I found writing this month difficult somedays, not for lack of things to write about but because … I suppose because it felt heavy with Weltschmerz. The excerpt below feels like the smallest drop in March’s ocean, but I wanted to put something on the blog anyway – it’s a way of holding myself accountable while working on this project.
To read a little bit more about the bigger project the following is an excerpt from, click on over to January.
The kids need hollow eggs for kindergarten and so we use the whites and yolks to make lemon butter. My Nana used to make lemon butter and it was the most delicious thing, sweet and tart. We make several batches, eat it by the spoonful. We send the kids off to kindergarten with their hollow eggs which they paint and dye or turn into little rabbits, nestled in green paper grass. The painted eggs get string hot glue-gunned onto them and are then hung from the naked mini apple tree out the front. The apple tree is this ridiculous thing planted by the people who lived here before us. In full flight, it looks like a broomstick covered in glue and then rolled in leaves. It pokes up awkwardly in the midst of lovely, established hydrangeas and provides around six apples a year. I am both oddly fond of it and its awkwardness at the same time as deeply resenting whatever thought process lead to it being there. In any case, it bears the painted eggs every year, and they hang off its stumpy branches, clustering around its trunk.
Somehow, Mondays keep rolling around. There are work meetings, lectures to prepare, the kids need their sports bags, library books, 5€ for the kindy group kitty, 2€ for an Easter gift for the teachers, something for show and tell. There is the fence to buy and build up in the garden – the puppy’s coming in a month – the garden furniture to polish after a long, wet, cold winter that won’t end, and then, despite it being March and school not starting until August, up pops the Schulranzen discussion. School bags are, and it is difficult to overstate this, a huge deal. A huge deal, in both size and meaning. The bags themselves are gigantic. They perch on the children’s backs like Galapagos Island tortoise shells. They rise over their shoulders like tsunamis. Over the years, they have gone from being brightly-coloured boxes with straps, to brightly-patterned ergonomic vessels with thirty-seven pockets, matching accessories and enough spinal support to act as a bed, should the child ever keel over and need a rest by the roadside. They also cost 269€ which is outrageous for a number of reasons. You can, of course, buy last year’s models for 180€. You can even attend a Schulranzen party, which I understand to be rather like a bridal expo, lots of people racing around clawing at each other to get hold of slightly cheaper backpacks covered in, of course, soccer balls and police cars for the boys and mermaids and unicorns for the girls. We go the less-stressful, more Corona-friendly route and take part in a twenty-minute one-on-one consultation at our local. After much clicking and twisting and shortening and lengthening, we all agree the ‘space’ model is best for our fledgling school kid and order the out-of-stock dolphin-themed Schulranzen for 269€. It will arrive in May. The first step towards becoming a school kid has been taken.
Another summit, another seemingly pointless outcome. Nothing has changed for us up here, yet. We have the lowest numbers in the country, but they’re still rising. I suppose they have to rise more before it’s deemed ‘bad enough’ to change course. Our state minister seems hellbent on opening hotels and opening restaurants and in the background of this oddly-timed optimism is all this noise about a third wave. Merkel’s pissed off, she wants tougher measures, and makes vague threats about going over the state ministers’ heads if they don’t play ball. They un-pause AstraZenneca only to, days later, take it off the table completely for anyone under sixty. It feels like we’re all in the back of a ute and it’s pissing down, dark outside, and we’re trying to out-drive a storm in a country we’ve never been in, with no map and no signage and the driver’s a man who has no idea what he’s doing but has the loudest voice so can drown out the woman in the passenger seat who doesn’t think any of this is going to work.
And yet, somehow, Mondays keep rolling around.