Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened

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The Year That Never Really Happened

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Cassidy Ridgway Cassidy Ridgway

Paul Kepple Various Artists

BFA Thesis Project, May 2021 Temple University, Tyler School of Art and Architecture

The Year That Never Really Happened This past year has felt quite like a big fever dream, one that we have all been waiting to wake up from one day to be told it was all just a lengthy dream. Whether this time has brought you failed expectations and despair, or you are one of the lucky ones who experienced major positive change in your life, we all collectively have experienced a sense of loss of normalcy in our daily lives. Our daily routines; going into work daily and interacting with coworkers, attending concerts with your friends, seeing your grandparents, going out with friends on a friday — all came to a complete halt in the early months of 2020 in just the blink of an eye. The prominent losses that we have all suffered through this past year was an involuntary extraction of human connection in our daily lives. Connecting with other people is a core psychological need, and one of the most rewarding experiences we can have. This forced isolation has had an immense affect on both our social and interpersonal relationships and has shifted the way we interact with one another. While this is a shared experience to some extent, each one of us has a unique story to tell about what this past year has done to our ability to connect. This book explores a series of individuals and their relationships at a deeper level.


Interlude is a collection of stories, experiences, and thoughts of the individual experience during the 2020 global pandemic. In a place where vulnerability and acceptance collide, authors confront both the challenges and alterations they have endured over the past year in a journalistic expression that is fervent and honest.



The Onset


The Interiem


The Relapse


The Come Up Conclusion





8 10 12 14 16 22

The Onset Introduction Spring Timeline New Perspectives Losing Lulu Day by Day

26 28 34

Q&A Headspaces With Love, From... Longer Distance

38 40 42 44 50 54

The Interlude Introduction Summer Timeline Perfect Timing Growing Away Indoor Voices

56 60 62

All at Once Q&A Pandemic Memory Simple Pleasures

62 64 66 68 70 72

The Relapse Introduction Fall Timeline Updated Defination of Adulthood Late Starts Digitial Bonding

76 82 84

Salted Wounds Q&A Relationships Making Time

86 88 90 92 94 96

The Come Up Introduction Winter Timeline 100 Days A Fighting Chance Q&A Mindsets

102 104 106

Long Lost Now What? Q&A The Future

Thank You





The Onset

Released in 2021

How the Pandemic Consumed the World


The beginning of the pandemic is one of those periods of time in your life that you will never forget. From seeing the early outbreak transpire in Wuhan, China on the news, to the initial jokes about a two week 'coronacation' from school or work, to people getting stuck abroad and in places very unfamiliar, to millions of people losing loved ones and businesses start to go under. No one could have ever predicted the way these events unfolded, and this place in time will be historical for how the rest of the pandemic is handled worldwide. Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened

January 21st, 2020

February 9th, 2020

CDC confirms the first United States case in Washington State.

The death toll surpasses the toll from the SARS epidemic in 2003.


41,118 CASES


January 9th, 2020

January 30th, 2020

February 28th, 2020

WHO annouces mysterious outbreak in Wuhan, China.

COVID-19 declared a public health emergency by the WHO.

The Middle East and European countries rapidly accelerate in case.


10,270 CASES

84,090 CASES

March 11th, 2020

March 25th, 2020

April 13th, 2020

COVID-19 declared a global pandemic by the WHO.

Millions worldwide are applying for unemployment for the first time.

United States rolls out first round of stimulus checks for indepedents.

149,313 CASES

566,873 CASES

1,811,586 CASES


March 13th, 2020

April 3rd, 2020

April 27th, 2020

United States begins first lockdown precautions throughout the week.

Wearing a mask is encouraged by the CDC as cases surpass 1M.

200,000 deaths due to COVID-19, over 3M total cases worldwide.

259,859 CASES

1,212,027 CASES

3,233,496 CASES


Our New Perspective of Well-Being The Psychosocial Impact of COVID-19

Released in 2021

—— Referencing the words of Williard Van Orman Quine, Harvard Professor of Philosophy, American Philosopher, Logician, and President of the American Philosophical Association.

