WOW! What a surreal year! I can’t even believe I just lived and survived through everything that was 2020! I was at least fortunate to get to kick off the year at home in Chicago… little did I know at the time though, that would be how I would spend most of the year! In 2019, I flew 330 flights, but in 2020, I didn’t even fly half of that, as I flew a total of 156 flights through 40 airports across just 3 countries (U.S., Mexico, & Costa Rica), 25 states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. It has been bitter sweet nonetheless spending more time on the ground in 2020 than I have in the past 5 years.
In January I flew 31 flights and solo traveled around Costa Rica for my vacation time! I flew into San Jose, spent a couple of days there including a day trip to Tortuga Island on a catamaran boat, and then ventured on a stifling hot bus ride for 7 hours to the beautiful Tamarindo Beach, where I spent most of my time relaxing on the beach, drank lots of fruit smoothies, ate lots of seafood, and met lots of interesting people at the multiple hostels I stayed at. I had such an incredible and unique experience exploring Costa Rica!
One of my favorite days was when I went on a Guachepelin Adventure which included tubing down the Rio Negro River with class III rapids, zip lining and rappelling through the Rio Blanco Canyon, a horse back riding adventure where a girl was flung into barb wire, and then finished the day relaxing in volcano-heated thermal waters, steam, and a mud bath at the Rio Negro Hot Springs after eating a delicious lunch at the Hacienda Guachipelin Restaurant!
Meanwhile, Australia was experiencing brush fires that were ravaging the country; Trump ordered the killing of Qasem Solemani which almost erupted in World War 3 (01/03); Prince Harry and Megan Markle stepped down as Senior Royals on 01/08; a Ukrainian plane was struck by an Iranian missile killing 176 passengers and crew (01/08); the first case of COVID-19 in the USA was discovered on 01/20; Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi along with several others were killed in a helicopter crash on 01/26; and the UK withdrew from the EU on 01/31. Whew!
Fortunately, the worst that happened to me in January was leaving all of my carry on items on my flight from Liberia, Costa Rica to Miami due to helping another passenger with their luggage and wasn’t allowed to get back to the plane to get my belongings due to U.S. Customs. Therefore I had to spend the night in the Miami Airport in a hard fought battle to get my suitcase back, but failed to get the hat I bought in Costa Rica back. Oh well…
In February, I worked a whopping 37 flights and traveled to several cities across the USA, including Charlotte, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Buffalo, Newark, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Ft. Myers, Tampa, Hartford, Washington D.C., Miami, Denver, Atlanta, New York, and Austin. Highlights included having Alicia Keys on one of my flights and I attended one of my best friend Tori’s Bachelor party in New Orleans at the end of the month! Little did I know at the time the magnitude of how much a deadly virus known as COVID-19, was spreading and beginning to cause the world to shut down.
Tori’s Bachelor party in New Orleans was very eventful… lots of heavy food, hurricane drinks, long nights out on Bourbon & Frenchmen Street, and even a swamp tour through 20,000 acres of cypress swamps on an air boat where we saw gators and had a very entertaining tour guide, who himself had been attacked by a gator before. I also got to visit my cousin Kara and her boyfriend Bo and their awesome son, Trey at a crawfish boil… if you have not been to an authentic crawfish boil in Louisiana, I highly recommend it! Little did I know, this would be my last social gathering for the year!
Meanwhile, in other news, Locusts swarmed across East Africa; Trump was impeached, but acquitted on 02/05; the first “recorded” death from COVID-19 in the USA was on 02/06; the Oscars continued on 02/09 with Parasite winning Best Picture while COVID deaths surpassed SARS on the same day; Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy amid hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits, suspending those claims on 02/18; the first major coronavirus outbreak in Europe in Italy with 152 cases and three deaths occurred, which prompted emergency measures, locking down 10 towns in Lombardy on 02/23; and then Harvey Weinstein was finally found guilty of rape on 02/24! African American Ahmaud Arbery was shot to death after being chased down by two white men in Brunswick, Georgia on 02/25. So much happened in the months of January and February, I had a bad feeling that the year was not heading in a very positive direction, to say the least. I didn’t completely lose hope though, until March!
