Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Dear colleagues and friends, today is December 21st, and we are going towards the end of what will go down as the most unbelievable year of our time.
I could have used the word "crazy", or "tough" or "desperate" to describe it, but I chose the word "unbelievable".
I chose it because it does not discount anything that has happened to all of us, and at the same time it can be a positive word.
Why? Because in all of this, it is important to find some way to keep good vibes in our minds and hearts.
I had a rough year like all of us. I lost my job. I lost the documents that allowed me to stay and work in the United States. I had to decide between leaving the country in 60 days, or drop a lot of money to apply for a green card, money I really could not afford to spend. I couldn't manage to pay for my apartment anymore, so I moved in someone's basement, where I spent the last 5 months. My husband and I had a tough time adjusting to the new circumstances. I lost someone a couple of months ago.
It's going to be Christmas in a few days, and as glad as I am that I'm with my parents and brother, I will not be able to be with my husband. As a matter of fact, at this moment I am not even sure I will be able to fly back and see him for our wedding anniversary, because of new developments. My 92 year old grandma lives right across the street, I came to Italy also to spend Christmas with her and take advantage of the fact that she is still here. I won't get to do that.
My parents have been in contact with someone who tested positive, so now I am not even sure we will be able to sit together on Christmas Day.
It's been and it continues to be very stressful, just like for many of us.
Last night I couldn't sleep, I kept thinking about how I can face this holiday week and how I should behave.
Monday is always the day I post a new article, and I was ready to do that yesterday. This morning however I did not feel like doing so. I thought instead I would write something to myself, something to snap out of that mood, to pick myself up, perhaps to give a bit of hope to others too.
There is hope after all, I still think so.
I think we should stop getting frustrated about the things that are out of our control, and focus on the ones that we can change.
I think we need to stop fixating on what has already happened and put our energy into the future, make things happen, if we really want them to.
I think we should stop complaining about what's happening, accept the situation and embrace the change.
I think disagreeing with the measures our country and other countries are taking won't change anything, let's start being more responsible ourselves, follow the rules, and do our part for the community.
I think criticizing others people's actions and choices will only drive us more distant, while right now we need to find ways to come together and act as a united front.
As for me, some positive has certainly happened this year, and I want to celebrate it.
Yes, I lost my paperwork, and I spent a big chunk of my savings to get my green card. But now I have my very own work authorization, and I no longer depend on companies' sponsorship. I am independent, so maybe it was meant to be, and the events of 2020 just gave me the push to finally take care of it.
Yes, I lost my job, but I gained the time to re-think my goals and priorities.
My husband and I finally had the chance to make solid plans for the future, which we never have been able to do before, because of our busy and frantic lifestyle.
I had time to slow down, talk to friends I'm rarely able to catch up with, call my family and my grandma every week, do yoga every day.
I felt very distant from everyone, from my family, from my brother, from my best friends. But in a way I felt closer than ever to all of them. I felt lonely like never before in my life, but in a way I experienced more love and compassion from everyone, than I ever did.
Yes, I lost my home, but I was so lucky to have family close by who offered help and welcomed us inside their home. What would we have done without them.
Yes, or industry is damaged to the core, in many different ways, and it's hard to see the light for us in hospitality. But there are destinations who already picked up and are strongly going towards recovery. There are properties who have found creative ways to stay open and busy. There are companies who are leading the fight. Believe me, I talked to some of them.
Yes, occupancy and revenue is down to the bone, many properties are still closed and many are sitting empty. But people still want to travel, they are patiently waiting for the moment they will be able to do so again, and they will when it's safe. In the mean time, people who can move are choosing remote destinations and are being respectful of the rules and of all the necessary measures. Believe me, I have seen them.
Yes, there is a lot of negativity and disconnect in our industry. Staff complains about guest and guests complain about staff; employees criticize management's decisions and management criticizes owners' decisions; colleagues talk poorly about colleagues. But there are also a lot of workers who have understood the gap, who are acknowledging it and who are working together to find a way to overcome it. Believe me, I am talking to these people.
Yes, so many of us have been laid off, there are very few jobs out there for us right now, and when we apply most of the times the recruitment process is very poor and frustrating. But there are positions coming back - slowly but surely. There are companies who are following through and delivering their promise. There are HR teams who are finding ways to improve the process. There are leaders who realized the importance of the human component in all of this.
Believe me, I am interviewing with a couple of them.
Whether you trust it or not, whether you are trying to embrace it or not, whether you are staying hopeful or not, there is a lot of positive out there.
There are a lot of companies who are trying everything they can, who are coming up with new ways, new initiatives, creative ideas. There are a lot of people who are hopeful and fighting to improve and maintain the image of the industry. Believe me, I'm one of them.
There are many putting their needs aside to help others, remembering their place and purpose, and doing everything they can for their community.
There are many who stay patient knowing the light is going to come.
There are many who have inspired me so much.
This week, whether you are alone or with someone, whether you are with family or just with a friend, whether you are home or far away, remember - as for everything else - this will pass, and we will get back on our feet. We always do because we believe in people.
Happy holidays from the bottom of my heart,
and as I always say, good luck to all of us!