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Saturday, January 23, 2021
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Canberrans describe their 2020: the good, the bad and the brutal

It’s been called ‘a year like no other’. So, we asked Canberrans to describe their 2020; their plans and how they adapted to change, what skills they may have picked up or what personal challenges they’ve had to overcome.

As we as a community move beyond this year of isolation and allow ourselves to look forward to 2021, we reflect that everyone has a story of their 2020.

Jessica Kremp’s two children didn’t get their family outing this year.

Jessica Kremp

After being stuck indoors at the beginning of 2020 due to bushfire smoke, Jessica decided to make a big effort to take the kids to the park and have more picnics.  But then the pandemic hit and as a public transport user, Jessica and her family did not get to those outings or any family outings.

Rather than holding her back, Jessica found a new way of being at home, beginning to feel more comfortable in her own space.

“Hands downs, I was so disappointed we were unable to have family gatherings as often,” she said.

“But the kindness shown from stranger to stranger was the best thing. From offers to check-in on neighbours to the willingness of others to share toilet paper.”

“These last two years my family and myself have gone through more than most people do in a lifetime and I’m looking forward to a new start.”

Jacquelene Diamond

Jacquelene didn’t have a huge amount planned for 2020 but ended up coming out of it with a lot. Her year changed drastically when her mum got sick during her Year 12.

“I’m disappointed I couldn’t do more,” she said. “I spent most of the year studying and looking after my mum, up until the day she passed away.”

Jacquelene said she was surprised about how quickly we recovered from COVID and she feels like she picks up new skills every day.

“I feel like I use my new skills to grow without even knowing it,” she said. “I don’t think I picked up any bad habits. I’m looking forward to starting my life after high school in 2021.

“These last two years, my family and myself have gone through more than most people do in a lifetime and I’m looking forward to a new start.”

“In 2021, I am looking forward most to watching my son have his first year of life. He was born in September 2020 and made this bushfire, hail crazy, global pandemic year, a year we will remember with a smile now.”

Kavina Ettingah

Kavina had planned to travel for a long period to various places in Europe to escape the pain of miscarriage.

“We thought our dream of having a child was simply that, a dream,” Kavina said. “Our plans changed in January 2020 when we found out I was pregnant.”

Kavina was a bit disappointed with the way the pandemic impacted her pregnancy. No congratulatory hugs, no sharing the ultrasound experience with her husband, and her overseas parents and siblings unable to attend the birth and unlikely to meet baby before his first birthday.

The acts of kindness surprised her the most during the pandemic; including being waved to the front of the line at the shops.

“I saw people pay for other people’s groceries and heard new ways people were connecting online and was intrigued by the hobbies people started doing.”

Kavina picked up new cooking skills and began “super organising” the house into a rainbow-colour-coded happy place thanks to binge watching The Home Edit.

“In 2021, I am looking forward most to watching my son have his first year of life. He was born in September 2020 and made this bushfire, hail crazy, global pandemic year a year we will remember with a smile now.”

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