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The mood has completely changed – Corona Update March 13

While people and daily life still seemed very normal at the beginning of this week, this has now changed, almost overnight.

Yesterday, everything started changing throughout the day. The Coronavirus Infection rate was rising at an unbelievable speed, and it’s still accelerating.

While we only had about 5 cases about two weeks ago, there were a 100 cases on March 8. Two and a half days later we reached 200. Yesterday in the morning, we had about 300, by the evening we had 361. This morning, we had over 400 and by now, 3pm on March 13, the case count has already reached 504.

The separate case counts for each of Austria’s states is as follows:

Lower Austria (63), Vienna (82), Styria, which is our state (52), Tyrol (167), Upper Austria (84), Salzburg (23 – davon 3 Personen nicht in Salzburg aufhältig), Burgenland (7), Vorarlberg (22) und Carinthia (4).

Yesterday, Styria had 28 and the day before that 18, and the day before that around 11.

While more new measures were planned by our government yesterday, rumours started spreading.

It started yesterday morning. Rumours that were saying that absolutely everything, including supermarkets, pharmacies and all government offices (including social welfare, national health, health department etc) will close down next week. I knew right away it wasn’t true and I tried my best to keep telling people it’s not true.

The government was simply working out the next important steps to help contain the outbreak, and the first couple of these measures were presented in a press conference yesterday in the afternoon. In that press conference, the government also said that more measures are being planned and to be announced the next day (today). At the same time, they were also stressing that these rumours floating around are false.

Supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, government offices, post/mail and basically everything that is important for the country, daily life, the infrastructure and it’s people will remain open no matter what. They said that potential closures and restrictions will only be implemented on branches and services that people can easily live without for a few weeks. They also again begged people to stay home as much as possible if they can in their free time or if they’re retired or at home for other reasons anyway. For other companies, they said that companies should try to have as many people as possible work from their home.

The point is basically to try to stop as much unnecessary movement of people as possible for a while.

Yesterday, a pharmacy in the city was already limiting the amount of people who were able to enter at the same time. Only 3 people were allowed in the pharmacy at once.

Today, that same pharmacy was serving people only through the hatch in the door.

Then this morning, more rumours were spreading which caused widespread panic buying

Early this morning, some more rumours were floating around and spreading like wildfire. Some rumours were still the same and others were new. Today the rumours said that absolutely all stores, pharmacies, gas stations and banks will close down by midday today and that a curfew will be implemented for the nighttime starting Monday.

These rumours, paired with the shocking rise in coronavirus infections over the last 24 hours, caused people to actually panic today.

People started panic buying in such numbers, that there were massively long lines in front of the supermarkets. It kept getting progressively worse all day. The shelves are now empty pretty much. Even shortly after the supermarkets had opened for the day, shelves were emptied within a short time. Some stores were hit worse than others, depending on their location.

Long lines of people waiting to get into one of the larger grocery stores in a mall not far away from us. It was like that at most supermarkets. (Source: KronenZeitung krone.at/2116507)

I heard from my friend, who lives just a block away from us, that she saw people ripping food out of each others hands at the store. Then we heard that one Aldi (called Hofer in Austria), located in a rather bad area, had been pretty much wrecked by people ripping open packages and simply being rowdy and selfish.

Mostly it was long long lines in front of grocery stores. People were running into banks and building lines in front of ATMs. In turn, many ATMs were out of order by the early afternoon.

What also did not help was that nothing was being done about people taking way too much at once for themselves in the grocery stores (for example one person/family buying up all the milk).

The media and government kept repeating on TV, radio and on the internet, that the supermarkets will not close and that the supply of goods will keep going. Yet, people were panic buying all day.

My Dad said that all of the bread was gone within a short time after the stores opened in the morning. I hope the panic buying will calm down again over the course of next week, when people see that the supermarkets will not close down and that they also continue to be restocked regularly. , starting yesterday morning and still, new false rumours are spreading. There were rumours that everything will be closed down, and a curfew will be implemented. None of it is true though.

