Wie geht’s?

How are you?

How are you?

Comment ça va? I mean really, how are you doing?

Thinking about this most common form of German greeting makes me realize something. No one asks me that anymore. Or hardly anyone. It seems that between people staying home, working remotely and not seeing one another, and our move to a new place where we’ve hardly been able to meet people, there is little opportunity to ask each other how we are. That strikes me as sad.

That’s aside from every email that begins with a wish in which the sender hopes this message finds me well, in good health, etc. It seems now that we are either dying from coronavirus or we are all fine. But there are so many nuances of how we can be. Perhaps a little sad. Tired. All Netflixed out. Needing something to look forward to. Or alternatively: feeling like a happy dance. A tipple. Joyfully pursuing an activity that makes our hearts sing.

So how am I? Not too bad (a very Canadian response) all things considered. Healthy, gainfully occupied with my freelance life. Yet longing to get out, to go places, see people, connect. And this Covid-thing is starting to feel like living in a perpetual groundhog day alternate reality where you live the same day, every day. The future has officially been cancelled.

And yet. A few signs may indicate that a shift could be happening.

I saw a couple of reports on the news that were not pandemic-related. In France, they are beginning to talk about climate change again. I’d just been wondering, not so long ago: whatever happened to the planetary emergency? And voilà! Here it is again, back from beyond. Not to be glib, I do realize it’s important. Just not as important when everyone is worrying about imminent death from a mutating virus.

I’m also itching to plan a holiday. I’m talking about a real vacation where you go somewhere completely different, preferably involving nice weather and the sea. Where you kick back and think about all the things you’ve done to deserve it. And I’m not alone. This blogger perfectly sums up the dilemma for me. And I sense it will not be long before I bite the bullet and book something.

So that’s how I am. How are you? Really. Tell me.


  1. margaret21 · February 4, 2021

    Not too bad all things considered. Could be worse. Both of these solidly English responses. Cheesed off though (see previous sentence). We’ve both had Jab Number One so are beginning to see a future. Climate change hasn’t yet regained its rightful place at the top of the news yet, but we’re getting there. All I want to do is get to Spain and see the new granddaughter before she starts school. Currently she’s two and a half weeks old, so that’s not an unachievable ambition is it?

    • Kiki · February 4, 2021

      Margaret; 😉 😉 THAT is good planning….. or if that fails, maybe think of attending her marriage?

      • margaret21 · February 4, 2021


      • MELewis · February 4, 2021

        I do hope Kiki is wrong (even if her comment made me smile!) Before she starts school sounds beyond conservative. Let’s hope you get to meet your granddaughter before the summer. x

      • margaret21 · February 4, 2021

        Me too. Thanks – enough fingers being crossed should do the trick x

  2. Gus · February 4, 2021

    People in uk asking “how are you” couldn’t give a damn!

    • MELewis · February 4, 2021

      I’d rather no one ask than have it be insincere.

  3. Kiki · February 4, 2021

    Mel, we too haven’t had (just like nearly everybody else) a holiday since too long a time, but also, as you said, this is truly ‘complaining on a top level’ and – seen in a greater picture – of no importance at all. So, what to do? Since we cannot return to France for nearly one year now, and living in rental accommodation in Switzerland, we have decided to ‘take off’ one weekend per month to do something ‘just for ourselves’. And what better opportunity than this pandemic to get to know your new home country? There are thousands of possibilities to book two nights in lovely, personal BnBs, we just booked a ‘special’ in a comfy, friendly wooden hotel in Lenk i/Simmental, bnb & one dinner, they even have an indoor pool which appeals to me especially….. We ourselves get to know our home country in this way. It’s true, it takes a minimum of organisation as you must be able to eat food which you bring along but knowing you that won’t be a problem. We stayed one night in Appenzell and asked if we could eat our dinner (cold) in their family room and it was no problem. At another place we had full use of a whole appt. with kitchen etc. Same thing elsewhere. Go on bnb.ch or search for an area you wish to get to know better and then look up the smaller hotels or airbnb’s. You can get away for walks in the snow or rent ski equipment for a day – but to me skiing has no attraction when you have to wait in long lines AND ski with a mask. I have light asthma from a fire’s smoke (UK) and already travelling in a train or wearing the mask for over an hour makes me gasp.
    It REALLY is no good to travel further afield, I wouldn’t want to take the risk of bringing back something or other – or for that same reason, catch a virus I’ve been succesfully avoiding up to now. And yes, we too look greatly forward to visit our friends in England once again, I’m still planning to take a crash course in Portuguese IN THE COUNTRY speaking that language, we surely will return to France, if only to visit friends and see how our house is doing….. but we can get plenty of blessings daily, we just have to look harder for JOY and brush up on noticing small kindnesses.
    Tell me when you’ve decided and what you’ll be doing. That ‘one weekend just for us per month’ works beautifully for us.