Also, human communication is everchanging. For example, the relationship between employee and the manager is different, leading to more responsibilities in listening and understanding feelings expressed during the video call, generating a forced reciprocity. The formal question, “How are you?” at the beginning of most conversations is no longer just a formality, as it was before the pandemic. Hence, “forced empathy” may be more common in this period because the social distance and the emergency situation make people want to be heard and appreciated, and the simple question “how are you?” becomes an anchor for individiuals to express their fears and emotions in a safer space.


Our New Perspective of Well-Being

The formal question, “How are you?” at the beginning of most conversations is no longer just a formality, as it was before the pandemic.

In analyzing the psychological impacts of the quarantine, the importance for individuals to feel an integral part of the society emerged, an aspect often undervalued in psychological well-being. Experts of public health believe that social distancing is the better solution to prevent the spread of the virus. However, although it is not possible to predict the duration of the pandemic, we know very well the serious impact of these measures on the society, on relationships and interactions, in particular on the empathic process. Empathy is described as a form of identification in the psychological and physiological states of others. This definition led to a debate between the disciplines of philosophy of psychology and philosophy of the mind. Willard Van Orman Quine renewed attention to the debate on empathy with a thesis on the development of language and mind in analytical philosophy. According to Quine, the attribution of the so-called intentional states, through which the psychology commonly explains human behavior, is based on empathy and leads people to attribute beliefs, desires, and perceptions. Analyzing this aspect within the recent situation of the pandemic, an increment of opposing positions and attitudes could be noticed. On the one hand, people identify themselves with those who suffer (neighbors, friends, relatives who are living stressful events), promoting activities such as the so-called “suspended expenses.” For instance, solidarity and humanitarian activities, food, and medicine delivery for people who are unable to go to the supermarket. On the other hand, there is a part of the population who experiences a feeling of “forced empathy.” This aspect could be also emphasized by the use of technological devices that might lead to a depersonalization of relationships, forcing the sense of closeness, at least virtually. The hyperconnection of feelings becomes a way to reduce self-isolation and its consequences. In a post-quarentine world, this sensation “to be forced to feel” could lead people to distance themselves from others, forming new social phobias and/or social anxieties.

Losing Lulu


Mimi, Pennsylvania


Spring 2020

Spring 2020 21

My sister, my idol, my bestfriend, my everything — gone. Just like that. The next few weeks are completely blocked from my memory. Losing Lulu - Mini, Pennsylvania

In early March, my family and I started to quarentine together. My parents, my two older brother’s, their girlfriends & fiances, my boyfriend and I joined us a couple weeks later. Of course we were all worried and stressed with how we were going to all coincide together, not to mention we didn’t know for how long and it seemed that quarantine restrictions were expanded every day. I was very stressed with school that semester, my brother was trying to graduate from temple, and my other brother lost his job. The first couple weeks strained our relationships with each other a lot, with everyone trying to live out our own lives in a suffocating atmosphere. By the end of April, we had just started getting along when our worst nightmares came to life. April 14th, I received a call from my sister’s boyfriend that she had died in his arms during the night. An overdose. My sister, my idol, my best friend, my everything, gone. Just like that. The next weeks are completely blocked from my memory. I vaguely remember the depressing tasks of organizing a funeral during covid, which already a depressing task, was made worse because we could only have ten people at a time, seeing my oldest brother cry for the first time, feeling the vulnerability of my family up close for the first time in a long time. I cannot put into words how utterly hopeless I felt, how I still feel. The world, quite literally, had fallen apart all around us.

