Hind, 23, Moroccan/Italian, currently working in Cremona (Italy) – Live: From The Pandemic

Hind lives in Mantova but works at the hospital in Cremona.

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

When it all started, I was preparing my last exam before the graduation: it was the most important exam in three years because it would have enabled us to work as nurses, so I was really really focused on it, spending all the time studying and staying at home. I knew about this virus in China, but I never thought that it would also arrive in Italy. When it took over, it was a real shock for everyone: the entire world started to struggle against it. Hospitals were the strong point because only there people can get rid of this virus and be treated, but at the same time, they were also very fragile because of the need for healthcare personnel.
Our final exam would have been at the end of March and the graduation at the end of April: our university decided to anticipate it and do it all in one single day. It was Friday the 13th of March (so lucky!): I was really anxious and really sad because I always dreamt of my graduation as the best day of my life and to be able to celebrate with all my friends and family but, because of this, I had to settle for an online degree without any celebration or party. At the same time, I was also happy to do my exam and go and help the other nurses that were really struggling.
On the 18th March, I put on my uniform, my mask, my gloves, my gown and I started working and trying to help, even if the situation was really emotionally heavy: I had to cure people that were alone in their bed, without a familiar face near them holding their hand. We had to also be as close as possible to the patients and to their concerned families, which always called to have news. The first days I found it really difficult to feel like a part of the entire system: I felt useless, I had crying crisis, I also wanted to throw in the towel but fortunately, I had a fantastic team that gave and still gives me the strength to go on and do my best, supporting me. Because it’s normal to feel like this, they also feel like this: powerless in front of a big monster. Only with our strength and power, we can ally against COVID-19 and we hope to win soon.

What is your wish for the future? 

I wish that we will be able to hug each other again, go to the beach, be happy and feel free. I hope that, even if it wouldn’t be the same, we will soon come back to normality, people will come back to work, go out for ice cream, listen to children screaming in the park, smell the scent of coffee in the cafe… I hope these simple things come back because in this period these little things are the ones I miss the most.

What would you like to be doing right now?  

I would like to have a magical cure for everyone, a magic wand to fix everything… I would like to wake up from this terrible nightmare but unfortunately, is not the case… We have to fight this, rely on destiny and medicine and hope this will end soon.

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

Nicoleta, 25, Moldovan, currently in London (UK) – Live: From The Pandemic

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

Possibly not being able to go home for a very long time. I have had tickets booked to visit my family before the outbreak began. I was supposed to be there for my sister’s birthday and a christening for my best friend’s baby. I haven’t been home in nearly a year and I haven’t been to my sister’s birthday ever since I left home (nearly 8 years now). That was something I was looking forward to for a very long time, however due to the pandemic I am not sure when I will be able to see them next. Although Moldova is doing better, realistically I won’t be able to go home until both England and Moldova have this under control, so no more new cases. I can’t endanger my family’s health by travelling and potentially bringing it right into their home. It’s too risky. So I’ll wait until all this is over and hope that I’ll be able to hug them again soon.

What is your wish for the future? 

That people would stop worshipping ‘’false’’ heroes. That our society will stop empowering those that already have millions and aren’t doing their part to help and invest a lot more in those who do (scientists, doctors, etc).

What would you like to be doing right now?  

Make use of my Odeon Unlimited Cinema pass.

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

Cristian, 25, Italian, currently in Sidney (Australia) – Live: From The Pandemic

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

I came to Australia at the end of January; I’ve always wanted to visit this country and it took me a lot of courage to finally take that flight. I started to work as soon as I arrived in Sydney and I was planning to travel the East coast later on. Then COVID-19 happened and now I’m staying constantly at home, it’s been almost four weeks that I’m not working anymore; I am a chef and unfortunately, the hospitality industry has been hit really hard. I need to be careful with my savings: I can’t buy any kind of food I want right now, I have a rent to pay too and a possible flight to purchase earlier than expected so I’m paying attention to money more than ever and I am trying to be very organized. I think it’s really important to stay positive and keep yourself busy but unfortunately, it is not always that easy so it’s okay if you are sad too. There are days, in fact, where I am feeling very active and I work out a little or focus on learning how to play the ukulele; on other days I am just laying in my bad, watching the TV and doing nothing. It can be hard but we are going through this together and there will be better times!

What is your wish for the future? 

