Abu Dhabi decked up with lights as it ushers in the New Year. For illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The year 2020 will go down in world history as a watershed year of survival and resilience. With millions of people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and millions of others succumbing to the deadly virus, despite all the rapid strides we have made in science and technology, we found ourselves vulnerable. Life as we knew it, changed beyond imagination.

However, at the turn of the New Year, there is hope, positivity and enthusiasm. We are battle-scarred, but as an indefatigable race, we are a never-say-die lot. We are ready to face 2021 with new vigour, enthusiasm and excitement.

Expatriates in the UAE shared their memories of this Annus Horribilis (a year of disaster and misfortune), the lessons they learnt and their message for 2021.

Dr Sumaiya Menon, Indian, founder and CEO of Bodysm

Dr Sumaiya Menon

For me, 2020 has been an inward journey of self-discovery. Seeing the world reel with sickness and mortality, I had the time to reflect on the true nature of happiness and the possibility of healing people by tuning into their elemental frequencies. This is how my concept of Bodysm was born during the lockdown."

“Within this concept, I look to address various health issues that people face, by looking into the mind, body and soul of the individual. The year has been path-breaking. It taught us how little we need for ourselves, it turned on the re-set button. Now we are looking towards 2021 with hope and joy. If 2020 was a trying year, it has made us better human beings and we will be better human beings, with deeper regard and respect for each other as we enter the New Year.”

Patrick Calumberan, 18, Filipino, student

Patrick Calumberan

"As students we were lucky to have shifted from traditional classroom learning to home schooling in 2020. It allowed us to have a continuity with our academics."

“The year 2020 has left us with tremendous physical and mortal losses and I hope that 2021 works well for the economy, for education and health care. I wish the vaccine works for everyone, especially the third world countries that need a lot of support. My siblings and I cannot wait to get back to our normal lives in the New Year. Happy New Year to everyone and may our hopes and dreams become a reality.”

Jim Pastore, American, principal, Clarion School

Jim Pastore

"2020 has been difficult in a lot of ways, but the teachers, parents and students of Clarion School have everything to be proud of in how they surpassed all the challenges of COVID-19 experiences."

“My hope for 2021 is that eventually we will be able to say goodbye to masks, sanitiser et al. I think this is the best thing we can hope for in the New Year. Here’s wishing a Happy New Year to all.”

Ali Shabdar, Canadian-Iranian, MEA regional director of Zoho Corp

Ali Shabdar

"2020 was a roller-coaster of challenges, humbling experiences and life lessons for most of us."

“2020 was a roller-coaster of challenges, humbling experiences and life lessons for most of us. As we reflect on this year with humility, resolve and a strong sense of gratitude, I look forward to welcoming the New Year with much hope and wish it to be filled with rewarding opportunities and experiences for everyone.”

Mostafa AlGuezeri, Egyptian, managing director Hitachi-ABB Power Grids, for UAE and Overseas

Mostafa AlGuezeri

"With sheer determination and grit we have managed to successfully navigate through 2020 as a resilient team."

“With sheer determination and grit we have managed to successfully navigate through 2020 as a resilient team. I want 2021 to be a very healthy year for everyone, looking forward to a sustainable society and a promising New Year ahead. Wishing every family in the UAE, much happiness!”

Richard Zuleta, Filipino, corporate communications specialist

Richard Zuleta

“The year will be known for so much sickness, deaths, job losses and pandemonium. It taught us to be strong, brave and resilient and fight back."

"Like all challenges, it has only made people stronger and more determined. We are all waiting for 2020 to depart as we expect the wheels of fortune to change with the shift. My message to people is to continue to be strong, think positive, stay healthy and prepare for the next phase of life. COVID-19, like many other viruses, is here to stay and we have to look at ways to rise above this challenge and move on to bigger, better things in life in 2021!”