I have no idea when September became December. All the days are blending together. Here lockdown lite is turning into a full-on shutdown, it’s a wonder I managed to get Alana on her way back home.

As our extra for the last two years, it was a bittersweet goodbye yesterday. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed hearing the girls laughter ringing out, even at all hours of the night, from the girls “dorm” room. Our little experiment as a mini university-of-three turned out to be a good one. All three uni kids did well. Despite remote learning, having others in the same boat, in the same house, helped make a rough semester easier.

This past week we’ve been boxing up Alana’s stuff, including gifts for her siblings & parents. Luckily APO-to-APO is free (military mail), and it meant a lot less for her to manage. As is, she had two suitcases and a backpack to wrestle on several trains and two planes. Thankfully we were able to board the train to Frankfurt with her and help her get settled. This train, a train we’ve taken often, is usually crowded. I’ve had to sit on the floor, it’s been so crowded. This time, she was one of three passengers in her carriage.

Her plane to Seoul is pratically empty. I don’t think the true depth of the pandemic sinks in until you travel. The dearth of people is disconcerting. It drives home the massiveness of the impact this tiny virus is having on our entire planet. It is paralyzing.

I worried getting home. Since Wednesday we’ve had a curfew of 9:00 p.m. I haven’t had a curfew since I was a teenager, even then it was midnight. Not 9:00 p.m.! The stress was intense! Luckily I made it home with hours to spare. Sadly, starting tomorrow, even that curfew becomes tighter. I will need to be in by 8:00 p.m. and it looks like none of the fun we had yesterday will even be possible.

Because. Tess & I did take advantage of being in downtown Stuttgart. We wandered the streets, admired the lights, admired the tiny handful of Christmas booths, grabbed some Asian street food & managed to buy winter boots for Dane. Whose feet will not stop growing. And for Tess, who has inherited her mothers love of shoes.

Shopping was fabulous! There were few people. No lines. And a very welcome break to the walls inside my home. Yesterday was a stark contrast to today. Today when all I see are the four walls in my home. There is no laughter ringing through the halls. Each child is quietly holed away in their own room. There is a room for each of us. All to ourselves. And the loneliness is oppressive.