In her 'Dear Covid-19' letter, flight attendant Agnes Eng shares how not being in the air all the time has made her more grounded with her family.
Dear Covid-19 is a memory project by the National Youth Council (NYC) in partnership with DSTNCT, to shed light on everyday life when Singapore came to a standstill as everyone stayed home.
This is a collection of letters to COVID-19 from young Singaporeans from all walks of life, each going through their own struggles and/or victories. The following story was submitted by flight attendant Agnes Eng:
Tokyo, London, Russia, Paris, Melbourne, New York City, Shanghai, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Bombay – the list goes on. And that was my life before you. You have caught me off guard.
The nature of my job led me away from home most of the time and you helped me make up for the lost time with family and friends, so thank you.
Being at home these few months has made me realise several things in my family. Although we are a close-knit one, it feels like I was never really there for the past year and a half.
You made me realise that the food prepared by my mother before my flights was never bought by me. The thick coats and warmers I wore in Russia were never washed by me, but they “magically” became ready for my next adventure.
Mother’s backache became so painful yet I did not know until it became better because I was probably in London having my scones and English tea. She just wanted me to have fun and not worry about her. This broke my heart. But you came along and changed everything.
Now, I partake in the weekly grocery runs and finally experience the pain of lugging the two-litre Meiji fresh milk and yet having to protect the 10 Farm Fresh eggs. I still don’t do the laundry though, but I manage to massage my mother’s back in hopes of soothing her pain.
Now, I have the opportunity to spend 24 hours a day with my family and have our daily 4km walk around the neighbourhood. Dinner at the dining table now happens seven times a week with full attendance and conversations with my sister that go into the wee hours of the morning.
I could not have done these things before you, but you made it possible now, so thank you. But now, my livelihood is taking one big hiatus. It has been three months since my last flight to Germany and the stand-bys that I usually pray to be removed are my silver lining now. Funny how things have taken a turn because of you.
I can barely remember my primary duties when I board the plane and how to navigate through the nozzle-like aircraft. I miss working around the galley and tidying up the sometimes disastrous lavatories. I miss sharing life stories with colleagues for 10 hours straight and attending to passengers with peculiar requests. I miss having breakfast for dinner and embracing the worst sleep schedules. I miss the travel experience and of course, I miss donning the kebaya, my pride and joy.
It is because of you that I have come to seek a deeper connection with my family, to appreciate the joy and tribulations of my job and to reflect upon the fragility of life.
Thank you for showing me all of these within a short period of time. In the meantime, I live each day with optimism and hopefulness marching towards a day when my family outing is back at VivoCity and I am 35,000 feet above the ground again.”
If you would like to contribute your stories, click here.
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