Spring breeze, European treats, downtown cafe, laughter, new people, the feeling of normalcy and excitement. Almost post-Covid atmosphere. It is March 20, 2021, and it has been more than a year since we have been allowed to hang out with more than 2 friends in the restaurants on the patio.
We are sitting outside: 5 Russian girls. It is the birthday of one friend. We do not know each other, but she brings us together to celebrate the day. We order German chocolate cake, baklava, lattes and machiattos – the food and drinks keep coming, we cannot stop. We talk, we laugh, we celebrate. It is a strange feeling to meet new people without masks. It is almost uncomfortable to share one table – less than 2 metres apart. It is especially outrageous to use one knife to cut the cake and share it with each other. Where is the nearest sanitizer?
We do not talk about the pandemic or vaccine or blood clots or new variants or third wave. We talk about microblading. About European-looking guys sitting at the next table. We are discussing the latest TV shows. We are joking about our jobs. We are analyzing the ways to get a government job (or NOT). We are getting to know each other. We are brainstorming the ideas for our next meeting. We are enjoying ourselves. We are enjoying our life – inside and outside of Covid-19.
We took so many simple things for granted before: hugging a friend, shaking a hand of a partner, seeing (grand)parents on the weekend, inviting colleagues for a coffee, organizing house parties, sharing dessert – sharing a moment. What do you miss most about pre-covid life? For me, it is meeting new people. I love the feeling of the unknown: you don’t know who this person is, what she/he is passionate about. What drives them? How will the conversation go? Which direction? What will I learn about them and what will I learn about myself? What memory will I form? What kind of experience will it be?
Surprising, thrilling, unpredictable, promising, inspiring, new, different…uniting…bringing together. I hope 2021 will soon be all about that and much more. Goodbye, Covid! The roaring 20s, welcome back!