The actual new measures that were announced by the government today

  • All schools, including high schools, elementary schools and kindergartens, as well as universities and any education facilities will close by Wednesday. Universities and higher education will be closed on Monday already. But students can stay home already if they can.
  • Restaurants, pubs, cafés etc, have to close by 3pm in the afternoon. So nightclubs and anything else that would be open all night, will stay closed completely. They want to avoid all those many people coming together every night, especially during the weekends, while going out.
  • All sports events are cancelled
  • Some areas in Tyrol, which is especially badly hit by the outbreak in Austria, will be put under quarantine.
  • Supermarkets, banks, pet supply stores, pharmacies, tobacconists, public transport, post and mail services and other essential parts of society, like all facilities and companies that are important for all the infrastructure in Austria (including Telephone and Internet), will not be closed at any point
  • Public transport: Trams and Busses will automatically open the doors for entry and exit at every stop, so people won’t have to use the buttons to open them. Only the trams and busses will be used that have a separate cabin for the drivers to protect them
  • People are asked to stay home, unless it is absolutely necessary and can’t be avoided. People should gather with friends and family for now and instead use other means (internet, phone) to stay in contact.

Some news regarding my medication supply

I had put in a request to get my pain medication supply home with me for the next 3 1/2 weeks, so that I would not have to go out anymore at all within that time, to protect Ralph more.

Though I got a call this morning from my doctors office, informing me that the health department has said, that nobody is getting their medicine home for a longer period of time, even if they have plenty of their time allowance left, which I did. No exceptions. I’m sure the reason for that is that this measure stops people from moving and leaving the city and their areas. Since everyone is tied to their medicine, by having to go to the pharmacy all the time, nobody can leave, which stops even more movement from and to different places.

On the other hand, I also got some reassuring news. Apparently, my pharmacy will not close down, even if it gets worse. The way it will work is that all customers are basically outside the pharmacy, while the staff is behind the door, which has a little hatch, through which everyone is being served. Those hatches exist for the night shifts, where people are being served through those hatches as well.

Either way, the government does not seem to implement things in a chaotic manner. Therefore, no matter what, if the health department has to think of something else to make sure that all patients continue to receive their medications, then they most likely will. Everything now is being implemented as things are happening. I’m feeling better regarding that and not as worried as I had been before.

Our plan for the next month (or beyond if it’s neccessary)

Ralph and I will stay home for the next weeks, or for how long it’s going to be necessary. Our supplies last for about two months, including the supplies for the cats. But we are still able to order things online as well for now, which I am doing too.

That means I will only go out to the pharmacy, on my bicycle, on a street where I don’t really come across many people and where I am not close to other people anyway. Also, the pharmacy is only 4 minutes from us if I use my bicycle. Additionally, the pharmacy itself is quite spacey and you don’t really come too close to people in there, especially now, as people are avoiding the pharmacies as much as possible, which is good for me.

The risk is still not extremely high that I could catch the virus while in the pharmacy, or outside of it. I also try to keep as much distance between me and anyone, and I keep disinfecting my hands constantly. When I get home, I take off my shoes outside the apartment and then I walk straight in to wash myself, before I put my clothes away and wash myself again.

No matter how crazy this might sound, I rather do everything I possibly can to lower the risk to Ralph and myself.

It’s now eerily quiet and empty in the streets

I was out at about 4pm, which is normally very busy on Friday. But even the busiest street was very empty. Hardly any cars. Hardly any people. And now at night, nobody is out. It’s totally quiet and empty in the street as far as I can see.

One supermarket I passed by was dark for some reason. Looked like they had to close down for some reason. I also saw people with loads of boxes of groceries, and big bags full of the same, entering their apartment buildings, or carrying the shopping home. I also saw long lines in front of Tobacconists in the city centre. Our area wasn’t like that thankfully.

It was already very weird and quiet everywhere. Even our building is quiet. Normally you would hear people getting ready to go out on a Friday night, but there is no one going now. There is no music being heard from anywhere, no friends coming over. People are just in their homes, possibly a bit in a state of shock.

I would not be surprised if some rather bad people will try to use the emptiness of city streets for bad things. We are thankfully in a safe area anyway, but I still closed down the shutters in front of our street facing window. I’m always rather safe.

