Vanessa Hickman, Assistant Vice President for Information Technology at Nashville’s International Airport, stops in today with some photos from our nearly empty terminals and her thoughts on the current crisis. Vanessa keeps her feet on the ground for now – and a calm spirit.

Uncertainty can get the best of me sometimes. Worry follows hot on the heels of gratitude. Who knew I could be so invested in Boris Johnson’s health?

I’m channelling Vanessa after today’s interview. (All photos are from her.)

How are you doing, Vanessa? I miss seeing you! I miss coming and going at our airport too. What is your state of mind?

I am OK. I am incredibly blessed with health, employment (still) and my spouse. My family is all doing well – my 87-year-old mother misses bingo at Fifty Forward and Bible study with friends but she is in good spirits. My daughter Jamie is in healthcare in Houston and navigating how she can help while protecting herself as she has a health condition that could flare up. It is hard on her as she really enjoys her work and enjoys helping others. This just feels like I’m trapped in a sci-fi movie that hasn’t ended or like Groundhog Day and I can’t break the cycle.  

“Picture of Jamie’s team. She is a physical therapist at Houston Medical doing her part!! Jamie is in center wearing headband. We were supposed to be together at Easter and I had to convince her not to travel home. She is such a family person. Looking forward to hugs really soon.”

How do you think Nashville is doing? What you observe among friends, family, colleagues….

Nashville is such a supportive, giving city. We are rebounding from tornados and people are looking for ways to help those, especially those whose business requires operation in personal space, hospitality and entertainment industry people, who are suddenly out of work. I so admire how we find creative ways to give – financially and emotionally; we roll up our sleeves and go to work to help in so many meaningful ways.

Are you working from home? How is that working out for you?

Some. My focus has been helping a workforce that is not accustomed to remote work figure this out in short order. My team is a bit weary but we have many setup for remote work so now we can consider having some of my team work remotely. However, our workplace is like a small city and the work is onsite so not practical to work totally from home.  

What are some of the things you’re doing that you wouldn’t normally do?  

Social distancing is a challenge in my work because I help people use technology. One thing… I’m taking my lunch to work so I can reduce the time outside. I have some pretty good leftovers that make their way to lunch.  I’ve found I have less waste than previously by taking leftovers for lunch.  

Has life in your neighborhood changed?

I have actually seen more neighbors in the past few weeks than I have in months! We are socially distant but out walking.

What are you secretly or not so secretly enjoying about Life in the Time of Corona?

I totally enjoy that my commute is 15 minutes; I can barely finish my cup of coffee and I have time to actually eat breakfast. I am spending more time with my spouse – especially evenings after work.  We are talking more and enjoying supporting the local carry outs – great to have a margarita delivered!

“My view on walk about in back yard – time to do some gardening! Great to feel the sunshine.”

“Jim chipping in the back yard – missing golf big time”

What’s the biggest hardship? What do you miss most?

My mother is 87 and given that I work in a very public place, I limit my visits to her home. She is healthy but I don’t want to take that risk. I miss Sunday fellowship with friends but also enjoying Sunday sermon in my sassy PJs.  

What has not changed at all?

I wake up early each day and write in my gratitude journal and enjoy Bible study in my quiet time. I still go to the office most days and have tons of virtual meetings! I still talk with my daughter every morning on the way to work and every evening on the way home. 

What do you wish would change?

People have grown a bit impatient and mean; a lot more fearful – witness empty shelves in the grocery store. I’d like to think I would want this virus to never have happened but this will forever change us. We as a people are at our best when we have a testimony to how we have overcome; and as my pastor often says, ‘no test, no testimony.’ This is a test and I am hopeful we will come out better on the other side of this.

Some people are feeling busier than ever in the Time of Corona. Are you?

Yes! My team has not stopped; very busy but is starting to slow down a bit. The recent stay at home directive will settle things a lot more.

What are you reading? What would you recommend? 

Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes

Enchanted Objects, by David Rose

What are you watching? What would you recommend?

“The Crown”

“Raising Dion”

“Grace & Frankie”   

Other forms of stress relief in the Time of Corona?

I am using stationary bike and weights to help but have put on a few pounds, if I am honest as I am not moving as much.  Either on a video conference or on the telephone; no wandering about the office or walking through the terminal to see what is going on.

“Concourse C – we really miss our passengers and airlines really feel the pain.”

What are you most looking forward to when we return to “normal”? When do you think that will be? (I know that’s not really a fair question…)

A pedicure and manicure are top of my list.  I will enjoy a cocktail on a patio in the warmth of the sun with friends huddled close – look forward to that!

Could you ever have imagined we would live through such a time?

I am in total shock trying to process emotions around this. Stay healthy & Safe, my friend.

You stay healthy and safe too, my friend. xoxo



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