2021 Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


Through shared grief and all of us forced to live together, we were able to heal. Days and days of the 6 of us “kids” bonding over video games and pokemon cards, building puzzles and coming up with extravagant project ideas that would never come to fruition; those weeks were the best and worst weeks of my life. I learned to rely on my brothers through anything. We've always been close, but now we can’t go a day without facetiming (they have moved back to their respective apartments in different cities) for hours every night, hunting for shiny pokemon or playing smash bros online. My relationship with my parents had always been somewhat superficial and strained, but covid forced me to depend on them and accept their care and love. I have come to appreciate my boyfriend Wes more than ever, I have no more insecurities when it comes to our relationship, and there's no one I would rather spend every day with. He's stood by my side through years of my shitty behavior and erratic moods, especially when I needed it most. I used to suffer a lot from BPD, to the point where I would need to constantly be out with people, partying a lot, passing out with random people every night just to escape the feelings of loneliness and boredom. Obviously covid had restricted that, and I no longer feel that urge to need distractions from my life. I’m much more content spending nights doing nothing, spending time with those who genuinely love me. The monotony of the days on top of losing my sister has made me more depressed than ever, worsened my social anxiety ten fold, but I’m learning to accept those things about me during these quieter, more reflective times, rather than needed constant distraction.

My relationship with my parents had always been somewhat superficial and strained, but covid forced me to depend on them and accept their care and love.

Spring 2020 23

Losing Lulu - Mini, Pennsylvania

The monotony of each passing day on top of the loss of my sister has made me more depressed than ever, worsened my social anxiety ten fold, but I’m learning to accept those things about me during these quieter and more reflective time, rather than needed constant distractions.


Day by Day The first day of quarantine had shifted my world around already. March 11th is burned in my head; a bad memory I wish was a dream. It was the day that my doctor had called to tell me I have Lymes Disease and that I was considered to be immunocompromised and needed to take extra precautions. That news blew my mind, and as much as I didn’t want to accept it or believe it, I knew that I had to just accept it and deal with this new reality. I didn’t think it would have been possible for it to come at a worse time than this, because three days later, Maryland went into a full lockdown. It was a tough time for all of my friends, family, and neighbors, but it felt like it was even worse for me. I felt trapped in my house, and little did I know how much that was going to affect my mental health.

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


My doctor had called to tell me I have Lymes Disease and that I was considered to be immunocompromised and needed to take extra precautions.

Spring 2020

And if things couldn’t get any worse, this large vacation with his entire family was planned way out in advance for a trip this past June. We were all supposed to go together and enjoy time with each other, but obviously, with the Lymes Disease, I couldn’t go. That caused some tension between us, because this whole time, I could tell he hadn’t had a ton of compassion and understanding for

my situation, but I felt ridiculous asking him to be more present with me after doing so much for me. Since it was his family vacation, he went and left me behind for the 2 weeks. That’s when things started to get worse. I was now fending for myself to go get food and run errands, which I had developed a lot of anxiety doing so. Not to mention, but the first 3 months of quarantine had slowly eaten away at me, so by the time he left, I had really struggled with myself. I more often fell into depressed ruts, couldn’t sleep at all, and felt like I was just running on autopilot. That was a really horrible time for me, and it made me realize how dependent I was on my husband to make me happy as well, so I made the decision to help myself out of this and reach out to a therapist to meet with online. I was really proud of myself for making that step, because I was okay for a moment in admitting and accepting that I needed help. I don’t know if I would have allowed myself to admit that if it hadn’t been for this forced isolation from my husband having to leave me home alone for this time. It took me a while to see any of the effects of my telehealth therapy sessions, so I found myself discouraged and down for a large portion of the summer. I was working on myself a lot more than I ever have previously, so that made me feel really good about myself. Overtime, I started to see the changes in my mood and started feeling grateful again. I don’t know where I’d be without that rock bottom moment that put me into therapy, but I’m glad I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, almost a year into the pandemic, still being stuck inside for over a year, I have a better outlook on many of my situations than I did 3 months into it. I appreciate my routines more now, like talking walks around local state parks and riding my bike on backroads, and see them as great personal bonding times. Do I plan on ever talking about the pandemic once it’s over? No. Do I think I’ll ever look back at this time with a different perspective? Probably not, but now I'm just taking everything day by day.