There will be more restrictions coming, but I prefer that to not doing anything. The more people are stopped from moving, the faster the numbers will stop climbing, while the number of people who have recovered, will increase. Everyone who can needs to stay where they are, all over Europe. Just for a while, so that this nightmare can come to an end sooner, rather than later.

Lets please get through this ok and then celebrate once it’s over.

Be careful and keep in touch. I’ll keep you all updated anyway. Ralph, the cats and I are still perfectly fine ❤ I’m now off to bed, as it’s way past midnight and I’m tired.

Love from us and the cats to all of you!

Good night from Sonic and Lisa in our fluffy comfy bed
Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · Society and News · The Cats

Life during the Corona Pandemic – March 11 Update

It’s now officially a Pandemic. But that was apparent for a while now anyway.

I really wasn’t sure if I should write regular updates about how things are going here in Austria and in general, since I didn’t want to add to the constant Corona Presence in every headline, posting and new article. As people are hearing about nothing else anymore almost.

But then I thought it’s going to be a record of our life, that I can look back on years later, and in this way I can let everyone know how we’re doing and that we’re ok.

Case update for Austria, March 11, 2020 at 3pm

246 cases so far in all of Austria.
Cases for each state: Lower Austria (45), Vienna (50), Styria, our state (25), Tyrol (57), Upper Austria (35), Salzburg (14), Burgenland (4), Vorarlberg (13) and Carinthia (3).

New temporary emergency laws and recommendations during the Corona Pandemic in Austria

  • Anything with gatherings of more than 100 people indoors (which also includes any staff) is temporarily forbidden.
  • Outdoor gatherings with more than 500 people, including staff, is temporarily forbidden
  • Universities and any schools for higher education are being closed
  • No entry into Austria from Italy, except with an up to date document that proves the person is not infected with the Coronavirus
  • Austrian citizens still in the now locked down Italy will be brought home by the government, but they have to stay in quarantine for two weeks in Austria
  • People should avoid private contacts and gatherings and stay home as much as possible
  • Older people and people with compromised immune system should not receive visitors if it can be avoided

Life seems as it always is, in the city and of course at home

While case counts are multiplying extremely fast now, and there is panic and fear among people in many countries, it’s very calm and normal here in Graz and Austria in general. Austrian people usually don’t panic quickly. It has to get really bad before there would be widespread panic.

The late afternoon sun, seen from the balcony with the cat safety net

Today was a wonderfully warm and sunny spring day, with temperatures over 20°C / 68°F. As I went out this this afternoon around 4pm, people were out in the usual numbers. The large park in our neighbourhood was filled with people sitting on the grass and taking walks, enjoying the warm sun. The outside seating area of every Cafe I saw in the city was quite full and the streets were just as busy as always around that time.

Just like last year, the spring flowers are everywhere, the birds are building their nests in the garden, the neighbourhood kitties are walking around in the garden. Hero and Lisa saw two of the neighbourhood kitties yesterday and got all excited. Unfortunately it was past sunset and too dark to take pictures of them.

It was a mostly sunny afternoon yesterday, and you can feel that the sun is getting warmer and warmer now, as the northern hemisphere is getting closer to the summer. Especially this year, we can hardly wait.

The kitties are crowding in every sun puddle, especially on the bed.

Hero, Lisa and Sonic. Lisa is giving Sonic a friendly nose greeting and a few licks on his head.
Lovely warm sun! Samantha is hardly visible, but she is in the top left area of the picture, in the shadow, lying on a white mat under the side table. The sun had been there a while ago, but was now gone.
So Samantha decided she would try to get into the sun puddle on the bed.

Our life is still normal in Graz

While the Corona cases are multiplying every day, things are still as always pretty much. Thankfully, we do not have a huge number of cases in our state and city yet. 18 for the whole of Styria, our state. They aren’t mentioning where those cases are, or if they’re spread out over the state or concentrated in an area, I don’t know why. But in the way it began and the few cases they mentioned, the cases were in the east of our state, and just one in our city of Graz. But it was about 10 days ago when they mentioned that patient from Graz, so I’m sure there are more by now, and probably people who were in contact with that person.

