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My New Year's Eve- When Everyone Else Around Me Got Covid

 

Until I reached a certain age, New Year's Eve was always meant to be celebrated in the bed, covered in blankets with hours of recorded TV. Then a dessert at midnight, gratitude to the Almighty, and the New Year usually started with the regular routines. 

 

Once I reached the final years of high school, New Year's Eve sounded more like partying with friends, good food, and lots of dancing. So, a bunch of us gathered in someone's house, ordered food, and danced until the countdown. I was kind enough to include my siblings and their friends as well. 

Then, I got married and flew across the oceans to a place called Mombasa in Kenya. My husband worked in the hotel, so the Holiday season was undoubtedly about partying. Hotel Executives were allowed to bring their families for Christmas and New Year's eve as they hosted a massive celebration on the lawns. Big stage, live dances, beautiful decorations, outdoor setup, and good food. 

 

We waited for it for the entire year. We got our facial and hair done in advance, and new new dresses and heavy makeup were neccessary for the big events. It was the time of the year. After five years of celebrating the Holiday season in Africa, we moved to Dubai, where we crushed ourselves in business. We missed our parties in Kenya. Soon, we made new relationships, and house parties became normal.

 

Fast forward, we landed in Canada at the end of the year in December, 11 years ago, when heaps of snow mountains surrounded the city of Toronto. It was two days to New Year's eve, but we were still jet-lagged. 

 

We thought about celebrating the New Year at the Harborfront, but the jet lag didn't allow us to leave our apartment. Our bodies were tired from all the shopping we had done during the day. 

 

Soon enough, we made new friends in the city. Since that time, house parties continued with them. Once, we even organized a New Year party for 200 people at the hotel nearby. It was fun. 

 

Then covid struck our lives, last year we left our house before the new year only to explore if something was happening in town, but it was all dead—no sign of people or cars. We were the only ones on the street. 

 

"Let's go to Niagara Falls," said my son. But getting to Niagara Falls needed at least an hour, and we had 30 minutes before 2021. I took my phone out and searched the web. 

 

"New Year Fireworks in Niagara Falls," I typed on Safari. It told me they were all canceled due to Covid restrictions. 

 

"No fireworks, then there's no point of going to Niagara. We can go there tomorrow if you'd like", said my husband. 

 

We all agreed and decided to drive home to dance in our basement for the last few minutes to welcome the New Year 2021. It was weird but we did it, at least we were all together under one roof.

 

Seeing that, we're now fully vaccinated, and things are looking good. We'd hoped for celebrations, but people are still too scared. They are scared to meet anyone, scared to host friends, and scared to party. 

 

We thought to staying home and watching TV just as we did in childhood, but then one of our friends reached out and asked us if we wanted to sit together on New Year's Eve. I was excited. Her kids are friends with mine, and they go to school together.

 

Our elder son decided to visit his friends to have a party with four of his other friends. It was a good evening. We enjoyed our time together and started the New Year with gratitude.

 

Then one morning, my friend messages me a few days later to ask if we were ok? 

 

"Remember, I told you about the wedding I attended a day before New Year's eve? 90% of people tested positive. I've had a fever since yesterday. And my neighbor, I met before meeting you; her whole family has tested positive. I wanted to make sure that you guys are ok?". 

 

Her Whatsapp message shocked me. I ran downstairs to tell my husband. "You know.......". While I was talking to my husband, my son overheard me. 

 

"Oh, I didn't tell you. At the party I attended, they all tested positive too. Can you imagine we were sitting next to each other? We even went in the hot tub together," says my son. 

 

What! It blew my mind.I was stunned. A few days later, my brother messaged me to say, he tested positive and isolating. His in-laws also tested positive, even though they live in distant city. Every now and then, I hear from people getting sick. The new virus is more like flu but still haunts our mind state. We've all seen the worst of it. So what, if it's a great grandchild of Mr./Mrs Covid-19, it still has the same geneology.

 

Then all of a sudden, I receive a text from one of my relatives. We were looking at the last-minute plan for New Year's eve. But then, when I called, she mentioned having a sore throat and cough.  

 

"I tested positive," she said. 

 

Oh my God! Now I started panicking. What's happening here? Suddenly, so many people tested positive, and they were all fully vaccinated. New Year's Eve was on Friday night, and these messages came on Thursday. 

 

Even though we were in close contact, we didn't have any symptoms. According to the new health guidelines, one should isolate for five days after having symptoms. And it was more than five days, and we have been home since then.

 

Do we have Covid? I asked everyone at home. We don't have any symptoms.

 

My husband, who was supposed to be traveling the following week, wasn't frightened about his travel Covid test in the peak times of the pandemic. Even when we didn't have the vaccines. But this time, he was going crazy.

 

"Should I book my test? If I booked and tested positive, the money I paid will go to waste". He kept repeating it over and over again. He was petrified this time. 

 

"Then, why don't we take the rapid test?" I said. It'll help calm your mind.

 

The school had given us some tests that we used and tested negative. Phew.

 

Still, in a dilemma, he took the travel test on Saturday before his flight on Monday and waited anxiously. I'd never seen him like this before. 

 

Around 8:30 at night, we received a message saying, "Your Switch Health results are now ready." Anxiously, he logged into his account, and it was NEGATIVE again. 

 

I knew it'd be negative. We'd boosted ourselves after we took a rapid test. The virus couldn't harm our bodies, touch wood! 

 

We're now in 2022, and I can't imagine what New Year's Eve will bring for us. I hope there will be a lovely celebration for me to attend.