Do you remember New Year's Eve 2019? I'd bet my right arm you do. Almost a year has gone by and we're still trying to figure out if it's flown by, or if it's been interminable – which is quite a strange contradiction. So, I have a game for you, a little challenge: try to pinpoint your three most important memories of the year that is about to end. These are mine.
MEMORY 1: Kids&Us
Time seems to be more relative than ever. The year has gone by in a flash, but we have experienced so many things... it makes me dizzy just to look back. In Kids&Us we started off the year by finally achieving one of our dreams – on 13 January we opened our new head office in Manresa, and we were all set to meet up with the whole Kids&Us family in Valencia, at our annual convention. When I think back, it seems like ages ago! But in the end, 12 March was the last day that we were all together in the office. Since then, first due to the lockdown and later because we were working remotely, we haven't all had the chance to come together. But we have continued working, we have digitalised our method, and we have managed to ensure that our students can keep up their contact with English, because we owe it to them!
MEMORY 2: joint effort
As the days went by and we learnt more about COVID-19, we came to understand that it wasn't just a simple flu virus. And the world came to halt. We soon got used to hearing words that we hadn't been prepared for, such as "self-isolation" and "lockdown", we suffered when our schools had to close, when we were forced to telecommute and when even more restrictions were imposed. But the hardest of all was the suffering of those families affected first-hand by this illness.
I'm sure we will never forget the overwhelming silence of the empty streets, the rounds of applause for key workers at 8 p.m. every evening, the solidarity among neighbours, the great example shown by children who had to adapt to a situation that was like nothing before. We will also remember the race to develop a vaccine or an effective treatment, the thousands of studies carried out all over the world to learn how the virus spreads, how it behaves, and how it can be stopped.
It has been this joint effort – a team effort – that has got us to where we are now: a stone's throw from the end of one of the hardest years we have ever experienced, but with the light at the end of the tunnel finally in sight.
MEMORY 3: hugs
This isn't so much a memory of what has happened, but rather impatience for all the hugs we've been saving up. When we remember the intense year that has been 2020, we will also remember the last time we hugged each other on 12 March.
There will be more hugs to come, of that I'm sure, but until the time comes, allow me to offer some virtual hugs:
- For the entire Kids&Us family: franchisees, teachers, families and, of course, our beloved students.
- For all those who have suffered the cruellest consequences of the pandemic.
- For all those who have had to shut up shop for weeks or months.
- For all the children, to thank them for their ability to adapt – what a great lesson they've taught us!
- For all the families who have made a superhuman effort to combine their home and work lives.
- For those who haven't seen their families for months.
- And for you, who have followed the recommendations to help manage a virus that we finally seem able to control.
There's no doubt that this Christmas will be different, strange and more nostalgic than ever, but we owe ourselves some festive cheer, for those around us and for all that is to come.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.