We live in unprecedented times... It’s likely that the 2020 pandemic lockdown will have such an impact that we will tell future generations about it.
Since Switzerland went into lockdown mode on March 16, 2020, some people came closer together while others were divided. Many of us found ourselves working from home fulltime – something they said could never be done. Or worse, many of us never had a choice and are now unemployed.
The lockdown was a time when children sat in front of their computers, no longer playing video games but actually doing school work. Future generations will ask: "How did you react? What did you do? Did you really hoard toilet paper?" What will you answer them?
I've always had a curiosity for what peers are doing, or thinking.
That’s at least since the early 90's when I passed around my notebook filled with questions on each page. I waited in anticipation to get my notebook back, hoping my crush would write down my name on the question "Who do you like?" Sadly, she didn’t. Don't worry though, my wife scribbled down “Yes” when I asked her "Will you marry me?"
With the relationship squared away, I wondered how my fellow Newly Swissed authors were doing. Were they suiting up or were they pulling out their hair?
With no further ado, this is the Newly Swissed notebook, our time capsule of the 2020 lockdown.
Name / From / 🏠 /Latest Newly Swissed Post
🌺 Rex Moribe / Hawaii / 🏠 Luzern, Switzerland / Why Campo Cortoi made me want to volunteer in Switzerland
🇰🇷 Haewon Lillian Chun / South Korea / 🏠 Zurich, Switzerland / The ultimate food series
🏴 Luc Benyon / Scotland / 🏠 Zurich, Switzerland/ A review of the JazzNoJazz Festival
🇨🇭👱🏻♂ Dimitri Burkhard / Switzerland / 🏠 Zurich, Switzerland / 11 fascinating facts about Zürich, Switzerland
🇨🇦 Vanessa Lepine / Canada / 🏠 Zurich, Switzerland / 11 creative ways to survive the Corona virus
🇱🇻 Kristine Strazdina / Latvia / 🏠 Bern, Switzerland / >Outdoor art in Switzerland for your "must see" list
🇨🇭👩🏻🦰 Melanie Martin / Switzerland / 🏠 Zurich, Switzerland / Giving birth in Switzerland – here's all you need to know
🇮🇳 Rajan Thambehalli / India / 🏠 Zurich, Switzerland / How well do you know Switzerland?
How are you spending your free time?
🌺 Short walks to the lake. Listening to a lot of podcasts, specially the Joe Rogan podcast. Catching up on my personal Rex VS videos. And watching a new movie or TV show every night.
🇰🇷 I try to join online workouts. A lot of cooking and, yes, baking. We've been eating a cake every weekend... To be fair, I had my birthday in April.
🏴 Free time? I am working full time and looking after a toddler full time...
🇨🇭👱🏻♂ I fit the stereotype of a self-improver: I perfected my bread baking to the point where I do not need to ever go back to a bakery. And I have picked up my Japanese (video) lessons where I left off a year ago. I am writing for Newly Swissed during the day and the other night, I finished Netflix. (Blank screen without any more recommendations - who would have thought?)
🇨🇦 Skypéro, feels like I'm washing my dishes 3/4 of the time, reading and trying to write some jokes (some might end up being funny!)
🇱🇻 I'm fortunate to be able to go out on long walks nearly every day. Every hill around here is covered with a network of hiking trails and you rarely meet people.
🇨🇭👩🏻🦰 Keeping our two kids, 2 and 4.5 yrs. old, happy. Walking the dog as usual, gardening (I have lot of salads, strawberries, herbs and more planted. We're even trying our luck with mini-kiwis!), drinking ice coffee in the sunbed, doing lots of cooking and baking (I even have a sourdough starter to look after now 😅) and having a fab time with my side-job as Thermomix representative 👩🏼🍳 because we're not allowed to visit any interested people at home I did my demonstrations via WhatsApp video call.
🇮🇳 This is an interesting question. Like some of them who work in the events, my business got affected pretty badly (relative term). In the first week of lockdown, I read about eight books across genres. Slowly, I realized, I gotta do something. After that, I started hosting a weekly quiz live on Tuesday evenings on FB, which has become a hit (based on the feedback and responses). I am exercising a lot from home, more than I did before. And, now, I am getting requests to host private quizzes. I would say, slowly my schedule is coming back on track. This means, coming up with new business strategies.
Have you tried any new hobbies?
🌺 100 push-ups a day, and I write about something or someone I love every night.
🏴 If only...
🇨🇭👱🏻♂ Walking. I walked to a farm 30 minutes away just to pick up fresh eggs.
