Crazy emotions on Jeddah-Dubai flight
I don’t know if it happens to you too, but for some months now the emotions have been spinning like balloons, aimlessly, as if they had no path to follow and not even a destination to reach.
My personal experience began like this: last March I was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where I was working for the first international film festival ever to exist in Saudi Arabia: a new, incredible experience and with a very close-knit group of colleagues. Taking care of the international guests, towards the end of February I began to receive the first cancellations of participation, until the festival management decided to cancel the event scheduled for March and postpone it, without knowing that we would go towards a year of global pandemic, which is affecting the whole world, with no holds barred.
So I anticipated my flight from Jeddah to Dubai and that was the beginning of the pandemic for me: when I arrived at the airport wearing a mask and gloves, I looked at people and tried to keep my distance, until it was my turn to get on board. It took a few minutes to understand that there was something strange, absolutely unique: the flight was empty, we would have been 5 people in total. ” I started to panic, I struggled to breathe, I tried not to attract attention, I would have loved to cry, but if I mentioned to blow my nose they would have thought I was sick, so I hold back the tears, the screams and I went to the bathroom every 20 minutes, there I vented. Then I took my cellphone and checked if I had wifi and thank goodness, there was! Wifi on board seemed like a dream to me! I wrote to my father and my boyfriend, who responded immediately and kept me company for the duration of the flight: I am very lucky I guess!”
Arrived at my destination I exited the airport without any problems and went to my house, where I felt miraculous. I did not understand this flow of emotions but it is precisely because of the uncertainty and the fact of not knowing what was happening that scared me: the thought of being stuck in Saudi Arabia without the possibility of returning home gave me panic attacks for 3 consecutive hours during the flight: I thought I was dying! In the following days the situation became clearer but the attacks showed no signs of stopping: I used to wake up in the middle of the night and running to the bathroom to wash my face and calm down. Little by little I realized that all my plans fell through: bringing my parents to New York, working as a freelancer. Many people were dying around the world from a virus called Corona.
I have never panicked, especially at work, although working in events, I have always reasoned and solved problems in a sudden and decisive way but without losing my temper. This situation was different, bigger than me, uncontrollable. They started closing the borders, my visa was canceled, I extended it at my expense to be able to stay in Dubai, but in July I returned to Italy for a couple of months, where I interviewed to work in Milan. It was all so strange, but slowly I realized that I could not give up years of effort and leave the country that gave me the most opportunities, where I earned a home and started a sedentary life. So I booked a flight and went back.
Almost immediately I was lucky enough to become co-founder of a startup called Travelini, and I threw myself into it. Even today, 10 months after that flight, I struggle to understand this strange virus, but I’m fighting it: I got the first dose of the vaccine and we hope it will protect myself and the others! And you? How are you living this period? Have you had any major losses? How are you coping with isolation and distance from loved ones? Job loss? I would like to be able to talk about it to share stories, emotions and maybe all together find the way to better face this situation.