Day by Day — Kelly, Maryland

I have always considered myself to be an extrovert, a social butterfly, if you will. I love to see my friends whenever I can, I like to go out and explore new places, and I love to socialize. So much like everyone else, I found myself painstakingly bored nearly everyday, especially because I am retired, so I didn’t even have a job to look forward to. I also am one to help others whenever I can, and I would have loved to get out and run errands for people in my free time, but I was completely stuck. My parents, who are in their late 80’s, didn’t have me to help get them groceries or go to the pharmacy, which made me extremely nervous. I felt like they ended up helping me more than I helped them, and that was a really hard pill to swallow for me. Not only could I not help others, but I had to rely on people to help me run errands. My husband ended up working from home, which was wonderful for the sake of seeing him, but not so wonderful for feeling overcrowded and helpless. He was everything to me during the beginning - he would get my groceries every week, go on target runs when I asked, and would drive me every Sunday in the car to drive past my parents house to talk to them through the car. During this first phase, he was very considerate, especially because I wasn’t giving him the easiest time. I tried to stay positive, but I found myself falling into depressive spells and letting my emotions boil over, which is when problems would arise. He is not as equipt in the mental health department as he is in the physical labor department. This left me feeling pretty lonely at times, I felt like I only had him to confined in, but I felt awful bearing all my issues onto one person.

March 2020

A surreal moment where life paused for a minute; a rare glipse at an empty New York City.

2021 Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


Where was your headspace at before the pandemic? Sidney R.

Hannah S.

Justine W.

I was fairly positive and thankful for the life I was living at the time.

I was super happy and excited about the future and my relationships.

I felt like I was less ambitious before, I didn't really know what I wanted.

Julia G.

Sarah M.

Hafeezat S.

I felt like I had a grasp on my life, I felt as though things were going well.

I was doing well mentally and acedemically. I was taking really good care of myself.

I was a very proactive person, and while I was busy, I felt productive.

Kelly L.

Mimi D.

Marvin M.

It was rewarding, I was doing things like voulenteering which made me feel helpful and good.

I was focused on cheap thrills, consuming so much stimulation I was just coasting through life.

It was negative and cloudy. I also had an overwhelming sense of disappointment, almost self hatred.

Where is your headspace at right now? Sidney R.

Hannah S.

Justine W.

I feel a lot more defeated and confused about life. I'm struggling to find the point of it all.

It plummeted at first, but now is as good as it possibly can be under these circumstances.

Now I had the chances to figure out my goals and dreams for my future. I've have a chance to reflect.

Sarah M.

Hafeezat S.

I feel depressed, anxious, and overwhelmed most days. I struggle to do anything, espically take care of myself.

Now everything that came with ease is 100x more difficult. It feels like a fog over my mind.

Mimi D.

Marvin M.

I've been forced to sit with my thoughts for days and I have reflected a lot on my needs and what's really important.

It has taken a 180. I have gained a better grasp on reality and feel like my life is complete and valid.

Julia G. I have fallen into a deepening depression, that's left me feeling numb with no passion for life anymore.

Kelly L. I've let myself loose a lot over this time and I feel much more hopeless than anything.

With Love From,


Micheal, Boston Maggie, Philadelphia


Spring 2020


42.3505° N, 71.1054° W

From, Micheal

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


As a college student this was something refreshing and in my mind important to actually being able to create the solid loving relationship we have today.

Maggie and I met online in mid March 2020 as the country began its lockdown and I was rapidly separated from my current life in college in Boston. We had met through a stereotypical dating app which was surprising to both of us. Even though the app had foundations of creating empty temporary relationships, because of covid we were able to create something much more than that. For the first few months of us knowing each other, even though we were only several miles apart, we had a long distance relationship. As a college student this was something refreshing and in my mind important to actually being able to create the solid loving relationship we have today. All we could do was get to truly know and understand each other. After a few months we were finally able to meet. Of course things were great and our full relationship was able to prosper. Throughout the rest of our summer Maggie and I got to know and fall in love with each other even more. School began in the fall for us both. I went back to Boston to finish my last year of undergrad and she continued her time at university in Philadelphia. Even though for many, transitioning to a long distance relationship would be something challenging, this was absolutely no issue for us. It felt normal and healthy, and our relationship was able to grow. Maggie was able to come up to Boston a number of times and I was able to come back home for the holidays and enjoy as much physical time with her as possible. Currently I am finishing my last semester back in Boston. Things are currently going great between us and we are happily in love.

