In the next few weeks, we'll have stories from people spanning the globe about the lessons they have learnt, courage they have seen, support they have felt and the positivism that we so very much need in 2020.
A story from Hong Kong:
Like so many millions of others around the world, my life has been turned upside down by this pandemic. On the verge of starting an exciting new job in a new country, all the grand plans I had for my adventure were brought to a sudden halt with the global, chaotic arrival of Covid-19. While stuck in transit, newly implemented visa restrictions and closing of airspaces had meant that the project on which I had been employed had been postponed indefinitely. I found myself back in Hong Kong jobless and homeless, having given up both before I left. And while over the weeks that followed I tried to remain positive, there were a few days where I found myself being sucked down a spiralling vortex of self-pity. One such day occurred when I had gone to check out a potential new place to live on Lamma Island. With limited resources, it was one of the areas I could probably only just afford, but even then the grim reality hit me that any rent amount, no matter how low, was going to be challenging for me now.
Where do I go from here?
I got off the ferry and started walking from the pier to the MTR, close to tears because I had nowhere to go other than back to my best friend’s place, where I was currently camped in her living room and sleeping on her sofa. My pride was in pieces from having to rely on her, other friends and my family to house me until I knew what to do with myself, and where to go from here.
Turning the corner of life
And then I turned the corner and - as if on cue - saw this man huddled away in a corner of the pier, lying on a thin, flimsy mattress of flattened boxes with only an umbrella to protect him from the elements. It was then that I realised how lucky I am that I have friends and family to rely on, and that I would never be in a situation where I would have to sleep on cardboard. That tonight I will be safe and warm on my best friend’s sofa, there is food in the fridge, and I have more than the basics of what I need. That the worst thing that could ever happen to me would be to be really and truly alone, with no one to ask for help, but I have had so many lovely friends reach out to offer help in various forms, whether it be home-cooked meals, or loans, or even places to stay until I get back on my feet. And, of course, my amazing family, who offered all of the above, and have been loving and unconditionally supportive throughout all of this.
In the midst of all this upheaval, and at a time when people are losing so much in terms of jobs, money, and tragically even loved ones, I remember how much I still have. And I am grateful.
Appreciating the present