Hey everyone! I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I posted and that this will be (potentially and most probably) the last post of 2020. What a weird old year this year has been, hey? I hate to wish time away, especially when there’s nothing really that I’m counting down for, but I think I speak on behalf of most people when I say I can’t wait to this year be over and done with. Now I know that COVID-19 isn’t just going to disappear when the clock strikes midnight and we enter the new year, but I think this has just been a very hard year for most people mainly emotionally and financially and we’ve gone long periods of time without seeing family, friends and those most important to us.
This is the longest time I’ve ever gone without seeing my parents and my sister since I managed to return back to the UAE in May, and I have only seen my grandparents once this year on a quick twenty four hour layover back home in FEBRUARY.
So many of my friends have lost their jobs in Dubai and have returned to their home countries or embarked on new journeys elsewhere so it feels like my circle has gotten much smaller here, but I’m also super thankful for those around me who have been like my little UAE family to me.
I am so beyond thankful that I still have a job, I love this job so much and to be back flying, albeit not so frequently and not at all the same, I’m so happy to still be employed and knowing that my company and colleagues are being so resilient in the face of adversity and such unprecedented times. I can’t wait for the moment when it feels like my job is back to “normal” and I’m back exploring the world and making the most of every single layover that is given to me. What I would give to go and eat fresh sushi in Japan, or take in the sights of South America or just be able to “pop home” on a layover and grab those home comforts and squeeze the ones I love.
I know November has been and gone. It’s mad to me that it’s December already, it feels like this year has weirdly flown by even though pre COVID seems a lifetime ago now and the world literally came to a standstill. But, this is how my November roster played out:
Normal Annual Leave
AMM – Amman, Jordan Turn Around
CAI – Cairo, Egypt Turn Around
JFK – New York, USA Layover
TRV – Trivandrum, India Turn Around
We were emailed in October about those with high leave balances needing to use it up before the end of the financial year arrives. I thought I would be moving apartments and had almost 20 days still to use, so I opted to take five days at the beginning of the month as I thought I would be moving apartment and it would just make a lot of things easier. Turns out my move was the most stressful thing in the world and I ended up moving just THREE days before my old lease was up right at the end of November. However, I am so obsessed with my new apartment and have been busy organising and sorting everything out so that we are properly furnished, sorted and settled well before the excitement and busy period of Christmas takes over.
Then I had a block of can use days which all turned to days off, so I went three weeks in between my last flight in October to Delhi and my first flight of November to Amman. And within the space of a week I did my Amman, Cairo and New York flights which was honestly exhausting. I don’t know how I used to do this all the time. Such back to back flying, different timed shifts, actually going out on my layovers and enjoying my time in Dubai too. We couldn’t leave the hotel in New York which was such a shame, but we did catch such a beautiful sunset as we drove from JFK to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge. I’ll take whatever I can get at the moment.
My final flight of the month to Trivandrum was cancelled not long after receiving my roster, so it was just a nice forty flying hours packed into the space of a week for me in November! To those who don’t fly, forty hours doesn’t seem a lot, but forty flying hours in one week is a lot even for “normal” times!
Now we are in December I am on unpaid leave for five weeks. The company has been offering periods of unpaid leave to help with the avoidance of more redundancies. I wasn’t so keen to take it having already done two months unpaid back through April and May, however when I saw it offered for December, which I really didn’t think it would happen with the festive period being one of the busiest periods for any airline, I jumped at the chance and applied. It’s my boyfriends 30th birthday at the beginning of December, obviously we have Christmas, my birthday is on the 29th and we also have New Year’s Eve. I really didn’t want to be flying on any of these occasions, nor on a layover stuck in a hotel room on my own unable to leave. As we can’t swap days off at the moment, if you were flying you would be flying no matter what. So I applied and my application was accepted around a week later. So right now, I’m sat in my new apartment, I have my Christmas playlist on whilst I drink a cup of tea and try and come up with some sort of a plan for my December.
I am still completely undecided or not whether to fly back home to the UK. The UK is currently in a second lockdown which is due to end tomorrow, and then they will return to a tier system with different cities in different tiers which state whether or not things will be open, and what restrictions are in place for visiting friends/family etc. All my family and friends have been placed with the highest restrictions so I’m unsure whether or not it is worth my while to go home to just be stuck at my parents house, unable to do anything. Things are a lot easier here in Dubai and I feel like I have some form of normality even with the precautions still in measure at the moment. It would be great if my family could come out to Dubai and we can enjoy some time together! We shall see what happens anyway. Regardless of whether or not I travel, I will be spending my Christmas in Dubai this year which I’ve only done once! I didn’t enjoy it back in 2015, so hopefully this one turns out better than expected!
And that wraps up 2020. Check out the screenshot below to see how limited my flying has been this year in comparison to previous years. I’ve done a quarter of the flights this year (57 total flights) in comparison to 2018!
So wishing everyone a happy holidays, Merry Christmas and a very healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!