Spring 2020

39.9812° N, 75.1497° W

From, Maggie We met on Tinder — so cliche right? You either love it or hate it — back March of 2020… the literal start of the pandemic. I was, and probably still am, dealing with identity issues when we met. We both had come out of semi long term relationships that ended about five months prior to our meeting. We shared an emotional connection with no physical contact for the first month and a half or so, staying up until 5 am facetime or texting and really getting to know each other. Fast forward nearly a year later and I am starting to believe that there is no honeymoon stage to this relationship, it is just overall a healthy, loving, secure, and promising relationship. He goes to school in Boston and I go to school in Philadelphia, so we always have a touch of nostalgia from the early quarantine and early stage of our relationship. I am happy, healthy, and non-anxiously attached, and it feels good.


With Love, From... — Maggie, Philadelphia & Micheal, Boston

The lack of seeing each other is the worst, but also when we do get to see each other it is like we have never been separated. The distance has allowed me to make the best of all our times together (both virtual and in person); it has been an opportunity to get creative-- we have face time dates where we watch movies together while on the phone, we share our favorite shows and get to have conversations on things other than our actual realities with work, school, and future plans, either academically or work related. I think we are both very grateful for all aspects of our relationship because of the way we have been able to connect when we are far apart; it shows us that if we can be this great from afar, it will be even better when we finally get to live closer together someday.

Fast forward nearly a year later and I am starting to believe that there is no honeymoon stage to this relationship, it is just overall a healthy, loving, secure, and promising relationship.

Spring 2020 35

With Love, From... — Maggie, Philadelphia & Micheal, Boston

Relationships are one of those things that needs to be taken extremely slow. Rarely is there a rush for anything when it comes to falling in love. It's one of the only moments in life where I believe you should truly feel comfortable going with the flow. Without that, you will never find what's truly genuine in life.

2021 36

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened

How to Navigate Long Distance Relationships During a Pandemic

Longer Distance We’re all coping with a lack of contact with the people we care about. And for couples, quarantines might mean experiencing new kinds of distance. Maybe one partner’s gone to take care of family for the duration of the pandemic. Maybe two people in a long-distance relationship have no idea when they’ll be able to travel to see each other again. Or maybe a couple lives within driving distance, but the consequences of spreading the virus are too high to risk it.

Therapist Lori Gottlieb is hearing it all, In addition to her regular clients, Gottlieb is receiving letters from tons of couples who are trying to figure out how to cope with the current climate. While the stress of a pandemic is definitely putting relationships to the test, she says it’s also allowing us to see our partners in a new light—and that when this is all over, we might come out of it with a greater sense of appreciation and gratitude for the partner we’ve chosen.

Released in 2021

What advice would you give people experiencing new challenges in long-distance relationships because of the pandemic? People who have been doing long distance for a while are used to keeping in touch via FaceTime until the next time they’re able to be in the same room. But now, even for couples who are normally long-distance, there are extended stretches where they actually can’t be together and aren’t sure of the next time they’ll be able to be together. That means they’re going to have to get creative about staying connected. What I’ve seen people do is make sure that that other person knows that you’re thinking of them during the day—and that means making sure you’re not just talking about coronavirus all the time but that you’re staying connected as a couple. Take all the other aspects of life that you might engage in if you were in the same house—you might play a game of Scrabble, watch a show together, or cook together—and do those things over the phone or video call.

For those in relationships that are long distance for the first time, what kinds of issues can they expect to endure?

