Back to traffic jams & full trains

Yesterday was the first time in two years that I actually got on a train! For the past few weeks when I went in to work (two days a week), I parked my car at a park & ride and then took the metro in (about a 10 minute ride). That tends to be quicker for me by about 15-20 minutes rather than taking the train, especially as traffic jams, even in rush hour traffic, aren’t so bad now due to a partially working from home recommendation still being in effect. Yesterday Mr Esther needed the car more than I did, so I biked to the train station and actually boarded a train and then a metro. I was lucky. The train that left before mine to another city was so packed, people had to get off and catch another train. My train wasn’t too bad…

…and on the way home (I was able to travel back again before rush hour) it was even quiet…

I am no fan of rush hour train traffic. I hate the bustle and shuffle of getting on and standing in a crowded place and if you can’t get on, needing to wait for a next train that may be just as crowded and delays your trip by 15 minutes, making you late for wherever you need to be. I’d rather be on the metro where it can also get crowded but it’s never quite as crowded as on the train and there are more options to get to your destination as they depart more frequently. If a metro is too crowded, it’s easy to let it go and just take the next one 2 or 3 minutes later. I do like off peak train travel, though, just like yesterday on my way home.

The news today is that almost all remaining Coronavirus rules will be scrapped as of mid next week. No more mandatory face masks on public transport (although wearing one would still be appreciated), no more partial lockdown recommendation to work from home for half the week, no more testing restrictions to get into big events. Yes, the case numbers still appear to be quite high but pressure on the health system seems to not be so bad, which is why the rules will now be relaxed and we will have to learn to live with the virus. Here the elderly and those at higher risk are getting their fourth shots now. My mother and aunt just had theirs last week. The basic rules around testing with symptoms, isolation and quarantine will still remain in force for the time being.

I suspect that with the working from home restriction lifted, rush hour traffic jams on the highways will get longer again and trains will get busier too. Not sure how I feel about the relaxing of virtually all measures. On the one hand, these restrictions can’t go on forever, on the other hand the Coronavirus is still causing a lot of mayhem. For me, I think I will continue wearing a face mask in public transport when it is crowded… It feels a little weird getting back to life how it used to be again.

MTA – On rethinking this, I realize I lied! I was on a train again a month ago for the first time, while going to meet some friends for dinner in another city… The rest of this post still is true, though.

The week that was

Mr E has been feeling off since mid last week with throat aches, head aches and very tired. The Corona Omicron variant is around us everywhere, or rather, around mini me. Some of her football team mates and some class mates have tested positive. She’s been testing herself almost daily through all of last week but so far nothing. We thought maybe Mr E might somehow have contracted it too (even though both he and I still work from home and don’t mingle that much with others). He’s been doing at home tests as well and so far everything remains negative. Fingers crossed!

Also this past week, Junior finally got an eagle tattoo after saying for ages that he wanted one. Early in the week he went in to the tattoo shop he had picked to talk about what he wanted and he got a quote. On Friday he was inked. The eagle has a special meaning for him and he’s stoked with the end result. He wanted it on the inside of his arm so that it’s easy to cover under t-shirts and shirts if necessary.

I like it and he has inspired me to finally go for the tattoo that I have been wanting to get for years but never dared to. I think I may drop by the shop next week and speak with them about the design I want (on my foot).

After our latest Covid lockdown, the cinemas have been open again for a week or so now. Entry is only allowed with a valid vaccination pass. You have to wear masks until you get to your seat and you are seated at a distance from others, which I love. Secretly I hope this seating at a distance in the cinema will become the norm forever. I know, not happening, but I like to dream. Anyway, Junior and I went to see the new Spider Man movie (mini me had already gone to see it with friends a few days before).

I really liked it! I also really like Tom Holland and I love Zendaya. They are apparently a couple in real life too. So cute!

Today my siblings, aunt and mini me & I (without Mr E and Junior had other commitments) met at my mother’s house to belatedly celebrate my father’s life on the occasion of his birthday a little over a week ago. I had a celebratory cake made. We were also going to visit his grave but as there was to be stormy weather today, my mom and a few of us went there yesterday instead (Junior did join me for that). My mother did a reading and we placed small stones with our names on them that my mom had inscribed.

It was nice to commemorate and celebrate without breaking down in tears for a change. My mother shared a story of when she and my father had been invited to a synagogue in Jerusalem in the late 1970s. The rabbi had called on my father (a Dutch Protestant pastor) during the service and had called him a ‘Tzaddik’, which means one of the few righteous ones. It was nice to remember that. It was also fun to remember my dad’s driving ‘skills’ which even had us in fits of laughter for a bit. I like when my family can get together like that and just have some fun chatting away and sharing stories.

And last but not least, for the first time in months I went to the hairdressers again this past week. The hair was quite long and I was getting annoyed with it, so I had it cropped to shoulder length and I feel much better. It’s amazing what a good haircut can do to enhance the mood.

Right, off to find something easy to watch now, maybe a Hallmark movie, and clear the head before my work week starts again tomorrow with a Teams meeting at 9 am.


For the first time since at least the beginning of the pandemic I have a horrible cold (clogged nose, throat ache, headache, low grade fever). My son and daughter have the same thing. Did my first ever Covid test today and it thankfully came back negative. Kids are OK too. Mr Esther has asthma and so is the only one in our house who gets the flu shot. He isn’t sick so I’m thinking this is the belated flu streak rearing it’s ugly head, now the mask mandate here is over?

I am relatively susceptible to colds, I have one 3 or 4 times a year normally (not always heavy, though), but I haven’t had one for so long due to this whole quarantine business, I almost forgot what it feels like. This one I’m having now is quite miserable. Starting to shiver again, I’d best cover myself in my red blanket in this large comfy armchair, block out Wimbledon that’s on TV now (women’s quarter finals) and maybe take a little nap.

Hope it passes quickly but I have a feeling it will take a little while to shake. At least it isn’t the corona virus.

Another Easter in quarantine

The second Easter spent in quarantine and this Corona crisis thing really isn’t over yet. Yesterday we heard that someone in my daughter’s soccer team and someone in my son’s class have been tested positive for Covid 19. Both are asymptomatic and both haven’t been in close contact with my kids but with quickly spreading variant Covid strains you never know. Today we heard that someone else in my son’s handball team was also tested positive. So, we are stuck inside and around the house a little more now (especially difficult for the kids who had been happy to do their sports and go to school again from time to time) until somewhere in the coming week the kids can get tested.

We did enjoy a lovely Easter brunch this morning, prepared (as every year) by the wonderful Mr. Esther…

… and this evening the four of us will have a nice table grill dinner, making the best of having a little time off over Easter. I wish those who celebrate a…

… and may the new hope of spring also bring new hope for better days without Covid.