🇨🇦 Baking bread and brewing my own ginger beer.
🇱🇻 Returning to my old flames, photography and baking.
🇨🇭👩🏻🦰 Making sourdough bread.
🇮🇳 Teaching my 5-year-old son new games.
Has this experience changed you?
🌺 It re-showed me what truly matters most in life. What are my true passions? What can't I live without?
🇰🇷 Definitely appreciating stuff I took for granted before. Miss the human interactions, nice hugs and eye contact. Girl talk, wine & whine sessions and so on.
🏴 I have been starting work very early, then spending the afternoons with the toddler. It's exhausting, I think I've permanently aged!
🇨🇭👱🏻♂ As in "I'm stuck in a permanent warrior position"? I was very motivated at the beginning to keep up daily video yoga lessons, but I am sad to say that this did not work out. As for the 10'000 steps per day, I will definitely keep up the habit of walking a lot.
🇨🇦 I don't know yet.
🇱🇻 My patience is being tested and it's asking for new forms of creativity. I finished my university in February and now would be the time to look for jobs (ha-ha, said 2020). I try to stay positive, though, and use this time to learn, do some freelancing and just enjoy the small things of everyday life in a Swiss village. Like feeding goats during lunchtime, hearing far neighbors play the alphorn in the evening or watch the spring turn into summer.
🇨🇭👩🏻🦰 I am more thankful to be healthy and to have two healthy kids who are just amazing to see growing up. And I realized again and again that I am married to the best man on this planet.
🇮🇳 I would say, I am an introspective person. Even when things are going well, I like to make little changes to check if better is possible. And, I also believe, this experience gave me a perspective as to what the likes of Anne Frank would have gone through - forced quarantine. Be positive and situations, like seasons, come and go.
Where is the first place you visit in Switzerland (when restrictions lift)?
🌺 Any mountain lake.
🏴 A hike in Appenzell or on the Brienzer Rothorn.
🇨🇭👱🏻♂ Ascona, Ticino.
🇨🇦 Lake Zurich.
🇱🇻 Will do a scenic train ride.
🇨🇭👩🏻🦰 Friends' homes.
Where is the first place you visit outside of Switzerland?
🌺 Italy or Greece
🇰🇷 Greece and Turkey
🏴 Sicily, Italy
🇨🇭👱🏻♂ Konstanz, Germany
🇨🇦 Montreal, Canada
Any recommendations for our community to do or see within Switzerland?
🌺 Mt. Rigi
🇰🇷 Eat fondue, go on a train ride, and go on a hike. But don't believe a Swiss when they say it's an easy hike!
🇨🇭👱🏻♂ Heidi village 🐐
🇱🇻 Oberland, Mürren or Gimmelwald
🇨🇭👩🏻🦰 Go for a bike ride near the Töss river
🇮🇳 Life isn't a sprint. So, take time off from the daily grind to look around and appreciate the surroundings we are in. It doesn't have to be a fancy place or a photo-op all the time.
In the cultural sphere, here's what Newly Swissed authors recommend: TV shows, movies, and books!
For one, Netflix series like Tiger King, Ozark, and Unorthodox were mentioned several times. If you are a sports fan, people are raging about The Last Dance. Some shows worth mentioning that you might have missed are Fleabag, Living Undocumented, and Britannia.
My personal recommendation is a late addition but I felt the need to give it a plug. My wife and I got sucked into the rabbit hole and spent an entire rainy weekend tearing through the series. My Brilliant Friend is an HBO show that will leave you in tears, anger, confusion, and sometimes hope. It is simply brilliant, pun intended.
Let's have a look at our favorite books. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is being read more than once. If you seek a book about the Swiss Alps, try The White Spider.
And finally, our Dimitri and Christian have co-authored The Expert Guide to Your Life in Switzerland. Definitely check it out!
I remain hopeful that future generations can look back and see how we’ve managed to live through this lockdown. (It’s not that we didn't live, right?)
Be safe. Be humble. Be diligent. Be kind. Be generous. And lastly, learn something new! We also would love to hear from you. Comment below with your answers to my notebook questions:
- Name/From/Now living in...
- How are you spending your free time?
- Have you tried any new hobbies?
- Has this experience changed you?
- Where is the first place you visit in Switzerland (when restrictions lift)?
- Where is the first place you visit outside of Switzerland?
- Recommendations for what to do or see in Switzerland.
- Any book, movie or TV show recommendations from your lockdown time?