In March… I worked 19 flights and was stressed out of my mind as the world really started to shut down because of COVID-19. I had inquired about wearing face masks while working flights, but was not permitted to do so, as the CDC had not yet recommended the public to wear face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 as a way to preserve face masks for health care workers. I became very overwhelmed while working flights around the USA and Mexico, that I felt it was only a matter of time until I would get infected with the virus.
On March 8th, America registered 521 cases of COVID-19 with 21 deaths across 33 states, yet travel continued and no action was taken by the government to slow down the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, on March 9th, Italy announced it was locking down their entire country due to the spike in coronavirus COVID-19 cases with 10,040 cases and 630 deaths. Finally on March 11th, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the head of the World Health Organization, as 121,564 cases had been reported world wide resulting in 4,373 reported deaths. On the same day, the NBA suspended the basketball season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Since the NBA season was halted, everything else began to cancel. It wasn’t until March 13th when President Trump declared a national emergency. On that same day, Breonna Taylor was murdered by police officers in Louisville, Kentucky while she was at home sleeping and awoken by under cover police busting down her apartment door, which later led to national protests.
As the world began to gradually lock down due to the coronavirus COVID-19, flights continued to fly which meant I had to continue to fly as I increasingly became worried about my health and safety. On March 19th, the USA-Canada border was closed to non-essential travel and California began stay at home orders with 910 cases and counting spreading through the state. By March 23rd, the World Health Organization reported that the virus was spreading more rapidly as the first 100,000 cases took 67 days, the second 100,000 cases took 11 days and the third 100,000 cases took just 4 days. By March 26th, American cases of COVID-19 exceeded all other countries, with 81,578 cases and 1,180 deaths. The next day, a $2.2 trillion stimulus package was signed into law.
Sure enough, on March 29th, the inevitable happened as I began symptoms while on a layover in Miami… the same day disease expert Anthony Fauci warned 100,000 to 200,000 people could die from COVID-19 in the USA. I started struggling to breathe, experienced severe migraines, had hot flashes, and became very achey and fatigue. At the time, I feared the worst but hoped I was just being a hypochondriac. These symptoms though would worsen and go on to last for the next 6 months on and off … which explains why I didn’t work flights in April, May or June. I had to call out sick for multiple flights in April before I was cleared for the “Pandemic Leave” that my job was offering for two weeks of paid leave which covered me for the remainder of April.
Fighting COVID while being in isolation at home in Chicago made for an extremely tough April, little did I know, things weren’t going to get any better just yet.
On April 1st, not only was Wimbledon canceled for the first time since World War II, but Trump said the US Strategic National Stockpile was almost depleted amid widespread shortages of medical equipment to fight COVID-19. By April 2nd, the number of COVID-19 cases surpassed one million world wide including 51,485 deaths, all while Brazil’s President downplayed the virus by saying “it’s not all it’s made out to be”, a similar sentiment as that of Trump. On April 3rd, US aircraft carrier captain Brett Crozier was cheered off his ship after being fired for a letter demanding more help for his sailors infected with COVID-19. Every single day in April, life around the world just seemed to deteriorate day by day as I personally battled the virus. It was a very challenging month for me in particular as I had zero in person interaction with anybody and continued to struggle breathing day in and day out with no medical assistance aside from an inhaler, Olbas Oil, and Tylenol.
As my trouble breathing became worse and worse, I finally couldn’t take it anymore and went to Northwestern Medicine Emergency Room with hopes of getting tested for the virus so that way I could get excused from work and not have to keep burning up my sick hours at work. In doing so, I not only was denied a test due to having no previous health conditions and not being over the age of 65, but I was then billed a hefty Emergency Room bill since Northwestern Medicine refused to code my bill as COVID related since I technically didn’t get tested, but I did get diagnosed by the doctor as being COVID positive due to my symptoms and vitals. I would go on to fight that bill hanging over my head for the next 6 months in fear it would be sent to collections.
By April 23rd, Trump unbelievably and foolishly suggested injecting bleach into the human body as a way to fight the virus. Meanwhile, the USA’s case count surpassed one million on April 28th and reached 58,365, surpassing the amount of US soldiers killed during the Vietnam War. As soon as I thought the situation couldn’t get worse in the US, sadly I was very wrong. With failed leadership and no end to the virus in sight, I feared for my future. My health took a steep decline and the airline industry began to drastically take a financial hit, putting my job on the line.
