/ expat tips

A look back at 2020: what a year!

The 2020 is the year everybody will remember forever and probably for a lot of reasons. Some of them are probably directly and/or indirectly related to the pandemic of Covid-19.

One year has passed and even if I have moved some important steps in my private life (buying my apartment for example) I have the feeling that I have lost a lot of time and opportunities. On one hand it looks like the year has just started and on the other it seems it is never ending.

But let’s try to have a look at this year from a different perspective, so not only personal, but also how some of the events impacted our life or “simply” our approach to life and thoughts. Unfortunately there are mainly bad events to mention.

We ended 2019 and started 2020 knowing Australia was burning, a total of 47 million acres have gone together with 34 human lives and probably many more animals. I guess we all have in mind the images of firemen helping small koalas for example. We thought nothing worst could happen and while sharing how to help and support Australian dealing with this horrible event, we started to look (again) at the British Royal Family questioning ourselves if we would ever have leave all the privileges as Prince Harry did after “Megxit”.

Between February and March the coronavirus pandemic started to be “real” also in Europe, even if it was already a cruel reality in China since, we don’t know anymore how long. Lockdown became the word most used everywhere. What about our freedom? The new normal and so on. No, I don’t need to tell more about it, but I want to focus on what we have learned, if we have (this is a big “if”): distance, fear, missing were the feelings of everyone. Who lives far from the family, expats and none, have experienced (and still are) what real distance is, thanks God we have technology!

Pandemic gave us the opportunity to focus on what we have and to think about what are the priorities in life. In a, always more, virtual world we realised how important are the human contacts, we have discovered again the beauty of nature and, hopefully, understood we need to treat it well, “there is not Planet B”. The 2020 also reminded us that we are not yet considered all the same even if we are. Black Lives Matter movement, after the murder of George Floyd, showed how poorly humans can be, how hate and discrimination are still big issues everywhere. November brought us some better news, or at least some hope: Joe Biden won the US elections and Kamal Harris is not only the first woman VP but also the first black woman VP.

How do we have to look at this about-to-pass year, then?

My suggestion is don’t look at the year but to look at yourself, what you have experienced and how do you feel, or even better at how have you felt every time you heard about those news?
Working from home, for the ones lucky enough to keep their job and just “move the office space” gave you the opportunity to do some things you haven’t ever the time to? How much do you miss your colleagues and the interaction with them? Being far from your family, common for expats overall, made you think about how much time do you dedicate to your parents and relatives? Not only considering the time you actually spend there with them, but the quality of calls and messages and so on…

Satisfaction about life, do you do what you like? Do you have time or make time to travel, read a book, have a walk, go to the gym, grab a coffee with friends, play with your kids or whatever else you like? I told myself I would make a list answering these questions and what I’ll get from that will become my resolutions for the next years. Yes, I do want a new normal, but it must be better than the old one!