Eva Hilberg By: Eva Hilberg
Post-Doctoral Fellow
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21 Dec 2020 : Deck the Halls (Pandemic Edition)

Deck the Halls (Pandemic Edition)


Deck the halls with disinfectant,

‘tis the season to be distant,

Don we now our new protection,

To avoid airborne infection.


See the rising curve before us,

This new mutation is contagious,

Until vaccines will end this madness,

We're living in four tiers of sadness.


Finally this strange year passes,

With its fears of airs and gases,

When singing even counts as hazard,

We’re really ready for a new start.


Yet even when this time is over,

We’ll still be living with exposure,

What we learn’s not academic,  

Get ready for the next pandemic.


This year certainly has been strange and scary, and it seems to just keep on going at this point. On a personal level, it has been enormously challenging, but also weirdly liberating – focusing everything on the essentials. I think that in Germany one of the main differences in personal experiences during this year was down to whether people had children or not – this made for a fundamental division between people feeling cut off from the world and suddenly with nowhere to go, and people sinking fast under a mountain of new chores that left almost no time for reflection or even planning. I was part of the second contingent, and tried to continue working while also looking after a small child, negotiating a kindergarten that was every day on the verge of closure (and it was mostly me, as my partner had to continue working full time most of the year). It’s been hard, but by no means as hard as it must have been on single parents or those with a less flexible job - another fundamental division between people that emerged this year, and there are too many more to even list. So as this year draws to a close, it really feels like time to think back on all these challenges, but also realising that we mostly managed them somehow (mostly being the operative word here, I will never again catch up on laundry, I am officially giving up now). 

So maybe this year has sent me slightly mad, or maybe it’s a real breakthrough, I honestly cannot tell. But here is to ending the year in some sort of style, and all the best of luck to all of us for the next one!

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