On May 1st, armed protestors against stay-at-home orders gathered at the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan as Governor Gretchen Whitmer reinstated a State of Emergency. Trump called the protestors very good people through tweeting, further encouraging the protests. On May 4th, world leaders pledged $8 billion to research treatments and a vaccine for coronavirus, with the exception of the US and Russia. Meanwhile, on May 5th, global confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached 3.65 million, while US cases surpassed 70,000 cases.
Fast forward to May 25th, a man by the name of George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis by police officers kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. This tragedy wasn’t shocking, but the video footage of him being murdered was beyond horrific and sent shockwaves around the world. Protests erupted everywhere and although I felt like I was being dragged into hell by the lingering symptoms of COVID-19, I couldn’t just sit in silence and knew the right thing to do was to join in the fight for human rights and equality. I felt very angry, yet very motivated to get up, put on my face mask, and join in the peaceful protests and marches that occurred here in Chicago.
I marched for hours upon hours, days upon days, weeks upon weeks… alongside fellow Chicagoans, to do whatever I could to do what was right, not just for George Floyd, but for the many other Americans like Breonna Taylor, Ahmuad Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and the list of names sadly goes on and on. On a more positive note, I had never been so uplifted and inspired by the millions of people across the world that stood up for what was right and who joined each other in demanding law enforcement accountability, human rights, racial justice, and a much, much need for complete societal change.
On June 1st, Trump threatened to employ the military to quell protests across the country sparked by the death of George Floyd, then walked with staff to St. John’s Church to pose for a photo, resulting in having armed forces tear gas and beat protestors in the street. On June 3rd, former Defense Secretary James Mattis says in The Atlantic: “Donald Trump is the first President in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tried to divide us.”
By June 10th, statues of Confederate figures and explorers became the focus of protests, with many removed including of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and of Christopher Columbus, thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement. By June 18th, global coronavirus cases surpassed 8,421,357 with a death toll of 451,118 according to Johns Hopkins figures. Despite the global pandemic ravaging the US, Trump held a re-election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20th. One of his many super spreader events. By June 23rd, COVID-19 cases rose sharply again in America with the 3rd highest daily total of more than 35,000.
On June 25th, I was interviewed by NBC News’ Regina Waldrup in Chicago in regards to my horrific experience fighting medical bills that I incurred when I attempted to get tested for COVID-19. I still haven’t been reimbursed for the $108 portion of the $915.44 bill that I paid, when 100% of COVID-19 screenings and testings should have been covered by my health insurance through my job, but Northwestern Medicine has failed to return my money that I paid to them. Since being featured on NBC News, I have been contacted by several journalists and producers to share my story and am so beyond grateful that we have so many news outlets in the USA to hold failed systems accountable, like our failed health care system.
I briefly began to feel a little better in July, which is when I flew back to Southern California to celebrate my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary with my family at a vacation home on the Newport Beach peninsula. I hadn’t seen my family in 6 months and after battling COVID, I felt I really needed to see my family. Spending time with my family was exactly what I needed after going through such a scary experience with COVID and feeling like my life was being gradually destroyed by what the virus was doing to my body. Luckily, we had a great time getting to spend quality time with each other and soaking up the sun on the beach and in the water! After the week celebrating my parent’s wedding anniversary, I returned to Chicago since I was scheduled to work 31 flights that month.
Working in July was very challenging! On July 1st alone, the US confirmed more than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day for the first time. On July 7th, Texas recorded more than 10,000 daily cases of COVID-19 for the first time, a time when I had to fly in and out of Texas 4 different times. I carried a pulse oximeter with me everywhere I flew as I continued to have trouble breathing, especially while in the air. I worked a lot on practicing breathing techniques and just tried my best to stay calm. I was terrified to be around people again, but at least I was permitted to wear a face mask and everyone was forced to wear one in order to fly which helped me feel much better protected than I felt back in March. I wouldn’t have been able to get through the month if it wasn’t for ASPIRE healthy energy, providing me all of the vitamins and nutrients my body needs to get me through each flight that I have to work. By July 23rd, US confirmed cases of COVID-19 passed 4 million with the death toll over 143,000. Real number of cases was likely up to 13x higher according to the CDC.