    • MELewis · February 4, 2021

      Lots of good ideas, Kiki — thanks! We will definitely explore more of Switzerland. Already my husband has enjoyed a week’s ski touring with a guide (not my thing…) but we haven’t been settled long enough to really have a chance to do more. Our last weekend away was at Christmas to see family near Geneva and Lyon. But for now I’ll be happy when shops and cafés open again (hopefully within a few weeks). BTW, I’ve been meaning to thank you for suggesting we use the compost bins for the ‘smelly’ garbage. I did find the bags at Migros and am now using them like a good Swiss!

  4. phildange · February 4, 2021

    ¿Cómo estás? Yo estoy bien . (So you receive greetings from the whole world).

    Yes the future is postponed or perhaps purely cancelled and I cruelly miss meeting my fellows in cafe terraces . But the power uses much this “prison” . The billionaires still increase their profits, as it frankly appears in financial gazettes, the pseudo French government never stops setting laws and decrees whose consequences will be a dramatic impoverishment of the poors and in the same time undermines the possibilities of resisting . The main news medias maintain the fear above everything, real news are covered for the majority’s brains . .
    In March I immediately opposed the confinement, I kept repeating that the virus was indeed a dangerous problem but the effects of what we see now would be a terrifying catastrophe, that we would see far more deaths and suffering along this shameless totalitarian spiral . But well, our congeners’ free personal thougth is generally abandoned to a minority of criminal intelligences .

    OK, we won’t stop existing, and even maybe serenity and joy shall we live in other times, other worlds, but this reality is after a Big Leap, not forward but Beyond .

    • MELewis · February 4, 2021

      Merci for the global greetings! You are right about the media catering to the masses. Every day is a new thing to fear, including fear itself. I find myself much happier not paying too much attention. But then again, when you have so few outlets to turn to…gah! Catch-22. I do hope you’ll be able to get back soon to the cafés, Phil. Probably healthier than stewing at home in front of the box.

  5. PedroL · February 4, 2021

    eheh your post reminded me when I went to Berlin for 3 months to learn German 🙂

    About me, and even if I feel very anxious about this pandemic, so far I am fine thanks 🙂

    Como estás? / Tudo bem? (Portuguese way)

    Cheers from Lisbon,

    • MELewis · February 4, 2021

      Thanks, Pedrol, for the Portuguese hello! Ah, Lisboa, one of my favourite cities. Glad to hear you’re well and hope it stays that way. May the virus and accompanying anxiety fade away before the fall!

      • PedroL · February 4, 2021

        Let’s hope so 🙂 thanks for the feedback! PedroL

  6. Ally Bean · February 4, 2021

    I feel the same way you do. This is Ground Hog’s Day, the movie, every day. I am to a point of complete indifference to what is going on anywhere that is not inside my little bubble. We cannot plan, we cannot do, we can only wait here. Not complaining, just describing how I am, bored… bored… bored

    • MELewis · February 7, 2021

      I feel your pain. Suspended animation… Here’s hoping for an early spring!

  7. mistermuse · February 4, 2021

    I am well….up in years
    and down to twenty beers
    a day, but I can’t complain
    because I’m feeling no pain!

  8. acflory · February 4, 2021

    lol – pretty good, thanks. Australia is doing well, relatively speaking, and life is normal-ish for most people, but every small outbreak reminds us that life is /not/ normal, and that it’s likely to stay not-normal for a long time to come.

    The Offspring and I are lucky to be on a bush block so we have physical space in which to move. Not going out isn’t so bad if you have somewhere to go while staying in. And the Offspring has started taking an interest in gardening!

    For me, I’ve regained just enough freedom to start dreaming foodie dreams. I want to go to a restaurant, a good one, and order five dishes I’ve never had before. I’d like to go to Farmer’s markets and choose my own, fresh, plump, just-picked produce. I’d like to bring food home and not have to spend time and energy ‘cleaning’ it. -sigh- Small dreams that remind me how very lucky I am already.

    • MELewis · February 7, 2021

      What is a ‘bush block’? I imagine it has something to do with greenery or being near the famous Australian bush…? I do hope you are able to bring some of those foodie dreams to life soon. Just watched a story on Instagram by one of my favourite young comedians from your parts — Josh Thomas. Seems he is quarantining in a hotel room before being able to go out and experience living again. Not sure you would approve of anyone doing that just yet, but it made me smile, he is so very funny and true.

      • acflory · February 7, 2021

        lol – yes, a bush block is a property that’s usually on the fringe of the city and it kind of au naturel. We’re on an acre and a half so despite 16 odd fruit trees and a few pockets of ‘pretty’, it’s mostly gum trees and grass.
        We’re having a big debate at the moment about hotel quarantine. We keep having outbreaks, and they’re almost always caused by returned travellers [ex-pats mostly] bringing the virus with them. Then they somehow pass it on to someone on the staff who goes home and spreads the virus further.
        We need proper, dedicated quarantine facilities.
        I can’t imagine how awful it would be to be cooped up in a hotel room for 14 days. 😦

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