How can long-distance couples work through any of their misunderstandings? It’s very common that couples experiencing long distance for the first time have differences in how much they expect to communicate. One might feel like distance makes the heart grow fonder, while the other might get anxious that out of sight means out of mind. And this is where each person needs to understand why they’re feeling the way they’re feeling. Why do they need so much communication? Is it because their anxiety is spinning out of control and making them feel insecure? Do they wonder if their partner is thinking about them? Or for a partner who might not feel like they need a lot of communication, is that driven by anxiety? Are they isolating themselves in a way that’s not very healthy? It goes both ways.


How do you cope with the lack of proximity or physical touch? That’s the hardest part of it. There is no substitute for being curled up on the couch with your partner. It helps to just be able to acknowledge to each other that this is very hard—not to be able to hug and kiss and be intimate, whatever it is. And we have to remember there are ways not to completely lose the intimate parts of a relationship. Phone sex is a thing. You can flirt long-distance, even if it’s just a little banter on the phone when you’re talking to each other. Just because we’re in a pandemic doesn’t mean you can’t be playful or experience moments of joy with your partner. For the emotional health of the relationship, we need to be able to recognize those two disparate things exist at the same time. There’s this tragic circumstance going on and it’s so upsetting, and also we’re human and have a partner we really enjoy. Both of those things are true.

Longer Distance

When couples don’t have practice doing long-distance, they tend to have a lot of communication issues when long-distance happens to them. For example, if they don’t hear from their partner all day, they might not know what that means. Or one partner wants to be in touch all the time and the other person needs more space. Or they just don’t have a lot of practice making sure that each of them feels like they are on the other person’s mind. “Just because we’re in a pandemic doesn’t mean you can’t be playful or experience moments of joy with your partner.” A lot of people who aren’t used to longdistance stay within a narrow conversation of catching up: What did you do today? What’s happening? Tell me

about the people you talked to today or what you did. And they miss out on the truly connecting kinds of conversations: How are you feeling? What was that experience like for you? How can I help?

2021 Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


Do you find that people are relying more on their partners right now? Yeah. Our partners don’t normally meet every single need of ours, so we can’t expect them to do that now. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one person. We have to look at what is realistic. Right now, we have to figure out how we can manage our anxiety without putting it all on our partner. Think: Should I meditate? Should I take a walk? Can I call a friend? In terms of the pandemic itself, remember that everybody is dealing differently with what we’re all experiencing. You have to talk to your partner about how they’re managing and how you’re managing, and you have to stay aware not just of what you need but of what the other person needs, too.

What can couples do to stay engaged with each other during the pandemic? I think one thing that’s fun for couples to do that gives them sort of a distraction and also a connection is just plan for the future. Like: Hey, when we start to emerge from this, what are some things we want to do together? What are some things we’re experiencing now that we’re going to laugh about later? And you know, people truly

reveal themselves in times of a crisis: What are you learning about your partner that you didn’t know before the pandemic, and how did you get closer to each other? It’s not just about what’s happening now but also how this experience is going to strengthen you as a couple for the rest of your relationship.

What can going through something like a pandemic reveal about a relationship? Pre existing issues in relationships that maybe people didn’t know were going on. I’ve been getting letters from people who are saying that now that they’re not spending all this time with their boyfriend or their fiancé, they’re realizing they’re not sure whether they are compatible in ways that they thought they were. “It’s not just about what’s happening now, but also how this experience will strengthen you as a couple for the rest of your relationship.” But the second is that the stress and distance are bringing up so many things that people don’t normally realize—how strongly they’re connected to their partners, how grateful they are for their partners, and how glad they are to be going through this with this particular person. And the tally of all the things they’re missing right now is evidence of how much they really love this person.

Released in 2021

“It’s not just about what’s happening now, but also how this experience is will strengthen you as a couple for the rest of your relationship.”


Longer Distance

—— Excerpts from an interview with Lori Gottileb, American Author and Licensed Psychotherapist, specializing in couples and relationships.


