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Ann Rose von Getreidefeind asked me if I would like to take part in her blog parade on the subject of Celiac Disease and Corona for a year. I was happy to say yes.
My start into the pandemic was probably different from that of other coeliacs. Because I was just in Costa Rica and had already traveled around the world for about 15 months. Just as I was planning my journey via the San Blas Islands through Panama to Colombia, Covid-19 came around the corner.
I had already written to a tour provider who confirmed that gluten-free food is not a problem on the 4-day island hopping tour, as it is cooked by the locals on the islands and they do not have any wheat etc. on the islands but local products, primarily fruit and vegetables and if flour, then corn flour.
How Covid-19 took me back to Germany
I was just in La Fortnuna when I met Germans who had found out from their travel agency that all islands in Panama will be closing due to Corona, and soon the borders will be closed too. A day later I met Swiss people who had already seen empty supermarkets and wanted to flee from Corona and who had quickly booked a two weeks’ vacation. But they too began to talk about their flights, whether they could still take place. At the time I hadn’t noticed much about Corona. I saw pictures, memes, etc. about Corona here and there via social media. I also asked my family whether it was really that bad with bulk purchases in Germany. It was the beginning of March 2020.
In the hostels you could only hear “Corona” and “Covid”, all backpackers got stress with their flights, whether they were onward flights or flights home. My mother also said I should come home. I didn’t want to yet. I wanted to see more of Costa Rica and actually to Colombia as well. But I was shortly after convinced. Other backpacker friends, who were still in other countries at that time, said that beaches and hostels were closing and they were afraid of not getting away in time. In Costa Rica, too, it started that only a limited number of people were allowed to enter various national parks.
Traveling without a beach, without a national park, stress, whether you have an accommodation, whether the transport is running and everyone is only talking about Corona, that’s no fun. In addition, I was afraid that someone in my family would get sick, have a difficult course and I would not be able to be there because I could not get a flight. That’s why I decided to fly back to Germany. When I looked for flights, I saw flights over Colombia, USA or Dominican Republic. Shortly afterwards, some were already canceled and the USA had canceled the ESTA visas of some backpackers. Even though I’ve always booked everything myself and got on a bus spontaneously, I now switched to a travel agency in Germany. In the case of canceled flights, I would still have help and more security to get my money back or to find alternatives. It was only thanks to the help that I got the last place on the last regular direct flight from San Jose, Costa Rica to Frankfurt am Main in Germany.
A end to my world traveling after 15 month
The feeling was weird. On the one hand the joy of coming home to the family, on the other hand the traveling was over. The journey that changed my life. The life where I could spontaneously decide what to do during the day, where the sun was shining every day, I became more self-confident, learned how progressive and simple other countries are with regard to celiac disease.
I still had a few days to go back and looked at several places and also got to know great people. I went on another bike ride, went to national parks and saw sloths and went swimming in the sea for a last time.
When I left, I had already imagined that when I come back, my family will be at the airport and give me a warm welcome. Well, then came Corona. After 15 months I came back to Germany, which received me with rain. I had to take the train to my brother’s apartment on my own, he had hidden the key there and went shopping, and then the quarantine began.
My brother was with his girlfriend and I had the apartment to myself. My brother was awesome. It feels like he bought the gluten-free shelf empty in the supermarket and placed it in his kitchen as a reception. Since it is usually a kitchen that contains gluten, I disinfected everything first.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have my toasterbags because the plane had forgotten all the luggage in Costa Rica and because the pandemic, it took almost a week for my backpack to arrive at my brother’s apartment.
The new life with the pandemic
During the quarantine, I had my 31st birthday, which I celebrated alone with my family via video call. I had baked myself a cake and everyone was doing a cocktail lesson and drank mojitos.
After Easter, in April, my mother picked me up. Before leaving, I had given up everything. Actually, I wanted to apply before my return trip and decide where to move based on the new job. Due to Corona, I hadn’t done this like that. So I moved into the old child’s room at home. After so long, of course, arguments were inevitable. Because of the pandemic, I first went to further training because there weren’t any vacancies anyway and with a break of about 2 years, I had even fewer chances.
It was also a big change for my mother and her boyfriend. Not only that I was there, but also suddenly a coeliac was in the household. I was constantly criticizing that something got contaminated. In addition, there isn’t that much choice when it comes to delivery services in my home city.
But all in all, I think that time has strengthened my relationship with my mother again.
Golfing was also part of settling in again in Marburg. Finally there were people of the same age in the club, so I spent almost all of my free time on the golf course. As long as there was no lockdown, we sat on the golf terrace for long evenings. So it came about that I gave the golf restaurant a crash course on coeliac disease and can now eat there and feel safe.
At some point my friends started to bake sourdough bread. Since I was in contact with my Austrian friends a lot, I first tried the original recipe from Öfferl as a gluten-free variant. This worked better than expected, but I wasn’t completely satisfied. While looking for gluten-free recipes, I found Lena’s sourdough bread recipe and was absolutely thrilled. From then on I baked a lot of Lena’s blog and especially the sourdough bread.
There were only small breaks in between because I had discovered the Maisterei. 100% gluten free, but so tasty you won’t even notice it’s gluten free. That it is so good that my mother often asked me when I would order again and whether I could order her a bread as well.
At the beginning of 2021 I was still at home in my old room. Meanwhile I had gained at least 5 kg, although I did sport almost every day. With the aim of eating a little healthier again and to match the “Veganuary”, I ordered cookbooks from Deliciously Ella. Almost until March I cooked only Ella’s recipes and noticed that a healthy, balanced diet does not directly mean losing weight.
Another highlight was the pizza stone that I got for Christmas. Even though I was trying to lose a bit of weight, I couldn’t help but eat a gluten-free, homemade pizza every week on my cheat day.
It even happened that my family was often jealous because they wanted to eat what I got. They said that next time they will also order gluten-free.
All in all, I can count myself lucky because so far I have escaped the suffering that comes with Corona. During this time I was able to get closer to my hometown Marburg, my family and golf. I got the chance for further training and was able to develop immensely in my gluten-free kitchen skills.
In addition, I didn’t have to do bulk shopping because I always got everything. Only once or twice I had bad luck that the yeast for my pizza was empty or that I had to use a different type of pasta than I actually wanted.