On July 15th, I received a letter warning me that I would most likely be getting furloughed when the Payroll Support Program was set to expire on October 1st. The stress of knowing my future well being was in the hands of politicians, I had a bad feeling that I would most likely be out of work for a while, which was a lot to cope with mentally, all while I was still struggling to recover physically from the residual affects of COVID-19 and still having to battle medical bills with Northwestern Medicine.
August was a slower month for work as the virus continued to spread rapidly, but I did have to go to Dallas for a two day continued qualification training. Global COVID-19 cases passed 20 million. The first 10 million took 6 months, the 2nd 10 million took just 43 days.
I did everything I could possibly do to stay safe. On every single flight I had to report passengers who failed to follow our mandated face mask policy. I at least had the pleasure of working flights to and from Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I got to spend 27 hours hiking, swimming, relaxing in the hot tub, and ate a delicious steak dinner. It was my first time in Wyoming and it was absolutely stunning! Later in the month, I flew to Bozeman, Montana (also a first experience), where I got my first engine photo (sitting in the engine) and got stuck in Bozeman for 6 hours due to a mechanical delay!
I continued having trouble breathing, mostly at night when I would lay down, but I felt my breathing problems were overall not really getting any better, even though I so badly wanted to be able to breathe without having to gasp for air. I was recommended to see an acupuncturist who I began seeing towards the end of August. I went to Division Chiropractic & Acupuncture in Chicago for 5 weeks and gradually started breathing better, thank heavens!
In some more positive news, Joe Biden was formally nominated as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate during the second night of their 1st ever virtual convention on August 18th. In some not so positive news, the same day California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency as 27 fires burned across the state amid a continuing heat wave.
On August 20th, Kamala Harris accepted her nomination for vice-president, becoming the 1st US woman of color on a major-party ticket saying “there is no vaccine for racism”. Unfortunately, on August 23rd the US Republican Party began by formally renominating Trump for a second presidential term. On the same day, US black man Jacob Blake was wrongfully shot and injured by police in front of his children in Kenosha, Wisconsin, prompting more protests.
By August 31st, US cases of COVID-19 passed 6 million with 183,300 deaths with California and Florida recording the most.
Once September rolled around, I knew it would be my last month flying for a while unless Congress could come to an agreement on a second COVID-19 relief bill, which I wasn’t going to hold my breath for. I flew 16 flights, visited home for my mom’s birthday, and tried to make the best of my last days of work! Meanwhile, wildfires had burned a record 2 million acres in California’s 2020 fire season by September 7th, more than the state of Delaware. California’s August Complex wildfire became the largest recorded in state history at 471,000 acres. By September 14th, the WHO reported the largest-ever one day COVID-19 case rise of 307,930, daily death toll of 5,500, and an overall death toll of 917,417. On September 22, America’s death toll passed 200,000, more than any other country. On September 23rd, Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the US November election at a White House press conference.
Getting furloughed from my job was bitter sweet as I needed some time to fully recover from COVID and get away from the virus, but I also was concerned about being able to survive financially as I had no idea how long I would be furloughed for.
In early October, I flew back home to California to vote for the Presidential election (Biden/Harris of course). I spent weeks studying all of the different voting measures and researched all of the different candidates for both local elections and of course the national election. After having experienced the majority of 2020, never in my life did I feel so motivated and empowered to vote. With that said, never in my life has so much been at stake in a presidential election. This election, literally was the difference between life and death for me. Voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris gave me so much hope and excitement for living a better life for everyone, starting January 20, 2021! Although I feared Trump would do anything and everything to rig the election by way of voter suppression, I held onto faith that the majority of American people would do anything and everything to end the disastrous and failed leadership run by Trump.
On October 8th, the FBI charged 13 men with plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmore and storm the Michigan Capitol, an event Trump had incited.
In positive news, the LA Lakers beat the Miami Heat in the NBA finals, the perfect way to honor the life of Kobe Bryant.
On October 17th, Chicago was declared the “rattiest city” in America for the sixth year in a row by pest control service Orkin, a declaration I was less than thrilled about, to say the least! Although I have seen rats running around the city from time to time, I have never seen one in my apartment or building, thank heavens!
Once I returned back to my place in Chicago, I went on a road trip to the beautiful Door County, Wisconsin. Never had I been to Door County before, but I was so excited to get out of the city, away from people and into nature where I could get a breath of fresh air and witness true fall colors. I went with James who booked a cottage on Sturgeon Bay, where we went hiking in Potawatomi State Park, played lots of Pickle Ball at the Bay Shore Inn next door, went to a few apple orchards, had an enjoyable experience wine tasting at Door 44 Winery, and had the pleasure of being able to easily avoid other people! The getaway was exactly what I needed to escape my worries, even if just for a few days!
