1.) Long dark winter: Germany experiences an average of 160 hours of sunshine in the period defined as the meteorological winter – December, January, February. This year, we stayed well below the statistical mean with only 96 hours of sunshine in those three months, and I certainly felt it. Day after day of dreary grey; snow and rain and drizzle and sleet. I can cope with periods of bad weather, but this winter does not seem to end.
All of a sudden, there was a spring intermezzo last week. The sun came out and we had a few nice days in a row – only to go back to freezing temperatures and snow.
2.) The welfare process still makes no progress: The only thing missing is my therapist’s statement, so I could go back and officially apply. The psychologist couldn’t tell how long it’s going to take; when I asked her, she said, “it’s difficult”. I feel awful for even having to bother him (and her) about this, but unless someone’s going to donate me money to tide over the months until he can work again, what am I supposed to do? I wish I didn’t have to ask for that and could just let him recover…
3.) I still miss having a car: The supermarket closest to home is about ten minutes away by foot, but is too expensive for me to shop there regularly. The one I used to like best and frequented the most is about 30 – 40 minutes away by foot – one trip. So just the physical act of getting there and back takes at least an hour. Not to mention the physical limitations of how much I can carry; a few times I had to call my husband to meet me halfway because I had underestimated the combined weight of all articles. Sometimes I take the shopping trolley, but that is tedious and brings its own problems, like when the tram was so full that I couldn’t enter it with the trolley, leaving me with no choice but to wait for the next tram in the cold.
Last week, I borrowed my sister’s old bike for shopping (I don’t have one of my own anymore since selling it for making some money), but discovered that while I could get to my destination in about half the time, it really did not make much of a difference regarding how much I could bring home. Also, for at least ten years prior to this, I had ridden a bike exclusively when on vacations at the North Sea – in a car-free environment. I got so scared on my way to the supermarket that I rode on the sidewalk for about half the distance… On top of everything else, the bike is actually too small for me, so that I cannot stretch my legs properly, and I found the whole process actually more exhausting than walking the distance.
4.) The insomnia is under control: I still have problems falling asleep, but at least it’s restful slumber once I dozed off. No more waking up every hour.