Thankfully, my doctors office, the pharmacy and the health department are all working as usual. I haven’t heard of any more closed doctors offices for Austria and haven’t heard of any pharmacy or other larger health care provider closing down. And there is no atmosphere of panic among people. I hope it’s going to stay that way.

I can still go out without worry as of now, but I do take all the precautions I can possibly take. I keep away from people and I’m always using my bicycle to go where I need to go even more.

There are just as many people around as always, from what I can tell. People are still sitting in Cafe’s, stroll through the city and stores, people are still doing they’re daily runs along the Mur and the parks, and you don’t really see any panic buying going on in the stores. But the sanitizers, disinfectants, and tinned food are still sold out for the most part, although they’re being restocked.

We still have enough toilet paper in stores.

Even in the smaller stores, like the one I took this photo in, there is no toilet paper missing.

There was more toilet paper stored at the top of the shelf and even more around the corner.

Plans for next week

Since the risk to become ill myself is still very low for Graz, especially with the precautions I take, I still go out to pick up a few necessities, but I go during times when hardly anyone else goes shopping. Though seeing how fast the cases multiply, I will stop any shopping in stores by next week possibly.

Also, I will try to talk to my, doctor on Monday, to use all my vacation allowance and pick up all my months medication at once to take home with me. Not only would I not have to keep worrying to suddenly stand in front of closed doors at my pharmacy, if they have to shut down because of a case, and I won’t have to keep going out so much, and put Ralph at risk with it.

My immune system is really good and strong, I never become sick, my health problems are pain related, but organically I’m perfectly fine. Though since everyone above the age of 60 is at a higher risk to develop severe problems if infected with the Virus, I really don’t want to risk anything, even if the chances to catch it, as of right now in our area, are rather low.

That’s why I don’t like people getting dismissed with their worries, as it keeps happening at the moment. People here are so used to nothing bad ever happening, that they can’t seem to grasp the possibility that it could be different this time.

I much rather take precautions as much as possible and not need it, than risk the health of my most beloved husband and the well-being of our little family.

Lets hope I’ll be able to get this done, so I can stay home for the next 4 weeks. Of course it might not be over by then, but it might start to get better by then. Also, it might be foreseeable in which direction the pandemic is going by then.

Please stay safe my friends, especially in all those areas with a high number of cases. Also be careful, as people are unpredictable when panicked. Stay home as much as you can, until this “storm” has passed.

Lots of love from us all ❤

Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · The Cats

March 17, 2018 And again we have to wait some more

Hello, awesome friends and furends!

This was the backyard this morning. It had started to snow again.

Winter seems to come back to Europe again. After endless rain on Friday and Saturday, the temperatures are dropping again and icicles are forming.

On Friday, Ralph’s papers came back from the legalisation office in the UK. We’ve been really waiting for them so much, as the legalisation of all 3 documents would have meant for us that we could have gotten married finally. I say “would” because as I opened the envelope with my heart beating heavily and my hands shaking, I saw a letter right away, explaining that they were unable to legalise all documents.

Oh no! Sigh…

They were able to legalise and put an Apostille on Ralph’s birth certificate and his divorce paper, but not the marriage certificate that Ralph got as it is from the registrar in England back then.

Deep sigh…. Some more waiting and hoping then… Again.

But there’s no giving up!

So on to yet another bureaucratic hurdle to overcome:

Ralph has to fill out a form online, on the UK gov site, to apply for a new marriage certificate from his previous marriage, which will then be sent to us. Once it arrives, we have to fill out the form for the legalisation office again, and send the new marriage certificate off to their office in the UK by courier. Again.

You would think it should be enough to have an Apostille for the divorce paper, which is in our opinion, the actually important paper. That divorce paper would not exist if the marriage on the marriage certificate would not have been valid.

But the Graz registrar wants everything certified, legalised and translated, certified of course. I don’t even understand why the Graz registrar even requires the certificate of no impediment (Ehefähigkeitszeugnis) from the British Embassy, who checks the same documents to make sure they’re all genuine, and that Ralph really is free to marry, if one has to have the same documents checked by the British government in the UK as well.

So basically Ralph’s documents have been checked and certified twice. It’s not right, those laws and regulations, as it’s unnecessary and it’s costing a whole lot of money that we would actually need for other things. And it’s costing time, sanity and sleep.

