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World Mag > World Magazine Spring 2021 Edition - Courage > Nikos Kugionas - Light at the end of the tunnel

Nikos Kugionas - Light at the end of the tunnel

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light” ~~ Aristotle Onassis.

But let me first begin with one of my favorite quotes that rings forever true especially in the light of the current pandemic:

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light” ~~~ Aristotle Onassis.

Being far from home, from your loved ones and friends, isn’t easy at the best of times. For many of us, expats living in a foreign country, this pandemic has meant a great lesson in resilience and courage. I can still recall the day when the first measures against COVID-19 were announced and the aura of confusion and fear around what the next day could be like.

I remember the questions I had but also heard all around me: What does this new normal mean for me/us? How would this affect our working environment? Are we stuck or can we travel home? Is everyone back home okay? And why is toilet paper becoming a commodity. Although now, most of these questions have been answered except of course the latter one that still doesn’t cease to amaze me, it is still important to understand the journey that we have undertaken both at an individual as well as at a collective level. The words resilience and courage are defined by the Webster dictionary as "an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change” and,  respectively, “a mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” In my opinion, no better words can be used to describe the journey we have taken this last year.

There are numerous examples of personal resilience and courage that have surfaced this year for me; from adjusting to working from home, to not always being able to travel home, living alone and interacting with others only when going to the grocery store, etc. Without a doubt this past year has left its mark on every one of us. It has been a difficult year and a year where many things were tested. We have learned and used new words in our daily lives such as pandemic, loss, lockdown, new normal, physical distance, restrictions and so on. 

But, although we have endured these hardships, we have gone to great lengths to persevere. I know that all of us, myself included, have been focused at times on the pessimistic side, but I encourage us all to also think of some of the benefits that we have collectively achieved during this pandemic - new ways of working, digital revolutions in our workplace, the enhanced use of technology in our day to day lives and many more.

To conclude, the  biggest positive take away, in my opinion, from this pandemic is that we have all undergone our personal journey and as a result championed adversity and change, by focusing on the light in times of darkness and by displaying courage, kindness and resilience. 

Nikos Kougionas

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