Coronavirus

Last week, I was shocked at the rise in the infection rate in the Netherlands. It went from 8 cases to close to 400. Reading up on it a bit more, it seems to have a r0 of between 2 and 3, so that makes sense. Marrying that to the lacks response from the Dutch to take this seriously (cancelling events, closing schools, etc.) and especially to stop the false equivalency to a seasonal flu, made me a little nervous.

I was planning on going to Amsterdam tomorrow, but after waking up this morning to see that the U.S. had shut down air travel between Europe (specifically; Shengen) and the U.S., it didn’t seem outside the realm of possibility to have the U.K. do the same thing while I was over. I decided to rebook my flight for next month instead.

(This is the same trip I was going to take before the airline went into administration, by the way. It seems this trip was cursed.)

Flybe Collapse

So this morning I woke up to the news that Flybe, the biggest European regional airline operating out of Exeter, has collapsed and are ceasing services immediately. This means my flight for next week isn’t going to be operating, neither is the flight that I had literally booked just yesterday for next month! I’ve instructed my bank to submit two chargeback claims, but who knows whether I’ll get those costs reimberused. I also had to buy a new ticket for next week, so in 24 hours I was down more than £600.

More importantly, this means that from now on getting to and from Amsterdam will be a lot harder than it was before. Until another airline starts operating flights on this route, I’m going to have to flight out from Bristol. There is a bus that goes from Exeter to Bristol airport, but that will eat into an hour or two on each end of my visit to Amsterdam.

Before, I had arranged with my work to give me the Friday afternoon off without having to eat into my vacation time. This would allow me to come into work in the morning, hop into a taxi at noon and make my early afternoon flight. Now, with an extra 2 hours of travel time, I’ll likely not be able to do that, and I doubt my employers will be accommodating enough to allow me to skip all of Friday just so that I can make an early afternoon flight. I’ll see what the commute to the airport will be like next week.

On the way back, I’ll have another extra couple of hours, which means I’ll have to catch an earlier flight than normally. Before, I would take a mid-evening flight, usually around 21:00, and I’d arrive home between 22:00 and 23:00. Now I’ll have to get an late afternoon flight, which means gaming will be jeopardised. I’m hoping to find that the total travel time back isn’t too bad, and I can get a slightly later flight next time which means I won’t have to worry about compromising my gaming time.

I guess that it was quite fortunate that we’ve had such a wonderful connection the last few years.

Life is Pretty Good

As we’re rolling into March I find that I’m further settling into my work rather well. It’s been a good few months for my professional self esteem because the change of scenery has allowed me to realise what it is that I can offer to a company, how fast I pick things up and make it my own, and how well I can be up and running and contributing. I’m learning a lot, which is very nice.

Having said that, things have not been without its struggles. My biggest support at work recently departed the company, which is a real shame, since I think they had a lot to offer, professionally but also as a friend and I fear that we’ll lose touch. The company is also quite a bit bigger and quite a bit more political. The culture is different, too, which I have to get used to.

I do miss Amsterdam a little bit, or rather, the life that I had there. The contrast between the workweek and the weekend is much less extreme here, and I’ve found that I miss that. Work days are quiet and comfortable, and weekend days are usually quite similar. I don’t have that many friends yet here, and those people that I’m friendly with are considerably more settled down than my friends in Amsterdam.

But, flying back once a month for a weekend of fun has been going well. I’ve agreed with my work that I can depart midway on Friday to go to the airport, giving me another evening to go and see people and act like a moron, without jeopardising my ability to have a fun D&D session on Sunday.

My relationship with Joasia has flourished, I think. Initially, being apart as much as we were helped make it really special when we saw each other again. But now, I feel like we’re both at an age where it’s just really nice to be able to rely on each other’s presence. Perhaps even learn how to take each other’s presence for granted just the tiniest bit.

The only thing that’s still not well for me is my lower back. It’s gotten considerably worse after coming back from Brazil, at a time I was hoping that the extended break would get rid of the tension in my back, but going back to work has made it worse, not better. The last week or so things have been a little better. I’ve stopped going to BJJ and I haven’t been running, trying to give my back a break. It’s making me anxious, though. I’m trying to watch my diet a bit so that I don’t get too heavy in the meantime. It’s been three weeks since I went training and hopefully it won’t be much longer.

Urinal Cakes

A while ago, I saw a video online of a drunk man at one of those metal, men’s room urinals shaped like a trough. He was so drunk that he thought it was the sink where you could wash your hands. He couldn’t figure out how to turn on the tap, so in frustration he used what he thought was water at the bottom of the urinal to wash his hands, using the urinal cakes as soap.

I think about that man a lot. I always feel as if I’m only two steps removed from being that man.