While enjoying my time on Sturgeon Bay, I excitedly watched the LA Dodgers win the World Series for the first time in my lifetime. The last time the Dodgers won, was less than month before I was born! Ironically, the last time the LA Lakers and LA Dodgers won in the same year, was also in 1988, my birth year!
After my mini getaway to Door County, I had to turn in my work badge/ID credentials by the 31st to officially, but temporarily, cut ties with the company. Once November arrived, the highly anticipated Presidential Election was by far the biggest news. I couldn’t sleep at night leading up to the election on November 3rd, as I was so anxious due to its significance and how it would impact my life in so many different ways. After days of ballot counting, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were officially named the United States President-Elect and Vice President-Elect, respectively, on November 7th, and I was so beyond relieved and elated, I charged the streets of Chicago! While safely celebrating, I ran into CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez, the journalist who was wrongfully arrested while covering the protests in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s murder was shown on social media/TV. It was an honor meeting a journalist who makes the sacrifice of his personal safety and well being in order to share what’s going on out on the ground and in the streets!
On November 8th, global recorded cases of COVID-19 passed 50 million, with the known death toll at 1,245,240 according to John Hopkins data. On the same day, the election was officially called and Kamala Harris made US history as the 1st woman and 1st woman of color to be elected to the vice presidency, giving me lots of hope for a better future! It also happened to be the same day Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani held his infamous Trump Campaign press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia to contest the US election results. Meanwhile, on November 9th, the US recorded COVID-19 cases passed 10 million, with 1 million new cases recorded in 10 days, and a death toll over 237,000. Fortunately, drugmakers BioNTech and Pfizer announced their COVID-19 vaccine to be over 90% effective in a first look at the results from their phase 3 trial involving nearly 44,000 people. By November 14th though, a record global daily total of 660,905 COVID-19 cases was declared to the WHO, with total known infections over 54 million.
On November 15th, Trump tweeted “(Biden) won because the election was rigged,” while still refusing to concede the election, which only fueled Trump’s delusional fan base. In better news, on November 16th US drugmaker Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective in early data.
On November 18th, I turned 32 years old and enjoyed celebrating the day safely at home with James, in Chicago! I was treated to a Jamba Juice smoothie in the morning along with a Cinnabon cinnamon roll! Afterwards, we walked a couple of miles to play Pickle Ball in Lake Shore Park, followed by a polar plunge in Lake Michigan at Ohio Street Beach! Every year on my birthday I like to do something that makes my adrenaline rush, and due to COVID my options were limited, so I hopped in the freezing cold lake! After walking home and taking a warm shower, we relaxed at my place before walking to Fulton Market District where we enjoyed a delicious dinner in a private green house at The Publican Restaurant, where we ate frites with garlic aioli, pork and dumplings with fennel and salsa verde, wild striped bass with red kuri squash, basque pine nut relish & endive, and lastly, country rib with cabbage, coquelicot spice, bosc pear, & pistachio. It was the BEST dinner and I felt extremely lucky to be able to enjoy my birthday during an otherwise challenging time.
Unfortunately, on my birthday the US COVID-19 death toll passed 250,000, recorded cases at 11.5 million, hospitalizations at 76,830 amid a country-wide surge.
Just a couple of days after my birthday, I put on three face masks, a face shield, and equipped myself with lots of hand sanitizing wipes and hopped on a flight home to Southern California to spend a week with my family since my grandma wasn’t doing well in her 5 year battle with cancer and my mom had the week off from work for Thanksgiving. I was hesitant about flying home, but made sure I took every possible safety precaution and felt confident in my safety as I had my own Exit Row on a rather empty flight from Chicago to John Wayne Airport in Orange County.
I’m so grateful I was able to see my grandma one last time before she passed away at home in bed on Thanksgiving Day. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch my grandma pass away, as she has been such a major part of my life ever since she held me in her arms in the hospital room on the day I was born. My grandma was always present throughout my entire life, attended many of my school events, sporting events, and we always enjoyed eating brunch together on the patio of Schooner or Later. She has always been a rock in our family and has always played an active role in getting our extended family together for the holidays. I will forever cherish all of the love and support my grandma provided me and will forever hold onto the endless memories shared with her throughout my 32 years of life. I love and miss you, Nana!