I would like to say that I wish for everything to be back to normal but it’s what we considered normal that brought us to this situation. I hope though, that we are not going to forget this. I believe that there will be changes, that people will be more understanding and that humanity will be better as long as we don’t forget what happened, the sacrifice and the loss that we went through.

What would you like to be doing right now?  

I would rent a van and travel around the beautiful Australian East-coast, visit the most amazing places and do scuba diving! But also having a lovely breakfast in a bar, eating a fresh croissant with my best friends would be enough!

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

Karita, 29, Finnish, currently in Manchester (UK) – Live: From The Pandemic

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

I was in Finland visiting my mother for her birthday, when the situation over there became hectic. The small town that I’m from had their first case of COVID-19 on the day that I arrived and the panic was instant. All of the restrictions that were put in place led to my mother having to self-isolate for 14 days and to cancel her 60th birthday celebrations, because she had been in contact with me, someone who had just come from abroad and therefore was considered a risk, a possible virus carrier. I felt bad for ruining her birthday, but I felt even worse when I realised that it could be true; there was a chance that I had caught the virus from the plane, airport or Manchester, and brought it over to my mother. I felt guilty and stupid for travelling and the anxiety hit hard.

Finnish people seemed to react to the pandemic in a serious and orderly manner, right from the start. The motto over there was “it’s better to overreact than not react at all”, which quickly became my motto as well. While I was there, Finland made the decision to close the borders. That became one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. The airlines were cancelling hundreds of flights every day and I had absolutely no idea if my flight back to the UK was going to take off. I was in a situation I never thought I’d be in: the country was closing its borders, and I just had to get out. I had to get back home.

On the day when the borders were closed, I went to the airport and was able to catch a flight out. But I was angry when I got back to the UK. I felt like Finland was taking action and it was over there that I had truly realised how serious the situation was and how crucial it was to act. Back in Manchester, the people just didn’t seem to get it. UK’s response seemed very slow to me. When the country finally took action, it went instantly from 0 to 100, when the lockdown started.

Now, it’s been almost three weeks since the lockdown began. I consider myself extremely lucky and I feel guilty and grateful about it at the same time, which is an odd mix.

My friends and family are safe, both in Finland and in UK, and we are actually staying in touch more than usual, which is wonderful. Of course, I worry about my loved ones, especially those who don’t live in the same country as me, as there is no way for me to be with them if something goes wrong.

I’m “locked in” with my fiancé and my two rescue kittens. Although the apartment is tiny, it has everything we need. My fiancé and I usually work with very different schedules, so during the past 6 years that we have been together, this is the first time that we have been able to spend days together, without the pressure of doing something or going somewhere. I’ve heard about couples who have found out that they don’t really get along with each other when forced to stay in the same space for an extended period of time during the lockdown. The positive thing that this lockdown has given me, has been the confirmation that we can spend all of our time together, doing stuff or doing nothing at all, without getting sick of each other.

In a way, I’m lucky to be an introvert during this time. Staying inside, doing my own little projects or just daydreaming for hours, is exactly what I’d love to be doing at all times anyway. I feel very guilty for enjoying the lockdown, as I’m constantly aware that many people are not in the same position that I am. I’m not sure how well I’d handle this situation if I lived by myself, or even worse, if I lived with someone who I didn’t get along with. And then there are people out there working hard in the hospitals helping those who are sick. I feel anxious as I wish I could do more for people around me, but I lack the skills to be of any real use. I keep reading the news in an obsessive manner, and feel pain reading about people who have lost their lives or loved ones for this pandemic. It’s a vicious cycle, as reading the news makes me feel anxious, which then makes me want to concentrate on something creative and when I feel relaxed again, I feel guilty and open the news website again. Get anxious, relax, get guilty, repeat.

I’m a person who always has 10 projects going on that I’m never going to finish. I tell myself it’s because I don’t have the time. Well, now I do. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to finish any of it. All of a sudden, there’s a lot of pressure for everyone to finish their projects, to do stuff they’ve never had a chance to do before (at home of course), to learn new skills, to discover themselves. Social media is forcing everyone to think that if you’re not reading, writing, exercising, baking, painting, watching, learning, cleaning and filling your lockdown days with endless action, you’re lazy and you’re a failure. I think that’s wrong. The world is going through a shared trauma and people react to it in different ways. Nobody has been through this before, therefore there is no one right way of coping with it.

