Heidi Trautmann

1088: Christmas and End-of-the-Year-Letter 2020


Dear Family, dear Friends,


one day, this year of 2020 will become known as the Corona Year, I am sure. It actually started so promising and exciting but then the news of the virus hit us worldwide like a bomb. The world became a mathematical formula with the Covid-19 virus as common denominator and immediately became our common enemy.

A common enemy unites, unites in a positive and a negative way. Strange, isn’t it?

Does this not also apply for politics? Consider it for a moment. If a politician wants to enforce something, he will - to collect votes - first of all create a common enemy and he will no doubt succeed, we have seen it happen. What do people need a common enemy for?  Because they need someone to blame for their own misery, their own incompetence. 

The first shock lockdown actually was caused by German tourists arriving on the island and one of them died during their quarantine of 14 days. Insecurity and fear set in, streets were deserted, no bus or taxi service, no pedestrians, only dogs and cats taking over the roadway; no planes roaring over our roofs and I was able to hear the roosters crow from the nearby village.  After two to three weeks the air became clean, the sky more brilliant, so I could see the entire mountain range from one end to the other in all details.  I started to take pictures of the sunsets from my Eagle’s Nest recording the exact time, and I shared them with my friends. Awesome to see how the road of the sun setting remarkably moved to the South each day. The sun, but also the moon, kept me good and daily company, and friends were waiting for the newest sun stories every evening. 

I started to bake bread, all the ingredients for rye bread I had at home and I sent the photo and the recipe to my moaning, deeply bored and unhappy friends. My elder friends, however, reported with an audible smile, that their children, daughters and sons alike, were getting interested in doing some handicraft, also sewing, embroidering, knitting and bread baking.

Cypriots, actually most people of Mediterranean countries, spend their free time outside the house, they love to sit in street cafés, love to go out for dinner, for reasons of communication. They also love walking in the near hills, we have plenty of opportunities for hiking, and now with the complete lockdown social life came to a standstill. We were forced to create from ourselves and it was astonishing to see how well we all succeeded. However, an unusual early heat wave made things very difficult and happy were those who had a pool, myself, as soon as we were allowed out, went to swim in the sea, at 6.30 in the morning.

We were only allowed to do shopping, and any other trips, such as visiting old family members, had to be applied for in writing. Those who did not abide to these rules were arrested. My friends offered to do shopping for me and my neighbours brought freshly made pastry to my door.  Public communication was via radio, internet, facebook and so it happened that entire neighbourhoods, agreed to show up on their balconies or at their windows to make music, sing, light candles or flashlights, to give each other hope and courage following the example of the Italians. Also, to thank doctors and medical staff for their work in these weird times.

My various balconies became my extended living room, the daily work and care in my balcony garden gave me the feeling of not being totally alone, there was life all around me.

I gave myself a project, sorted out old life drawings and started to change them into stories, give them a new face, it was exciting. The pandemic influenced me strongly in my choice of colours and theme, a conceptional approach. The obvious changes in social life...I used them, combat zones in the Near East, I used the impact on me in my works; the dramatic explosion in Beirut, I gave it an image….but also the street scenes, when lockdown became easier, with people coming out, young and old people, sitting by the seaside, fishermen with their back to us, pigeons flying.   

In the cultural and art scene nothing budged, shock set in, a desperate situation for artists from the theatre, orchestras and independently working visual artists. Finally, born out of an urgent necessity, I would say, online activities started to be organized worldwide, be it opera, theatre, exhibitions. The big opera houses sold tickets for their online events; museums offered virtual tours through their holy halls free of charge. Tele-education at schools and universities, also education in disciplines like dancing and gymnastics was booming.  Conferences and symposia, political meetings, family gatherings, all happened online; amazing to see what could be made possible.Technology, but also the individual dependence on it, made a big leap. The need for communication was enormous and where there are symptoms of deficiency, the development is running at full speed. 

Seeing all this, I shook my head in wonder and remembered the very first mobile telephone we had on board of our boat Early Bird for many years: it was as big as a suitcase and the range was not more than 20 sea miles from the coast because of the Earth’s curvature and we had to rely on short wave ham radio.

Let me finish this year with these thoughts, and whatever may come up for the rest of the month, I will ignore.

Have peace and health in your house, 

I found these so very true quotes and I want to share them with you…


The Paradoxes of our times

Big houses, small families.

Growing education, but less common sense.

Advanced medicine, but bad state of health.

Landed on the moon and else, but not knowing the neighbours.

High income, but little peace of mind. High IQ, but repressed emotions.

Full of knowledge but without any wisdom. Lots of people but no humanity.


A thoughtful Christmas Time

and a positive Year 2021

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