That a train stopped at the seemingly abandoned train station Höxter-Lüchtringen surprised me even as I entered it to start my 6-hour long journey back to Freiburg. And not only because this was the first time that I was surrounded by anything other than the four walls I spent my self-quarantine in.
I was very well prepared for this life as a once again free person. The day before, I overindulged in a basil pizza that should be renamed to garlic pizza considering that garlic was the only ingredient I tasted. If by some miracle this wouldn't force people away, leaving me more than enough room to have a happy, socially distant trip, my bulky suitcase stuffed with everything I used, wore and bought over the last two months would block anyone who's too cuddly.
And now, here I am: back in Freiburg. I thought about typing: back to normal. Were it not that I'm everything but back to normal.
My classes should have started three weeks ago. They didn't. This is not the case for everyone: I'm listening to my friends having Zoom group meetings after lectures after online assignments. But the courses I chose weren't deemed to be online-appropriate, leading to the cancellation of one, and the moving back of another. Luckily I am doing a supervised independent study (acting as a Bachelor's Thesis - after all, I'm doing my double degree here), resulting in the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually dedicate the amount of time to my research I want rather than it moving to the bottom of my to-do list again and again. But still, the structure that slowly establishes itself once university starts has disappeared to Narnia.
Not that I'm complaining. Movie nights and sleepovers make sure that I don't crawl out of bed before 9:30am. Instead of an 8 'til 5 work schedule, I moved everything up by three hours to an 11 'til 8 schedule (if not later). Around 12, I decide to break my intermittent fasting diet by snacking some cheesecake. Feeling nauseous until 4 and starting to long for lunch around 5, this forms another break in my studying schedule. And finally, cooking dinner together with friends around 10pm, before starting the movie at midnight.
Welcome to the new normal. Where everything is different - almost standing on its head. And where I love every second of my new rhythm.
Jesler van Houdt