I feel the pressure too, I constantly find myself thinking that I should use this time in lockdown better, and not just sit here, on the sofa, binge watching tv shows I’ve seen too many times. I try to tell myself that at this moment, it is ok to just do what feels comfortable, even if it just lying on the floor with my cats, playing a game on my phone. You don’t have to constantly be developing yourself. That being said, I have taken on online courses, but only the ones that seem like the most fun and interesting to me. I’m staying away from things that I should be doing, if these were normal times, and doing things that I just want to do, for no reason whatsoever. The lockdown is not a competition, you don’t have to come out of it as a better person than you were before it. Everyone has just one job and that is to stay inside, stay safe and keep others safe. I think it’s ok to do just that.
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What is your wish for the future? 

I wish for the people I love and care about to come out of this alive and healthy. That’s all I need.
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What would you like to be doing right now?  

I’d hug all the people that I love and miss. I’d spend as much time as I can with my loved ones. And then I’d travel.

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

Josue, 27, Cuban, currently in Havana (Cuba) – Live: From The Pandemic

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

Economically, I work with tourist: if people don’t travel, I don’t have a job. Also, in Cuba we have a economic situation very complex because of the U.S.A embargo, that make a big impact right now: it’s more hard to buy some food and products of first necessity. Because the economy of Cuba depends on tourism, I think we are going to have very difficult times in Cuba once again.

What is your wish for the future? 

I wish that people could start to understand that money is not the most important thing in life. At the end we all are the same, we are humans.

What would you like to be doing right now?  

I would like to work right now, i love my job and also I need the money to provide my family. Also, I would like to be doing some street photographs.

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

Anna, 25, Italian, currently in Huelva (Spain) – Live: From The Pandemic

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

I’ve found out about the pandemic a few months ago, like everyone else, and saw it spreading through Italy without being able to go there and somehow help my family. Spain lived a similar situation a couple of weeks after, so my boyfriend and I had to quickly figure out how to work from home and how to organise ourselves in this situation, and in this case our family helped us from the distance assuring that they didn’t need us and that it was safer for them if we stayed in Spain. Living abroad for years gets you used to videocalls and distance, so I’d say that Covid-19 affected me the most at the moment I had to stick to the decision of staying far from my loved ones in order to protect them, focusing on how lucky I am with the lifestyle I can afford living here and hoping for the best for them.

What is your wish for the future? 

My biggest wish for the future at this point is that people and governments that had lost their moral and human principles will be able to go back and stick to them, considering the importance of research and public health care and remembering that despite all our differences we all belong to the same planet and we all deserve the right to live safely in it. Both from a humanitarian and an ecological point of view. This pandemic probably brought up a very idealistic or too romantic perspective, but if we don’t change our minds now, then when?

What would you like to be doing right now?  

Probably hugging my sister and my grandmothers, eating at the same table once again and simply enjoying each other’s company

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

Thamjeed, 22, Indian, currently in Kerala (India) – Live: From The Pandemic

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

To be truthful, it was awful once these news were coming out. Mostly it was because I was on the last year of my college and we have only 2 months to spend and share all our happiness (creating memory though). First I wasn’t worried much as the news said it was being spread in other countries. I didn’t really know what it was really. But slowly it had entered India and the state where I am living, Kerala. Then it all had become a severe problem for me and the whole country. Its almost 18 days of quarentine at the moment. First it just began saying it was curfew for just one day, on 22nd March. But it had extended. Things became tragic when this whole lockdown thing became more strict. Everyone were worried about their own life and their close family. At that moment everyone thought there will be shortage of food supply and this could kill more. But our governement (rather than saying Indian governement I like to say it’s Kerala government) stood like a father to their people. They were very influential to every person living in Kerala . Every day (starting from lockdown) they had been solving every problem one by one. Nobody could question them because there isn’t any silly decision they took. Everything is perfect. Shortage of food has been cleared. Everyone were provided with free food. Health department (of Kerala) are doing their best. New doctors were appointed. And from reports we can clearly see the recovered rate is very high. Now talking about me, I am just a student and I didn’t had any job before. So it was really weird for me because I were really busy with college and suddenly there comes end to everything. I didn’t have anything to do. So I had myself made a schedule. To get fit and explore my surroundings. That’s when I remembered about that camera I had. So I had decided to take pictures of birds. Totally it isn’t easy at all. We need to really be quiet and maybe we won’t be able to get any nice picture. So my camera had become a very good friend. Then comes my training. I am footballer. I just play football in my college and in my locality and I love football. So the evenings became my training period. It is very nice but it’s just that there is only me and my football. And in night I just do the workout. At the moment everyone is having a peaceful life. It’s the time to find the real you. I know everyone are facing many problems. At least try to find happiness in what you do. To be precise I am really unhappy inside (last year of college) but still try to find happiness in everything I am doing now. Only by staying self quarentined we could end this disaster. At the moment there isn’t any vaccine. So it’s better to stay at home and be safe.
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What is your wish for the future? 

