JEDDAH: The unprecedented global lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, has seen life as most people knew it come to a standstill.
Travel plans have been halted, and simple daily activities such as grabbing a bite to eat have become potentially life-threatening.
People are even missing those small happenings that under normal circumstances they took for granted.
Now with a gradual return to normalcy, the question arises as to what people would like to do once the COVID-19 crisis is over? Arab News spoke to Saudis about their wishes for the future.
Sales expert Rawan Ahmed, 24, from Sharqiyah, said: “I just want to go back to normal and to see my friends more often.”
Arwa Al-Rajhi, a 30-year-old executive assessment specialist at the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, in Riyadh, said: “After COVID-19 is over, I would like to drive as far as I can to see the city lights and appreciate what I’ve missed the most during the quarantine.”
Jeddah-based account manager, Rania Al-Ghamdi, praised the efforts of key workers on the frontline of the pandemic, and added: “As for me, quarantine has taught me valuable lessons that will definitely impact my life moving forward.
“Living a normal life is what everyone on Earth is dreaming of right now. To simply meet friends and dine out, swim, go to the gym, be social and connect with each other physically rather than virtually through social media.”
Simple wishes varied from those of 14-year-old Ahmed Baleegh who just wanted to have some of his favorite fried chicken from restaurant chain Albaik, to 32-year-old Ibtisam Mohammed, who pined to visit Jeddah’s Corniche again.
“The first thing I want to do is go to the Corniche — that is the one thing I have missed the most. I will probably spend a day there by myself recharging,” Mohammed said.
For some, the lockdown has afforded them time to think about the future and consider career choices.
Ahmad Al-Juhani, a financial professional based in Riyadh, believes that the entire work environment will change due to the rise in the number of people working from home.
When allowed, his first priority will be to take a vacation to visit his family, after which he wanted to rediscover the dimensions of the changing job market.
“I think this crisis will reshape the notions about working remotely, leading to a hike in demand for it in the market. Having control over your working hours and how you manage your time while working from home, where you can wrap things up even at 4 a.m., has made me interested in exploring work options after COVID-19,” he said.
Meanwhile, others have missed the stability of their jobs. Amani Al-Ghoraibi, a lecturer at a university in Jeddah, said: “I actually miss going to work and teaching my students. I miss the workshops and in-person interaction and guidance.”
She also longs to go to the cinema and meet friends and get back to driving again after starting her license application a short while before the pandemic hit.
Nora Al-Rifai, a life coach from Jeddah, said: “I would love to go to Vienna and visit the prettiest library in the world, the Austrian National Library. I have been Googling its pictures and I’ve never seen a library quite like it, even on the internet.”
Student and event organizer, Almaha Mishaal, 22, from Riyadh, said: “Aside from hugging my friends, I would love to visit a nursing home and cheer up the elderly. But more than anything, I’ve always wanted to take swimming and diving lessons and I can’t wait to try that out.”