had with 3 old friends. All vaccinated with no present health complaints, though no masks (not mandatory here anymore although I do always have one with me, just in case I get somewhere where it’s really busy). Yes, I too wonder when socializing will feel ‘normal’ again and Covid and quarantining will cease to be a topic of conversation.

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