To have a peaceful life. Covid-19 has showed that nothing is permanent in this world. Just by a small virus (the one human can’t see with naked eyes) everything got upside down. The only thing that will remain of you will all those happy moments that you give to others. Even when you are dead you will be happily living in their heart. Helping mentality of each person has been seen and by doing this you will be always remembered. Conquer others with love and patience, not with money and weapons.

What would you like to be doing right now?  

I really want to help others in whichever way possible.

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

Abby, 25, British, currently in Cambridge (UK) – Live: From The Pandemic

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

Due to being in the third trimester of my pregnancy and single I’ve had to leave my home and isolate at my mum’s house. Being pregnant has automatically placed me in the high-risk group and my living conditions were not suitable. So now this means I am staying in my 7-year-old sister’s box room whilst mentally preparing myself to give birth in June. Leaving my home means I don’t get to see any of my close friends and any family outside of the house. I currently live with my mum, stepfather and 3 young sisters. I get upset knowing that if there are no changes by the time she’s born then none of my extended family or close friends will get to meet my daughter. I’ve had to cancel my maternity shoot, bump painting and other little memory makers I had planned for my final trimester. Although they seem small and insignificant to others they really meant a lot to me. Due to the pandemic, my hospital has become more restricted and I have to attend all ultrasound scans, midwife and other pregnancy-related appointments alone. Luckily one birthing partner is still permitted and they can stay two hours after the birth. I’ll be staying in after my birth and submitted onto a ward, but this means I won’t be allowed any visitors which fills me with slight anxiety. Although I have moments where I am overwhelmed with anxiety I find my motherly instinct outweighs it all and I find strength for my unborn daughter.

What is your wish for the future? 

I wish for a sense of normality.

What would you like to be doing right now?  

I would be sat around my friends and getting everyone to feel my unborn daughter moving around in my bump.

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

Bianca, 25, Italian, currently in Cambridge (UK) – Live: From The Pandemic

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

I have a small business so from a practical point of view it means that we don’t have as much work right now, so we’re spending a lot more time at home, and facing a lot of uncertainty. The governmental help does make a difference, especially in covering our staff’s wages, but what really scares us is whether things will go back to normal. From a personal point of view it’s much more complex, a part of me appreciates slowing down and reconnecting with people, but I am on an emotional rollercoaster. Having struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life this situation has definitely affected the balance I had found. I am often extremely anxious, about the future but also about little things that shouldn’t affect me this much. The first week I spent at home I really struggled to be productive or positive, I spent most of my days watching Netflix alone while my partner worked, despite having things to do and a garden that allows me to spend time outdoors. It definitely reminded me of some of my hardest times from a mental health point of view, which was really scary. I’m trying to feel better now, spending more time in the garden, less time on social media, more time doing things that I love and relax me, like colouring and planning camping trips for the future. This allows me to be more positive and actually see and appreciate what I have, and to spend less time stuck in my thoughts. Overall how I feel changes constantly, which is quite exhausting. I’m trying to take a week at a time, which isn’t very easy for a planner like me, but it seems to be working.

What is your wish for the future? 

I hope that everything that is happening is allowing all fo us to reflect on what world we have created and what really matters. Having the whole world being forced to slow down can be an opportunity to make big changes once it’s time to get back to “normal”. I think this situation is allowing us to see the world in a more unified way, and I’m hoping that it’s teaching us to be less selfish, to think about the consequences of our actions (for example, if we hoard on food we create food shortages) and to learn that resources aren’t infinite.
The two things that I really wish would happen are:
– Finally starting to seriously act and change the way we live to reduce Climate Change, which would have much more long term consequences;
– That we will move away from the consumption of cheap products that are made under unfair and unethical working conditions, in favour of ethically made and durable alternatives.

What would you like to be doing right now?  

I’d like to be travelling in our van with my partner and our amazing dog Ettore!

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