We’re always worried there will be some other bureaucratic hurdle thrown at us at every step.

Oh the certified translations arrived as well in the week before and they did a great job with it.

After getting a new marriage certificate and having an Apostille put onto it should be the last thing now. We can only hope. I definitely lost my usually positive attitude and am now always worried at each new hurdle that we resolve, as there’s always another one thrown at us.

Lol, I kind of see it coming that by the kind of luck we’ve been having, the registrar official who will (hopefully) marry us, is going to be on vacation for a couple of weeks or so, by the time we’ve got all the new paperwork finished.

Writing about those bureaucratic shenanigans and get it off my chest and onto my blog makes me feel a lot better, it always does! But enough of that.

Both of us are fine and well, although our sleep isn’t as good because of the upsets. But we’re totally happy together and we love having a home together with our 3 kitties!😽😽😽

Sonic, Samantha and Murli are all fine, happy and healthy. I’m sure they would love for spring to come finally though. Can’t wait to make our balcony beautiful and cat safe, and make it nice for us and the cats.

For now, they are usually cuddled up in their baskets and / or near the heating 😸

Samantha loves to sleep on and surrounded by valerian root pouches, next to the heater…

Murli likes to sleep in her comfy warm basket.

Or like yesterday, on the round chair in the living room, while I sit at the computer nearby.

Murli also had some fun with boxes. She just loves them!

Little boy Sonic and usually likes to come into bed, surrounded by stringy things 😸

At this very moment, I am already in bed, with Sonic cuddled up on my legs, as I finish writing this post.

Hopefully the next time I have an update regarding us trying to get married, I’ll finally have good news 🙏

Hope you all had a nice weekend! Stay warm and comfy! And lots of purrs and pawhugs!😽😽😽

Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · The Cats

March 5, 2018 Snow, Ice and once more waiting for good news

Hey lovely readers! Here’s the latest of us trying to get married in Graz:

At the moment, we’re waiting and hoping for the best again. Since the registrar requires a certified translation by a court translator for each of Ralph’s documents, and Apostilles (Legalisation) for each of the same documents, we had to try and get that sorted out.

The translations are underway now, and hopefully, we’ll get them back by the end of this week.

For the Apostilles (Legalisation), we had to send Ralph’s original documents off to the UK via courier. We had to fill out an application form online for it and pay. The next morning (Friday), I had the documents shipped to the UK by courier. Now we can only wait and hope that the documents get legalised and that there won’t be any bureaucratic hurdles. If everything goes as it should, they will send the documents with each Apostille back to us by the end of this week.

And if all of that worked out, the last thing to hope for is that the registrar won’t come up with yet another requirement for certified certificates and/or translations.

This is, or should be the last hurdle now and according to the registrar, we can get married as soon as we have the translations and Apostilles. Which would be, or could be next week even! I’m not counting on that though. Until we have everything back and the registrar accepts it all without another request for certificates, I won’t get my hopes up too much.

Ralph and I will finally be able to relax and just enjoy everything after all of that. I will have my mind in the right place again to blog normally, be more cheerful and communicate more with all of you lovely readers.

As for everything else: It’s March, and like almost everywhere in Europe it doesn’t look or feel like it at all. Here in Graz, Austria, the last couple of weeks have been bitterly cold with nights and mornings temperatures between -18°C (-0.4°F) and -15°C (5°F). During the day, the temperatures didn’t go above -5°C (23°F), often it was even colder. We had lots of snow as well.

March 1, 2018 09-58-58
Icicles everywhere.

March 1, 2018 10-02-27
More icicles!

The temperatures increased to around freezing point over the weekend, but it’s been very foggy and overcast.

This was Sunday, the view over the city from the Schlossberg webcam. Today, it looked exactly the same…

It’s mostly for Ralph and the cats that I wish for more warmth. Although it’s lovely and warm in our apartment, and the snow looks beautiful, it’s no fun going outside like that. Ralph is cold a lot more easily than I am.

But even if it’s -100° and raining icicles, Ralph and I will go out to get married if we get our appointment soon! 😂

For now, we’re staying in most of the time. We enjoy being together all the time, every second of it.

