Life on the Ground
Obviously, the world as we know it is dramatically different than it was just a couple of weeks ago thanks to COVID-19. It's been pretty depressing watching everything unfold, honestly.
I flew my last trip on March 13-15. It was a three-day with a 29 hour layover in Eugene, OR, which is one of my favorites! The first few months this year I was flying what we call "productive" four-day trips (meaning lots of flight hours and short overnight layovers). I was so excited to get some long layovers back on my line for March and beyond!
In Eugene, I took the 48 minute walk from our hotel through the beautiful park and over the Willamette River to get downtown, where I trekked to my favorite local food establishment- Off The Waffle. Coronavirus was just starting to get really bad in the States, but things hadn't totally deteriorated yet. It was a Saturday and the skies were spotted and spitting like they do in the Pacific Northwest, but the town was practically deserted. Off The Waffle, however, was still in business, and even had two guys who play there on weekends in the restaurant, jamming on their guitar and contrabass (*insert Titanic meme here*).
As it was a Saturday and I was flying all day Sunday, I needed to go to Mass. Events were beginning to cancel around the country, and bishops were starting to lift the Sunday obligation of going to Mass for Catholics who were most vulnerable for Coronavirus.
Thankfully, I was able to make Confession and Mass at St. Mary's in Eugene that evening!
Since the middle of March, everything has just been falling to pieces-- restaurants are closed, flights went from full to half full to less than 10 passengers per flight, people are self-isolating, groups larger than 10 are now illegal...and now, even Mass cannot be celebrated in churches due to this group restriction! I saw this picture of Pope Francis looking out over St. Peter's Square- one that is usually jam packed with people- and is absolutely empty. This is just the weirdest time to be alive. Photo Source: Vatican Media
Since the airlines are really struggling big time, my company offered special leaves of absence in hopes that enough people would take them so the airline would not need to furlough employees. I volunteered to take a six month, voluntary, unpaid leave. I know 5,000 employees took leave as well. (For us, options were for one month, two months, or six months.) Who knows what will come of all this, when it will be "over," or when things will "be normal" again. I do know that it's not really a great time to be a flight attendant right now, guys. Gosh, I feel so bad for all the brand new FAs, those who were in training or just hired and waiting for a training date, and for all those whose airlines have folded as a result of Coronavirus. For those still working- stay safe out there!
I dropped the rest of my trips this month and have been home for 7 days now. Some of my friends are still flying, and it's just incredible to see how airports and planes everywhere are just vacant. Flights are being cancelled, flight attendants can't leave their rooms on layovers, some hotels are shutting down, and restaurants aren't open. It's just a mess.
I cannot wait for all of this to be over and to be back in the friendly skies again come (hopefully!) October!Meanwhile, life still goes on! Now that I've got six months of unemployment on my hands, on a scale of one to America, I'm pretty darn free.
What am I going to do in these next 6 months? #SocialDistancing babyyyyyyyyy.
(Only half kidding...hopefully not too much longer!)
Thankfully, I've got plenty of exciting things coming up. My fiancé and I are building a house, moving, getting married, and hopefully still taking a honeymoon! Will all this go as planned? Lol. Probably not. But hey, that's what makes life interesting, right?
Wash your hands, people, and remember that this too shall pass.