April 22, 10 p.m. All direct flights between India and Canada banned for 30 days.
New COVID-19 Cases: 332,921.
May 21, 10 a.m. All direct flights between India and Canada banned for an additional 30 days.
New COVID-19 Cases: 257,299.
June 21. New COVID-19 Cases: 42,640.
Fingers crossed. Deep breaths. Bags packed.
10 a.m. Ban on direct flights from India further extended by 30 days.
Frustration. Anger. Tears.
Am I spending thousands of dollars and finishing another term from home without stepping foot on campus? Again?
It has been four years since I decided that I wanted to attend UBC. I never thought that the end of my freshman year would fly by before I set foot on campus.
It has been hard.
I feel like I am stuck. Stuck in an environment that I expected to move away from – move to a different timeline that now just keeps shifting and getting delayed without any visible halt or end. It has only left me alone in the middle void while living beings around me moved on and grew as they do. I am neither here nor there, stuck between environments and oceans and of course, time zones.
The past few months here in India have been horrible. More for some than others. While I have been privileged enough to sit inside the comfort of my home with my family safe and secure, millions have been struggling to survive, physically and emotionally.
I often ask myself if my constant worry about my situation is justifiable? People remind me to be grateful; to look on the bright side.
“Hey, it’s not bad that your flight got postponed to September, at least you get another month of authentic Indian food. If I were you, I would live in the moment. Stop whining.”
And, “Everything happens for a reason. It could be worse. Stop whining.”
And even just, “Stop whining.”
In the end, I feel unheard. I simply don’t belong here anymore.
But now I know that questioning my feelings was a huge mistake. Not only did it prevent me from acknowledging my feelings, it also held me back from processing what was going on around me. Sulking wasn’t productive, it only upset my family and made the situation worse. Instead of talking about how messed up my head felt, I was told to be patient.
And maybe being patient is all I could do as the world shifted under my feet. But being patient and being silent are two different things. To deal with my anxieties, I needed to hear ‘How do you feel’ or ‘What do you need’ or maybe even a ‘So, what now.’
But ultimately, I heard silence.
I recognize my privileges every single day and I am grateful for so many things in my life, but everyone is entitled to their own feelings. My feelings are valid. I know that now.
To the people who are in better and different situations:
1. Stop offering unsolicited advice to people who just want support;
2. Try to listen non-judgmentally;
3. Don’t invalidate other people’s feelings;
4. Get vaccinated.
Bottom line: If you are in India right now; unable to consider anything other than a direct flight; stuck at home with six hours of overnight summer classes that you only took to travel early; ruining your health with anxiety about being stuck here till next year — I see you.
I am you. Your feelings are valid. We are in this together.