Murli is happy, and so are Sonic and Samantha. I’m really looking forward to making our balcony pretty and cat safe, and the windows too. Will be lovely, for the summer breeze to come through the open windows and the open balcony door. All of us will love it!

Everyone in the kitchen
Our kitchen

There will be nice walks in the nearby park, where we can see a bit of the sunset.

March 1, 2018 4:38pm
This is the park near our home.

March 1, 2018 4:38pm
The sunsets will be nice from here

I will do my best to reply to all your sweet comments. Shame on me… It’s normally the first thing I do in the day as soon as I have time. Hopefully, things will get back to normal soon, once we can relax and all the worrying about bureaucrats is over.

Thank you so much, for always being so kind and leaving such wonderful comments on my blog.

The cats, Ralph and I love you all!

 

 

Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · The Cats

February 23, 2018 – News from the registrar, snow and cat pics

Hello dear friends!
First off the good news! Yesterday, the registrar called and informed us that the certificate from the British embassy (German: Ehefähigkeitszeugnis), which verifies that Ralph is legally free to marry me, has been accepted by the Graz registrar office.

What a relief! As I wrote in my previous post, the registrar office told us back then, that the embassy certificate might not be accepted, which came as a total shock to us. The British embassy issues hundreds of these certificates every year in Austria, so we assumed it was a standard thing the Austrian registrar offices deal with often, especially in bigger cities like Graz, which is Austria’s 2nd biggest city.

Anyway, thankfully that worry is now gone, and we’re getting a bit closer to getting married. What remains now, is to get the last batch of bureaucracy sorted out, that they asked of us. We need to get Apostilles for all of Ralph’s English documents, as well as certified translations by a court-approved translator of the same documents. Once this is done, we will send the scans of it all off to the registrar, and then we can finally get married within a few business days.

I don’t really know how long it will take to get this done, but we really hope it won’t be long.

Now it finally seems within our reach. Let’s just hope that the last things can get done easily, without additional bureaucracy, to get the Apostilles that we need. 

In other news… It has been snowing a lot! I haven’t experienced such weather for over a decade or more. We had days with heavy snowfall since the start of the new year. But now, we’ll have snowfall for the next 2 weeks, and the temperatures will drop over the weekend to around -15°C / 5°F according to forecast. 

Here is what it looks like from our balcony, overlooking the backyard and garden.

February 20, 2018 8:23am
Snow in the garden, February 20, 2018

22.02.2018 17-33-57
Snow in the garden, February 22, 2018

22.02.2018 17-31-31
Snow February 22, 2018

Samantha and Sonic watch the snow fall from the windows, but they don’t feel like going out onto the balcony at all. Samantha ran out for a second, curious as to what that “white stuff” on the balcony is, but turned right back around once she realised the “white stuff” is wet and cold. 

Murli, on the other hand, does not care, and still likes to go out onto the balcony with us. Of course, Murli has thick and quite long fur, and Samantha has not got much to keep her warm. Sonic and Samantha are from southern Spain and not used to the cold.

07.02.2018 08-26
Murli does not care about getting snowed on. She wants to watch the birdies!

All three kitties are happy and feel at home. Murli is so much better with the others too and she continues to get better and more relaxed with having other cats around.

17 02 2018 1-38pm
Murli and Samantha

13 02 2018 9-13am
Sonic on the bed, and Murli on the window.

I am so happy to have my Murli girl here with me, in our home, within our little family. We all love our new apartment, our home in Graz. But we can’t wait to finally put just one family name on our door: Whillier. Natascha and Ralph Whillier. It will be such a happy day once we have our long-awaited wedding!

The other thing we can’t wait for is spring and summer! But for now, spring seems a bit far away. The following slideshow shows what it looks like at the moment. It’s the park near our home.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thank you all for reading and for your wonderful and supportive comments, it really made us feel better. I will keep you updated a lot more from now on, as to how things are going with our quest to get married.

As I’m about to go to sleep now, I wish you all a good night. Take care and keep warm!

20 02 2018 10-43am
Murli

20 02 2018 11-04pm
Samantha and Sonic