After Thanksgiving, I had to get back to Chicago as I had my first ever flying lesson scheduled in Chicago out of Chicago Executive Airport, on December 2, 2020! James had gifted me the experience for my birthday, a gift I will forever be so beyond grateful for. I rented a Camaro convertible from Enterprise Rent-A-Car (former employer), picked James up, and headed to Wheeling, IL where the Chicago Executive Airport is located. There, I met my flight instructor, Jordan, who was super personable, professional, and made me feel at ease flying a plane for my first time! We jetted off in the late afternoon and flew along Lake Michigan to Downtown Chicago during sunset and it was the most incredible experience! I would love to continue to learn how to fly, but just have to figure out the finances first!
I spent my down time in December trying to improve my health by working out and relaxing at home. Meanwhile, on December 2nd, US Attorney General William Barr said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, despite the continuous claims made by Trump. That same day, the US recorded its largest daily death toll for COVID-19 at 2,885 and for the first time patient numbers in the hospital exceeded 100,000. On December 7th, most of California began a second lockdown as hospitals came under strain and the state recorded an average of 21,000 COVID-19 cases per day. Luckily, by December 11th, America’s FDA authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. On December 14th, American began its first COVID-19 vaccinations using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on the same day it records over 300,000 deaths. On that same day, the US Electoral College votes 306-232 to officially affirm Joe Biden’s presidential election victory, despite Trump continuing to lie to his base that the election was stolen while simultaneously Attorney General William Barr resigned.
I nervously flew back to California for my grandma’s burial on December 16th. I spent almost a week at home playing pickle ball with my family, taking my mom’s fitness classes, babysitting my niece, going on walks to see Christmas decorations, and just making the most of my time home.
We were planning as a family to go to Big Bear Lake in the mountains for a week leading up to Christmas, but due to COVID-19, our plans were squashed as our reservations got canceled. I had planned a week of outdoor activities with the family, but since our accommodations got canceled, I instead took my mom to Big Bear for a day to surprise her with a helicopter tour over the lake and surrounding mountains. It was such an awesome experience and I’m so happy I got to have that experience with my mom!
Since our plans to spend the rest of the week in Big Bear were cancelled, I decided to help my cousin Krista who was planning to move by herself from Denver to Charleston driving a U-Haul about 1,800 miles. My family and I didn’t want her driving all that way in a U-Haul by herself, so I hopped on a couple flights to Denver, packed up a U-Haul truck, and spent a couple days straight driving through Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and finally South Carolina to Charleston, where my cousin bought a house on John’s Island. It was an exhausting adventure, but we made it!
During the drive, we had to pull over in Knoxville, Tennessee where I did a ZOOM interview with CBS This Morning News. A producer had seen an article that was written about my COVID experience and urging Congress to pass a COVID relief bill to help everyone in need and to in turn stimulate the economy. Never did I ever think I’d make my national news debut while sitting in a U-Haul in Tennessee!
I flew back to LA on Christmas Eve, but due to COVID concerns, I stayed masked up and wore a face shield when around my family and just spent Christmas Day at home before flying back to Chicago the following morning! Although I didn’t get to enjoy Christmas brunch with the family, we did play some socially distant pickle ball later in the day and it felt nice getting some exercise!
Upon returning to Chicago, I started shopping for New Years Eve decorations! Although I couldn’t go out and do anything to ring in the new year, I wanted to make it the best possible at home celebration as I don’t think I have ever been more excited for a year to end!
As 2020 concludes, I have never been so relieved. I have come to terms this year with the reality of life and at the end of the day, none of us know why we are here, what our purpose really is, and why we are faced with the challenges that come before us. I have learned to really treasure every second of every day, make the best of every moment we have to experience, and do what we can to spread love, joy, and be there for each other. I’m hopeful for a better future, although I realize there will continue to always be many hurdles to overcome. The day I currently look forward to most, is January 20, 2021. I hope we can come together not only as a country, but as a world, to overcome hate, division, and the demons within the people who try to destroy our democracy and our lives.
Good riddance 2020 and cheers to 2021!