Coronavirus Update – Getting Home

I woke in the middle of the night and as I was trying to get back to sleep, Joey went downstairs. Both of us aren’t sleeping well with constant worries on our minds so I assumed he was watching the news or researching and just not wanting to disturb me. After a while I started to worry and felt like something was wrong. I went downstairs and when I asked if he was ok his no told me that the worst had happened.

Just two days ago we decided we couldn’t wait any longer and booked flights. Things were closing down, flights weren’t departing from Brisbane after the end of March, we knew we were running out of time. Earlier in the evening we had been worrying about borders closing and how we would get from New South Wales to Brisbane, Queensland for our flight. In the early hours of the morning Joey had been browsing his phone and just happened to spot a comment on facebook about Emirates flights. Sky News confirmed our worst fears, Emirates are suspending flights after the 25th March. Our flight was booked for the 26th.

I don’t think I can begin to explain the constant state of anxiety of being out here with the uncertainty of when or if we will make it home. The fear that if we are stuck here something could happen to our family, the isolation of being in a different country away from friends and on a different time zone. Many people out here have an air of confidence as if they are untouchable in Australia or if somehow it will affect everyone less out here. Covid-19 is spreading rapidly and what will happen here will be the same as in every other country, especially if people continue to ignore social distancing and isolating. It upsets me to see comments online of people shrugging it off, saying things like wouldn’t you rather be stuck in this beautiful country than elsewhere in the world? And suggesting that it would be easy to just get some farm work and wait it out. Not everyone has or wants that option. We just want to go home.

So on Mother’s Day, the two best mums in the world have helped us out enormously. Joey’s mum has offered us a place of our own to stay when we return and my mum has helped us rebook flights at an astronomical cost to fly home on Tuesday 24th March instead.

We’ve had no word from Emirates themselves, not even an email to announce the shut down of flights and so far they are still showing online as available to book. We couldn’t get through to anyone on the phone to help and so we were left in the dark with this decision, simply booking what we could no matter the cost. I at least have some knowledge on how flight changes work and it was fairly easy to do online but still this lack of clear information will throw many people into panic. At the same time I feel for the airline workers and travel agents who are fielding calls and desperately trying to help people, please remember to be kind to them as they will be doing all they can, also probably on limited information and still trying to follow both airline and government rules.

I still won’t feel secure until we are on the second leg of our flight. At this moment we still haven’t sold our car. Right now we are feeling pretty broken by this trip.

I know that there are many more people out there desperate to come home who might not be able to. My heart breaks to think of all the suffering and loss and fear going on in the world right now. But I also hear stories of acts of kindness, of people coming together in extraordinary and unique ways while social distancing, of people doing anything and everything they can to keep each other smiling. Please, at this time remember to be kind to those around you, to reach out to those who need help, to follow rules about social distancing, wash your hands and take this seriously.

I hope my next update will be coming from the UK.

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