Luz Serrano won the English Language Training Category of the 2020 Melbourne Writers Festival's storytelling competition 'Bold New World'.

Thank You

By Luz Serrano

Let me start by thanking Covid-19. I know it seems strange to thank a disease that ruined many of our lives and livelihoods, our thoughts, our opportunities, our dreams of business and travel, separated us from our friends and family, and to which we lost people.

But if we look at it another way, we see many things that we took for granted or had quietly lost over the years. That’s why this is also a thank you since it has made us see the same world but different. A more conscious world, I think. Because if I know people, this could end up being our stage of destruction. Let’s trust that we got the message and that we are going to restart. I think that given what we are going through, Melbourne has understood it perfectly.

I feel that at this time, our most human side came out, and this will determine our day to day a lot. We are more aware that we as a community should support each other, even while locked down inside: we stopped competing, we stopped putting up a strong front, and we learned to ask for help. Even when times are difficult, we have been more aware and listened more to our neighbours. Even if they do not ask for help, we will give it. Our communities will pay more attention to the little things, to the special dates of the members of that community.

Many small businesses have closed due to the crisis, but there have also been many new ones that I am sure will generate alternative jobs that will not only help us to restore the economy, but also when we go through a new pandemic, the loss will be less, because they were born within the crisis, and this will make us stronger in the future.

If we think that all this will make us as people more inclusive and diverse, I am sorry to say that we still have a long way to go. We may have to go through another pandemic for this to change. I mean, right now governments are engrossed in who was at fault, waging a cold war, which could turn technological.

But the upside of all this was that we learned the value of time and the importance of giving nature a break. We learned that we need to be with people and the importance of a HUG. Enjoy every journey, understand each other more in our loneliness, and perhaps also put ourselves not only in the shoes of the other but outfit ourselves completely in their attire.

This reminds me of something my great-grandfather used to say: ‘We didn’t know what we had until we lost it,’ and my great-grandmother, who would reply, ‘We always knew what we had, but we never thought we could lose it.’