Empower yourself by learning - lift students up by teaching! My demands on myself and on my teaching. Does that also apply to the Corona years, from 2020 on? Since the start of Corona-crisis for 24 months, I have been observing myself and asking critically: How do I react to this exceptional situation, can I learn from it for increased experience and personal growth?
Uncertainty: How to cope with uncertain future which cannot be planned any more?
Disappointment : Avoid disappointment when planning is impossible due to unforeseen circumstances?
Digital: Can I, as a "silver-ager", gain access to this virtual world?
Alone: How can I motivate myself for learning, for work, for activity - where I am so alive in personal contact?
Emphasis: Can meeting few friends intensify the friendship even more?
Details: When the possibilities of activities are limited - are there new perceptions of details?
See a personal reflection about two years of
My son and his girlfriend have been in South-East Asia in January 2020. Joking before their return: "We are having Corona!" Fortunately they had a save return by plane - some few days before borders were closed, flights cancelled and before life was locked down and the common "war" began: against the virus.
When it became clear, that Germany was about to have a sharp lock-down, our family began to live a new together: unexpectately, intense, creative. With a lot of discussions, common cooking, watching films, playing games and walking in the surroundings. We were watching a lot of instructive videos on how to deal with the crisis. And I took part in my first alternative digital sessions: A "Hackathon - We versus Corona", online-seminars and I was dealing myself with different digital tools for collaboration and online meetings. And - the long-term-project of my sons - restauration of an old VW-bus finally got to an end...
In the home office, a phase with little deadline pressure began for me. I had the freedom to design new formats for communicating climate protection topics. With the help of a friend, I stepped into production of moving-pictures: first for my job - creating learn- and explainatory-videos. Later I started to make videos by myself: It was grief, big challenge, a lot of disappointment but nevertheless: a wonderful experience of my ability to learn completely new topics even as a silver-ager!
Lots of failures, often unsatisfactory results and children who "blaspheme" about their mother's film projects ...
Nevertheless, it is exhilarating for me to plunge into the digital world. With sufficient distance - and from now on looking for a positive transformation of learning to get more range and more interesting lessons with digital media in virtual space!
"Can't you sew a light mask out of silk?" A friend's question was a nice challenge for me. My silk masks withstood the heat in the oven at 100 degrees Celsius without the slightest damage. Colors and fabrics survived but not the virus! And so they have become my personal cover for the obligatory and ultra-ugly FFP2-Masks as well. What I learned from this? Hands-on-practice is fun and makes me creative - inspite my new passion for digital tools!
In June, more social contacts were possible again. With weekly "sundowners" we learned to appreciate the neighborhood in our street anew and celebrated it with a small "get together" after work according to the French way of life. What did this mean for my own learning? It is so important to have both: life-contacts - and well supported digital contacts.
Can we plan the summer the way we used to? A short trip to Weimar shows us: empty trains, few visitors in museums, distance in the restaurant, shopping with masks - but on the whole no bad requirement for a good summer-time.
Livorno: Many people go there in order to leave as fast as possible: to Sardinia, to Corsica. But we went there to stay! 3 weeks of our long summer-vacation were a joyful mixture of the Livorno Music Festival, culture - with very few tourists and very "cautious" life in the Italian cities after so many Corona-deaths in spring. We experienced a number of very precious moments - such as a drink on a roof-top terrasse before a chamber-music performance in the Grand Hotel of Livorno.
On the way back over the Appening, my bike app warned me, "I might have to push my bike in some places". Indeed: 25% incline up the "Passo delle Radici" was very sweaty even when pushing!
From Verona I took the train - and was alone in a compartement. Nice to sit and read and look out of the window without a mask. I learned, that distance can also have a great advantage - less people in the train!
I was not surprised, that the number of corona cases started to increase. I tried to adjust to at least 6 more months of newly reduced contacts and serious restrictions very early in autumn. Every day that you could still be outside was considered a gift with many small and large discoveries. Like this "chicken hotel" at the foot of the Hohenwaldeck ruins on the Schliersee.
Perception is sharpened because there is less action. This experience motivated me to make more small videos. Mainly for myself, few to be published: a small personal sign that I allow myself to become public - even though technically not perfect at all! But I want to use this approach in my work for schools and teachers as well: Appreciation of the details of our nature with the view through the lens of the camera - and through feeling, seeing, hearing without technology, only through our own senses! Maybe I can empower students to tell their little stories and share them with others.
A difficult day: New Years Eve. No celebration? Very few friends. We ended 2020 with a sunset in the mountains and saw it literally disappear. On New Year's morning 2021 we got up in the dark and climbed the mountain again. At sunrise we welcomed the New Year up on the summit!
