What is so disappointing about society

In a call, we asked readers to tell us how they experienced 2020 and how they are now looking to 2021. More than a hundred people have written to us and told us about disappointments, surprises, sadness and joy. Most of the stories, the retrospectives and outlooks had one thing in common: a strong confidence and a willingness to accept changes and make the best of the situation. We have compiled a selection of the texts (shortened and edited) for you.

Goodbye America, Grüß Gott Austria

"In order to deepen my studies, I wanted to do an internship in South Carolina, USA, from March onwards. I had been working towards this for more than a year. The news that the borders with the USA had been closed shocked me very much. Since I was now packed." Standing with suitcases on the street, I was initially frustrated and with no prospects in the shared flat of my partner in Munich.

With the money I had saved for the long trip, I bought a professional camera and used my new hobby for daily walks in the fresh air. In May I moved into a room in a shared apartment in Bochum, where I made new friends and could pursue my studies. My internship was postponed to October. However, the past taught us to be prepared for anything, so I applied for an internship in Austria.

Finally, the US announced that entry for students would no longer be possible this year. I was very disappointed and upset. Fortunately it was said 'Good bye America, Grüß Gott Austria'. I have been photographing the beautiful nature in Austria since the beginning of October.

Over the course of this year, events have made me despair at times. Constantly hoping for a dream drains strength. Nevertheless, I have a balanced balance for the year because the time has brought me to new hobbies, new friends and an internship near my partner. Hope and disappointment are sometimes very close together. " Mirco Cipris, 31 years old, Goch am Niederrhein / Hallein, Austria

Lonely in Nairobi

"I currently live and work in Nairobi. When the virus reached Kenya in the spring, many of my friends and acquaintances left the city because they feared infection and inadequate medical care in the country. Public life has already become massive in around 20 confirmed cases shut down, restaurants and bars, schools and churches had to close.

Since mid-March, I've been in the home office most of the time. Spending the whole day alone at home was strange and very difficult for me. The cold, rainy weather in Nairobi and the tightened security situation did not allow outdoor activities, which led to the ceiling falling on my head at home. And if the supplier who brings your purchases is your only social contact for the most part for months, that changes something in you.

I think it was during this time that I got to know the true definition of loneliness. I often felt sad and alone, had trouble falling asleep, and wasn't sure what to do with myself. The only bright spots during this time were my family and great friends in Germanywho asked about me and kept cheering me up. I am very grateful for that, especially considering that many of them were themselves in difficult situations at the time.

Fortunately for me, the situation improved in late summer, when the easing of the measures brought my everyday life back in order, at least in part. The most important lesson I have learned from the pandemic is that I should value everyday things, as small as they may be, more. A warm hug from a friend; the freedom to travel to different places; yes, even the daily drive to the office, I often sorely missed all of these things in 2020. Ultimately, I was able to draw a lot of strength for new things from my personal low point. " Miriam Müller, 24 years old, Nairobi, Kenya

Finally enjoying my job again

"The year 2020 started for me as it ended in 2019: with a lot of work. In the years before, I had had to put up with some health setbacks that had led to me working in an environment in which I was not one hundred percent I quit my job in a well-known pastry shop and signed an employment contract in the hotel industry. A great position in an upscale house - my dream job. With one catch: At the beginning of 2020 I was burned out.

Then came the lockdown. Instead of starting my new job in mid-April, I stayed at home for now. And finally I was able to relax properly, without a guilty conscience. I slept in, buried myself in books and handicrafts, and did nothing for a while that was in any way related to my job. Two weeks became four and four weeks became two months. Then it was said that I would start at the beginning of July. I was recovered a little and felt fit again. But it turned out differently.