An epic journey to dose 1

I am happy to report, dear reader, that yesterday I received my first dose of the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine! Hooray!

You may have heard me talk about the lack of vaccines here in Germany, the poor disbursement, the need to send vaccines to more places in the world and the call for releasing of patents. All still true. And while Germany is slowly but surely upping its vaccine game and more people are getting vaccinated, it is still a journey to get it to happen here. There is more hope and yet our work is still a ways a way to being done. There is so much to do.

That being said, because I am a nanny here, the family that I work with figured out that I am actually in a higher priority group BUT their physician is in a village in the Harz mountains and when they talked with her, she told me she could do it. This means an epic journey twice but also, worth it. This also means that it is dependent on the government still sending her doses which we talked about. As she said as she waved her hand in the air, “Politics!” I agree.

Yesterday I got up at 4am to catch the 4:40am bus to the train station. My train left the station at 5:49am.

Happy but tired I got on the train where there was just one other person in the entire train car. With our medical masks on we took our seats. I, for a great deal, upgraded to first class (more seat room is what that means) and enjoyed my look out the window as the sun rose.

I got off the train an hour and a half later in the town called Wolfsburg. I had to wait just a little bit before the family that I work with picked me up in their car. Woflsburg is home to the VW factory. It is what this town is known for. Most of the town is industrial in nature and really centers around the factory, including a huge car sculpture as you leave it.

From there, I was driven to the town of Blankenburg in the Harz mountains. Sebastian, William’s Dad (the kiddo I care for) is from this town. The family lives here half time. It is the same town that Sabastian’s mom lives in as well. Oma is a fan fave with this family (and with me too). I was greeted with coffee (Oma knows that I like coffee) and we hung out there a bit to reorient and to play. Over the weekend we discovered my appointment was at 11:15am.

I got a tour of the town and the local Schloss and gardens. It is a beautiful little town surrounded by lovely nature. It is hard to believe but we had the whole gardens to ourselves as we wandered the grounds. Lovely.

Pretty soon it was time for our appointment (Laura, William’s mom, received her second dose in her doctoral priority). We waited for our turn and when it was time to see the doctor, I was almost in tears. This moment gets me that much closer to hugging my family. This seems like a miracle in the making and my tears also held hope for others here and beyond, the tears held sorrow for places like India that have unimaginable grief over a whole nation of people and desperately need vaccinations. The tears acknowledge the privilege of this moment and how even though I have waited this long, there are so many more places and people that desperately need this moment too.

The needle went in and the doctor looked at me and said, “It’s ok! It all will be ok!” She could see my face full of fears, hopes, relief and a full range of emotions that in that very short time that the needle went into my arm and held such possibility. We chatted in her office for the next 20 minutes to watch our reactions and then it was time to be off again. To wait and see what happens. I have an appointment for June 1 if the doses arrive for me to receive.

We left and got food to take back to Oma’s house and we ate with such hunger and relief. I had to be in Braunschweig by 4:30pm so I had a few hours to play with William and relax and make sure that I didn’t any big reactions before making the trek home.

Braunschweig is a 45 minute drive from Blankenburg. Sebastian drove me to the train station and with everything in hand I got to the platform and gratefully got on the train to bring me back to Berlin. For the hour and a half train ride I reflected on this journey of the day, what it means to me, how crazy this time is and how the world will never return to normal. All we can do is start to step into a totally different world. We have so much further to go! And at the same time, the fields still bloom and the greens are so green.

I got back to the train station and back on a bus and a few hours after I left Blankenburg I was back at home. Tired and with a bit of a headache but also so grateful to come home to my partner and pups. Today has wiped me out, which is what I hear is a common side effect and Ana keeps accusing me of not being able to rest but I can just take it all a step at a time.

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