The Interlude

Released in 2021

A Summer of Safety

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened

After the first few months of the pandemic and forcing everyone into socially distanced and panic inducing scenarios, we begin to see the effects on what this isolation has done to people. We begin to develop into a world that takes these problems and adapts to them. During this summer, we start seeing an increase in mask wearing and protective gear, a huge rise in the usage of delivery services and take out menus, even public spaces creating social “circles” for people to still get out while being safe.


May 8th, 2020

June 8th, 2020

United States reaches 15% unemployment rate with 33M filing claims.

New Zealand lifts all restrictions after having no domestic cases.

4,203,921 CASES

7,488,820 CASES


May 1st, 2020

May 22nd, 2020

June 11th, 2020

FDA authorizes Remdesivir use for emergency case.

China reports no new domestic cases of COVID-19.

Biotech company, Moderna, is the first to begin test stages of vaccine.

3,578,948 CASES

5,528,798 CASES

7,893,027 CASES

June 24th, 2020

July 7th, 2020

July 25th, 2020

26 US States see rise in cases after lifting restrictions.

President Donald Trump withdrawls from the WHO.

North Korea reports their first domestic case of COVID-19.

9,843,916 CASES

12,326,773 CASES

16,634,835 CASES


July 3rd, 2020

July 14th, 2020

August 10th, 2020

United States reports record 55,000 cases in a single day.

Moderna vaccine is first vaccine to display positive immunity.

Moderna supplies United States with 100M doses of experimental vaccines.

11,566,873 CASES

13,863,612 CASES

20,528,553 CASES

Perfect Timing


Tamara, Scotland Pål Arne, Norway

Period Summer 2020

2021 Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened

48 When the first lockdown in the UK hit, I had a rough six months behind me. My long term partner and I had split up, grades at university had plummeted, I needed to work overtime to be able to sustain myself on my own, and if that wasn’t enough, my landlord had just given me a deadline to leave my flat because he was intending to sell the property. The week before the first lockdown, I moved in with my best friend in the Glasglow, Scotland. We met through our university and over the previous two years we had grown to be pretty close. But, as I quickly learned, being friends does not always mean you will do well sharing a place too. Lockdown did it’s part in this , but the hypocrisy, the “I know better” attitude mixed with the “I take what I want but everyone else is at fault” of my so called friend drove me nearly insane. In an attempt to have some social interaction I had kept swiping and talking to people on tinder when the passport option was made available. I thought, there is no point matching with someone far away, if you like each other you’d not be able to meet anyway, not even considering the global pandemic. So I avoided all profiles of people that were thousands of miles away from me, apart from one that had weirdly sparked my interest. I swiped, we matched. “Greetings from Norway.” And so, I started talking with this Norwegian man. It is nothing unusual for me to have intimate conversations with people where long messages are sent back and forth, and so I did with him. One day we decided to take our conversations to snapchat because of the lack of ability to send pictures on tinder. Then we took it to discord, where we would have hour long voice chats, which lead to even longer video calls. He eventually bought a webcam to video chat with me. After five months of texting, voice calls, and video chatting, he finally asked me: "Would you be my player 2?" Cheesy I know, but the best feeling I've felt in a long time. So we were a couple, him being in Norway, me being in the UK. Covid by far not over, I started investigating what our possibilities were. I was determined to meet him. Considering my flatmate situation and that he works but my courseload takes place entirely online, I concluded the easiest would be for me to go to Norway.

After five months of texting, voice calls, and video chatting, he finally asked me: "Would you be my player 2?" Cheesy I know, but the best feeling I've felt in a long time.

Summer 2020 49

Perfect Timing — Pal Arne, Norway & Tamara, Scotland

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened 50


Summer 2020 51

The day he came to pick me up, I checked out my hotel, and he sat in the lobby once again. This time, no masks, no two meter social distance policy holding us back. We could finally hug each other. In Norway you are allowed to stay in the country to visit for 90 days before you need a visa, and so here I am, currently writing this, wrapped in the yellow blanket I had only ever seen during video chats, sitting in my partners living room, happier than I have been in a long time.

