While I was celebrating Christmas far away from home last year, I imagined a white Christmas and a trip home for 2020. Last Christmas, the travel and vacation time did not work with my planned trip to India so I decided to stay in Asia. This year, I don’t have to explain to anyone why a trip home wasn’t feasible!
I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to celebrate with my Canadian family and friends in person, but I appreciated all of the virtual events and gestures. I received a homemade advent calendar in the mail, I participated in a Secret Santa gift exchange, talked to many people via FaceTime and Santa even went online by delivering etransfers.
I continue to be grateful that Singapore has implemented many protocols to allow for in-person activities. There continue to be few (or no) cases in the community, meaning the risk of contracting COVID in day-to-day life is low or non-existent. While there are new cases entering Singapore, all incoming travelers must undergo a 14-day quarantine at a monitored facility, so they are able to be treated before they spread the disease. Singapore announced a new phase of loosening restrictions, now allowing 8 people to meet at once (still with distancing rules, mandatory mobile check-ins, masks, curfews, etc.). I was able to see many of my friends here for different dinners, lunches, brunches, teas, a cookie baking party and holiday movie night.
I even went on a holiday cruise! Singapore has allowed two cruise companies to resume operations for “cruises to nowhere”. Essentially, you are able to enjoy all the ship amenities on a cruise in the open ocean (but the ship does not dock anywhere). Everyone did a mandatory COVID test before the cruise and all of the same Singapore restrictions applied (no group gatherings, tracking everywhere on the ship, near constant temperature checks, 10:30pm alcohol curfew). However, these rules felt like very minor inconveniences compared to the amazing experience of taking a real vacation. The cruise ship itself was incredible – facilities included sky diving, surfing, rock climbing, running track, gym, and of course unlimited food and drinks. It was an indulgent few days!
I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and sending very best wishes for 2021. Cheers to a vaccine and hopefully the resumption of travel, non-socially distant events and burning all of our face masks in 2021.