When I was thinking about a topic for today’s postcard, I went through my past Monday Postcards to get a rough idea of what I was writing about a year ago. Then the one from February 3rd, 2020 popped up – “Monday Postcard #118 – Coronavirus and Pollution Update”. For the past weeks, I have tried to avoid this omnipresent topic. I personally cannot deal with the monotony about it anymore – from one lockdown to another, mutations of the virus, people who still do not get it, further travel bans. Hence, I did not want to write about it here either. I thought I would focus on topics which distract us a bit.
But when I read this postcard and realised that I wrote it almost exactly a year ago, I changed my mind. This postcard seems so far away now. And to a large extent it feels surreal. Surreal because of the naïveté – we knew almost nothing about the disease itself and how it would impact us later on in the year.
I remember family and friends starting to worry about me. I was still in Thailand when the virus broke out in China. When I published the postcard, the country was in the midst of one of the peak travel seasons: Lunar New Year travel with thousands of travellers from China and Europeans escaping the winter. People started to worry but it seemed like something really far away. And I guess many of thought (or hoped) that it would only be hyped by the media and not that bad after all.
It was the time when I started to get used to wearing masks. At first, I started wearing one because pollution levels in Bangkok were really high. But soon I asked my family to send masks to protect ourselves against the virus.
Our daily life was not heavily impacted – we avoided most of the air-conditioned indoor spaces and decided to rather sit in the heat. There was also the rumour that Covid-19 might not survive in the heat – up until today, I think this is still not clear. I stopped going for massages or salons and crowded places (especially malls). But compared to the lockdowns later on, everything was pretty much normal.
A year later, it does feel strange to look back. Some of the things I was worried about at the start of the year seem really small and some even silly now. I guess our points of view have changed. I honestly would have never believed that international travel would come to an almost complete standstill, that families and loved ones would be separated for months (many of them still are), that people would lose not only loved ones but also their jobs and sometimes even their existence.
A year ago, everything seemed so easy. I knew I could board a plane anytime. A meeting in Laos to meet suppliers? No problem, I’ll be there in no time! Meeting friends for a weekend in Singapore? Let me hop on a plane! Looking back, I took many things for granted and over the past months, I have tried to appreciate everything so much more.
I have no idea how long all of this will be going on. Maybe I will write another one of these postcards in a year and everything will be the same? Or maybe it will be over? Let’s see. I am sending you positive energy to wherever you are right now!