How to live many more months without planning for the long term? Live in present! I am pleased to get to know so many bright ideas that might show a way to smart transformation of a "sick" society: the idea of carrying exhibitions from the inside out: in the museum area of the Pinakotheken in Munich, to meet with friends on Zoom with yoga, exchange digitally with a reading group, go to an online theater performance with another couple and afterwards we drink a wine - each in their own apartment. And then there is real fresh snow and the silence that swallows every step....
Over 50 cm of new snow in one night. The trails in front of the house tracked - after many years once again. And a week later it's all over. It seems to become spring. Experience winter - without crowds. I enjoy being outside. The days with many hours at the computer need a decided break. It's good to organize the day in a self-determined way. So much freedom. But not for everyone. I am grateful.
One hour above the rooftops of Munich. One hour for me alone. There, where it is bright, is the "Türmer-Stube". No cell phone, no clock. Reflect, observe, be attentive. One hour as a "guard" on a tower. 730 women and men are part of an art project. The ancient tradition of guarding over a city - reinterpreted. A gift from the city to us. https://tuermer-muenchen.de/de/2021/03/11/bachmann/
Leaving Corona-restrictions behind me - on my bike! Alone from Glonn to Kempten where I met Ditmar and we travelled together until Konstanz to the Lake Bodensee. What a pleasure to escape and feel safe from beeing infected: Restaurants closed, hotels closed, few peoples in the supermarkets, few people in the streets, evening in private retreat. What a pleasure to move with my own strength, on a conventional bike, good for my health, for my fitness and for the climate!
My children give me a private instruction on how to weld. It was my dream to have a special stand for our dining-table!
We decided to accompany Niklas on his first part of the charity-bike-tour from Glonn to Bilbao. But we choose our new electric car to travel! It was great pleasure to drive only 300 km a day, many stops where we met Niklas. We never run completely out of electricity - though it was a little scary sometimes - perhaps not to reach the next charger in time. And I learned how to use polarsteps for digital story-telling about our "adventure".
Restaurants and Cafés open again, the weather fine, many days in homeoffice - still. Time for little excursions into the surroundings of Glonn. Sometimes by bike, sometimes with friends, sometimes with my mother - here we discovered Wasserburg at the River Inn.
Ditmar had to cook - and to use "waste" for eating instead of composting it! The event was not sustainable - as he did not discover a new passion for cooking..... But creating a vegetable-soup from all different vegetables, the friends brought and make vegetable-chips from the vegetable peals was a great experience. Thank you for the inspiration, "restlos glücklich" (https://www.restlos-gluecklich.berlin/)
He is far away - and yet connected with us via polarsteps, some videos on youtube and a phonecall once and a while....His trip will have lasted almost 10.000 km until he came back again his hometown Glonn. Within 9 European countries and 6 months he reached personal limits, discovered friendship and experienced a lot of adventure. He had to endure loneliness as well as the greatest heat, a lot of headwind and also frequent rain. Ultimately, he also achieved his goal of raising €3,000 through donations for a rainforest reforestation project run by the NGO Oro Verde.
The first time I'm really long on the bike alone. Another sustainability adventure, where I have 14 days to get from Florence to Naples and also have a lot of time to think and research: Could cycling be a much more viable alternative for long distance travel? How well does the combination with bicycle and train work (unfortunately often not at all!) How do I get along as a moderately trained woman with bicycle abroad? Why are there so few solar installations in sun-drenched Tuscany? I love "travel with a purpose!"
Corona was so far away when I was also far away in Italy! Now we are caught up by the 3rd wave. Once again to the Literaturhaus, once again to the cinema - but no fun, because you can't leave afterwards and chat over a beer...
Again, it's off to the home office. A blessing for me, I like being at my desk. I enjoy the opportunity to work without being distracted. The digital world is becoming more normal, the stress of virtual meetings has faded. Seeing eachother via the screen has become a habit. Workshops with digital tools are becoming commonplace! The world is getting closer through Zoom with NY and Erasmus in Europe. I'm happy to have visitors at home and I'm glad to get out for a jog every now and then.
Despite the still or probably unfortunately increasingly critical Corona situation, we are together with friends, but outside! After a meeting at the fire bowl in Glonn, we go leisurely in 1-2 hours to our destination: The jetty at the Steinsee from Moosacher Bad by moonlight. There we unpack the champagne, put the worries of the past year and the wishes for the coming year in a walnut shell, which disappears at some point in the darkness....