While walking the dog last week, I had to walk past the new white tent that is placed on the parking lot next to the Horst building. Of course, I did not want to hinder the actual work by being an overly curious gaper. So, I went one day before the vaccination program actually started. After all, there is finally hope to ban the coronavirus from our lives. Well, it will not be gone but kept under control. Bye bye, corona measures! The first month of 2021 is promising a lot more positivity and hope than 2020 had to offer over the course of a whole year. Vaccinations, Joe Biden, snowfall and three more weeks in lockdown... But that is just the way the cookie crumbles at the moment.
What I noticed is that the entrances to the vaccination tent on campus almost look festive and inviting. Like entrances to a festival. Big aluminum scaffolds with banners demonstrate what might be possible again after enough people get vaccinated. Concerts with crowds far bigger than the people storming the capitol in Washington. But just as fanatic and with just as little social distancing. Are we really going to stand next to each other again? In the mud? Without disinfecting our hands? Not even showering for a few days? A scenario that feels very surreal now. As surreal as an enormous white sci-fi vaccination tent on the university campus would have felt a year ago.
But let’s go back to the end of this year. I mean last year. For the first time, I was in Enschede for Christmas. Due to the quarantine regulations, I decided to not visit my family in Germany. I got the real 2020 experience by unwrapping gifts on Skype in front of my laptop. However, I was glad I got to see my family. Another pleasant surprise were the gifts I received from the UT. Just don’t get me started on my lousy attempt to make the cookies I received as a baking mix in a Share & Take Care package. Adding too much water to the dough resulted in somewhat ball-shaped instead of Christmas tree-shaped cookies. The taste fortunately did not change.
Right before New Year’s Eve the parking lot in front of my house filled up with cars again. And for once, I was jealous of all students that live in shared households. They were not affected by the visitor limit of two people max for their NYE parties. Lots of people to celebrate with in their own household. Despite celebrating the turn of the year, it did not sink it yet that we left 2020. The mood has not changed all of a sudden. I guess that will still take some time. On the other hand, 2021 already promises a better and more positive outlook now. This year offers the possibility to use aluminum scaffolds for real festivals again. And the vaccination tent will be used for the Batavierenrace. But next year then.