10 April, 2020

Connections

The corona virus hit Switzerland on 25 February. This is pretty easy for me to remember, because it was two days after Julie and I got back from the Italian/Swiss Border after a skiing weekend! The government, here, jumped on things pretty quickly. Two days after the first case, the government was talking about social distancing, and they canceled the first large sporting event. Three days later, they canceled all events of more than 1000 people. After this is where the government messed up. The government thought that by talking about social distancing, and stopping large events, it should have been enough, it wasn’t. So on March 16th they really locked things down, by closing all non essential businesses, and a couple of days after that, the government limited everything to groups of 5 or fewer. So basically, at this point. We have been on lockdown for a month. Originally it was supposed to lift next week, but now that has been extended until the end of April. So if things hold true, we will have been under restrictions for six weeks. I am assuming that will be a similar length of time for my friends in the US as well.

I bring this up, because as things have locked down, the ability to interact with people has really changed a lot. We are relying a lot more on technology to keep our social connections with people. Some of this has been good some of it has been bad. Julie and I had our first family Whats App call this week. We text with Kaylee easily a few times per week. George….. not so much. However, we make sure we talk to the kids at least once per week. It was fun to have a call going from Switzerland, Wisconsin, and Missouri all at the same time. George has decided to spend his quarantine with his significant other (is Girlfriend a thing any more?) since the law school went online. We are glad that both kids have people to be with. I feel a little guilty that Kaylee has to be in Madison, but a few of her room mates decided to stay there as well. I don’t know if they did that because they did not want to go home, or if they did it for Kaylee, but anyway, I really appreciate them staying with her. I realize I am digressing now.

The call was fun, we had quite a few laughs, and started to get some plans together to see each other this summer. That became especially important, as it looks like our trip back to the States in May/June may be called off. Hopefully, the weddings will still happen, but no one knows what the international flight rules are going to be. It looks like it may be Christmas before all of us are together again, but hopefully both kids will be able to come visit us at some point this summer.

This week I have also had the chance to participate in a couple of different Zoom meetings. I spent some time on Wednesday connecting and reconnecting with some Tech Director friends. Well, they were all having coffee as it was mid morning for most of them. I decided to have a beer since it was closer to 5:00 PM for me! We didn’t talk a lot of IT shop, we just spent some time talking about what the world was like in our little corner. This talk really makes me want to get my language test back, so I know if I need to devote more time studying German, or if I can start contact schools. I really miss working with the students and teachers. This morning I was up until 1:30 on another Zoom call. This time with members of the fraternity housing board and a few parents of current members in the fraternity. With the craziness of University being online now, the housing corporation thought it would be a good idea to get to know the parents a little more. We did not have an agenda with this call either, so we wound up talking the virus. I guess that is pretty much the topic of conversation everywhere, though.

I have also found myself on social media more the last couple of weeks. Most of that interaction is good, though I did apparently step on myself with a twitter interaction. There was a teacher in California, that had tweeted about how it was really good for computer to be rebooted two or three times a day. Normally, I would not respond, but I know teachers are doing a lot of their comfort zones right now, so I thought I would try and help. I got jumped on! I don’t know if it came across like I was trying to “mansplain” her problems, or what, but when I am told to butt out, “I wasn’t asking for help.” I simply disengaged. I don’t know, I still think if you are frustrated enough to shout to the world that you have to reboot your computer multiple times per day, you would welcome some help, but that is just me.

Through facebook, I was able to respond to a teacher in my old district that was trying to look for ways to help teach his students about getting and vetting information. I wound up making a 15 minute video for him answering questions, like Where do you get your news? How do you know what you can trust, etc….

I really can hardly wait for this thing to be over. Switzerland announced they are keeping the lockdown in place for at least one more week. Though I have a sneaking suspicion it will be longer. From what I can find in the news, the growth in new cases is slowing but it is not going down. I can’t imagine the government lifting all these restrictions until the number of cases is going down, not still going up. The worst thing of all is that starting last night, the internet connection in the house started to go wonky. Julie was watching a show on Hulu, and it just stopped. I wound up rebooting the cable/internet box, and things came back, but then partway through my late night Zoom call, I had to switch from the UPC wifi to the hotspot on my cell phone. How today, I have had to reboot the cable box three or four times. Julie is trying to work, so I turned the hotspot on my phone over to her. She was tired of the excel file she is working on crashing. Her company requires use of a proxy/vpn to access things from home, and the proxy kept crashing when the wifi would go down. I think she had to redo part of her file three times, before the she expressed her displeasure enough that I turned over my phone!

I hope everyone reading this has a great Easter Weekend. Stay Healthy so we can talk soon!

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