Hanna, 22, Dutch, currently in Groningen (The Netherlands) – Live: From The Pandemic

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect you the most?

I think like many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected me the most socially and financially. I just moved to a new city in February where I planned to work for half a year before starting my Masters. Soon after settling in, I got a job in a lovely cafe but then due the pandemic had to close after two weeks of me starting. After all the expenses of moving into a new apartment with my boyfriend, I was excited to work but this was cut very short. Finding another job is challenging as many require social contact or are full-time, which wouldn’t be possible come September when university starts. My boyfriend has also not been able to work due to COVID-19 but luckily he qualifies for financial support so we can still pay everything (just!). COVID-19 has also made spending time with family and making friends in a new city nearly impossible, so we spend a lot of time together. My mum recently turned 60 but we couldn’t celebrate together as a family due to travel restrictions and social distancing rules. We also planned a weekend away in Budapest but we, unfortunately, had to cancel it. My sister was living close by but due to her university being closed until September, she’s moved back home which is sad as we can no longer spend time together. However, it is lovely for our parents to have her home again. Perhaps most of all social distancing has affected my family being able to visit my grandmother who is nearly 90 and loves seeing us but we can’t visit her anymore and I am worried she’s getting lonely. We exchange emails regularly but I think it would be more special to skype but technology is difficult and now she can’t have someone there to help or show her how to do it. We don’t have total lockdown here in The Netherlands so I can still go outside often (but of course following the rules of social distancing) to cycle, run or enjoy the sunshine which makes spending more time inside than usual okay. I’ve tried to make the most of being inside so much so I’ve started baking again, reading and growing lots of plants which makes the apartment really feel like home.

What is your wish for the future? 

I wish for the future that we learn to care for each other more and that small acts of kindness can go a long way. That we adapt human activity to allow the environment to heal as it is now and that families come together.

What would you like to be doing right now?  

I would love to be doing exactly what I was doing before this all started; enjoying working, exploring my new city, and saving up for the future. In the evenings I would love to be picnicking with my family on the beach and just enjoy the freedom of being outdoors.

If you would like to share with us, please submit your story here.

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