D.E., 53, an International Marketing Manager in Lubeck, Germany

I saw the wave coming way in advance of most. How’s that? I work with international schools and was due to host a conference in Bangkok on 21 February. Mid January the news from China started getting more pronounced and then our host school in Thailand shut down so we had to cancel our event. Sitting in Europe I could see the news of the virus going in all directions. It was only a matter of time before it hit us. And bam, Milan, all the Germans going skiing – Coronavirus hit, then it got serious and was called COVID-19! Work kept me super busy as we were hosting global webinars to help schools deal with all the communications surrounding COVID. Our company stepped up and we worked hard. Our children were forced to leave their college campuses and due to travel restrictions could not fly back here.

My husband and I got good at buying stuff on Facebook marketplace and eBay. We had just moved into our apartment a few months back and still were trying to get it in shape. One fast purchase was a rowing machine. I just knew my gym would close and with the spring rain I needed something to do. This nice couple drove the machine off their island in the Baltic as it was closed to nonresidents. Best buy ever! We also sold one of our cars right before the world went into lockdown. Awesome decision!

But the best thing we did was buy an e-bike. Most Americans don’t know what an e-bike even is but in Germany they are very popular. My husband bought me a trekking bike – good for off and on road.

Fast forward to March when everyone is working from home and pretty much staying home, my new bike was my sanity. We quickly found ourselves out riding 50-80 KM on a Saturday or Sunday discovering all the new places around our new home. Great way to exercise, clear you mind and be outside without fearing COVID. I started listening to more podcasts on our long rides, enjoying all the birds, and trying to stay somewhat fit to balance off the increase in wine consumption. We have some great bike stories but by far the best was my encounter with a Nandu (EMU) These big flightless birds are native to South America so imagine my shock when I saw some in the forest. One was in my path so I cycled towards it and it ran down the path in front of me and after a minute or so it turned off into the woods. I was videotaping it and talking to it. I have since learned the birds are dangerous. I survived! 3 months into COVID and our bikes rides continue but we encounter more people out on the roads now. And, sadly, we have still not be able to get our children home.

[submitted on 6/22/2020]

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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