I haven’t seen my family for 2 1/2 years since the outbreak of Covid. At first, it was because there were no flights. Then it was because we weren’t vaccinated, and then every few months there was another variant and the number of infected people suddenly jumped much higher. All of this made it impossible for us to travel.
Until April 1st of this year, the Canadian government required every traveler to produce a negative Covid test before getting on a plane. In addition, there were many other restrictions that I wrote about in previous posts. Not only were all those requirements time consuming, but they also added significant costs as well. Another complication was that the country we wanted to visit ordered each visitor to be tested for Covid once they get off the plane. If they tested positive, they were required to go into isolation for 2 weeks.
Anyway, after the Canadian authorities decided to cancel the testing requirement and the number of infected people started to moderate, my husband and I recently decided to go visit my family. We needed a vacation and we felt it was a good time to do it. We bought our airline tickets about 3 weeks before our departure date. We also booked a hotel and a rental car.
I started to feel anxious and uncomfortable about taking the trip as soon as we made the arrangements. At first, I didn’t know the anxiety was related to the trip. But then I realized this was the trigger. I started to think about how I was going to manage while I was on the plane. Although masks are required to be worn on flights except when eating or drinking, I was still worried sick.
I thought about canceling the entire trip many times but my husband,” etc. To calm myself, I decided to buy straws that I could slip under the mask and drink water while on the plane. This way I could limit my exposure to others. On the day of our departure, I made sandwiches for us to take on the plane, as I always do. But this time it gave us the flexibility to eat when the others had masks on.
Anyway, things looked very disorganized at the check-in area when we arrived at Pearson airport. I couldn’t tell if they were making repairs but there were wooden dividers everywhere and some areas were blocked from entry. However, most people were checking in using self serve kiosks. But sometimes it isn’t clear on the screen what the next steps are. As a result, many people were stuck not knowing what to do next. The airline was short on staff and they had only 2 employees running around like headless chickens from one kiosk to another. They did their best to help the massive number of people using the kiosks but couldn’t keep up.
We finally boarded the plane. Everyone was wearing a mask, which made me more relaxed. Before we even sat down, I cleaned the armrest, the food tray, and the entertainment screen so that God forbid no germs would even think of touching us ……… 🙂 I even offered the lady sitting next to us some wipes to clean her area too and she gladly accepted.
A few minutes after we sat in our seats, the stewardess announced that we are required by law to keep the mask on for the entire flight except when we are eating or drinking. She added that we can be fined if we don’t comply. That was very reassuring to hear.
The flight wasn’t easy for us as we wore the N95 mask which was very tight fitting and quite uncomfortable to wear. Despite all the plans I made before, I was afraid to eat because I had the idea I’d get infected if I took the mask off while eating. Therefore, I briefly lowered my mask, took a bite of food and as I started chewing I’d quickly pull up the mask to cover my face again. My husband did the same.
There were so many people on board who took their masks off most of the flight. Especially the young guy who sat across the aisle from me. None of them were fined…….. I can’t imagine the cabin crew didn’t notice people sitting without masks. But I think they decided not to bother enforcing the mask rule. This was a big disappointment. In addition, the bathrooms weren’t clean. It was clear that the crew didn’t clean them at all during the flight, which was quite surprising to me.
After a flight of 11 hours, we finally arrived at our destination. Once we collected our luggage, we were led to a large room to have a PCR test done. The test took a few minutes and we were told we would receive the results by text and by email………..
Nevertheless, we usually go directly to a hotel when we come to visit the family. But this time as we were tested for Covid at the airport we thought it would be appropriate to wait for the results before going to the hotel. We were told it could take up to 24 hours to get them and we didn’t want to take any risks.
I arranged to stay the weekend with my brother and sister-in-law until we received the test results. My brother came to pick us up at the airport and it was great to see him. We always hug and kiss when we see each other but this time it was different as we didn’t know if we were infected or not………