I was not allowed to take a test there and wait it out in a quarantine hotel, I was sent back to Amsterdam.

Perfect Timing — Pal Arne, Norway & Tamara, Scotland

So I planned. I booked flights, I checked covid regulations on a daily basis. Everything was fine until the weekend before the flight. Norway’s entry regulations had changed. From the night from Sunday to Monday a negative covid test had to be provided upon entry. Information was vague so I took a chance and went anyway. From Glasgow to Amsterdam, from Amsterdam to Trondheim. Where I was stopped. I was not allowed to take a test there and wait it out in a quarantine hotel, I was sent back to Amsterdam. Luckily my Uncle was so kind to spontaneously pick me up there. Three flights in one day and the extreme disappointment of not even having seen him and having been sent back had been quite exhausting. The next day, at my parents house, I started planning once again. I sat out 10 days of quarantine at their house while writing assessments for university, then took a covid test at my local doctors office, and within three weeks I once again was on my way to Norway. This time having all documentation and knowing exactly what was going to happen. Because even with a negative covid test, I had to spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel. This time at least I got to see him. He waited in the lobby of the hotel. Our first time seeing each other in person and we could not hug, we could not kiss. We stood two metres apart with masks on our faces, and yet it was a wonderful moment.


As a 16 year old, this pandemic didn’t start off for me too terribly. Missing 2 weeks of school and just getting to stay home and watch Netflix all day? Kinda sounded like a dream to me at the time. Like most people, espically those first two weeks, I hadn’t taken it too seriously. I used that time to just enjoy my free time and spend time with all my friends who were also home doing nothing. We would all meet up outside each others houses and spend the day together just hanging out. I know I’m young, but I felt like a kid again. No resposibilities and all this freedom to just live my life. Looking back, we were all so naive to what was to come in the next few months.

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


After the initial ‘no school, no job, pure freedom!!’ bliss wore off, I started to become increasing nervous about the severity of the pandemic and I started to follow the guidelines more. It was then where things started going down hill. I began to notice that while I wanted to stay safe and had fear of getting it and giving it to my family or grandparents, other people around me didn’t seem to care. My friends began to hangout with me, and soon enough, it seemed like I got left behind with their precovid lives. This sucks for anyone, but to a 16 year old extroverted girl, this felt like social suicide. I began to develop symptoms of depression, always feeling left out of things because I cared. That’s what really got me, is that I started to hate that I cared about other people. I wished I could just be another selfish teenager who didn’t care about the pandemic. Everyone else around me was like that - why couldn’t I be? Every day after felt more lonely than the next. After 3 months, I realized I hadn’t even socialized with anyone my age about anything besides homework and school. I felt like I didn’t matter to people anymore. The only people keeping me sane were my sister, mom, and step father. For some background I grew up with just my mom after my dad left when I was a child. My mom started dating this guy when I was in elementary school and he ended up being a father figure to me throughout my childhood and he lived with my mom, sister, and I. While he isn’t biologically my father, he has always been there for me and

I love him like a real father. I have been spending all of my time with my mother and him since I have been stuck in my house. I thought we were safe enough, I thought we would be fine and get through this together. But he had been going out and seeing friends and family more frequently, and we started to argue about that. As a hormonal teenager, I had many emotional outbreaks about how selfish he was being, and how as an adult he should have it together more than his daughter. Things got pretty harsh, and that’s when it happened. That’s when things always happen - when you’re least prepared for them. A few days later, he had contracted COVID and it was a really bad case of it. My mom and I took him to the ER, where he was staying for 2 days before he passed due to the severity of his symptoms. At first, it didn’t feel real. I felt so much anger towards him, for not being precautious, and towards the rest of the world, who hasn’t given two shits about other people this whole time. Seeing my old friends who go out partying every weekend, seeing kids traveling with family, I can’t take it. I feel like I have this weight on my shoulders to be responsible for others, and no one else seems to care, so why do my efforts even care? Shortly after my rage and anger towards other, those feelings soon turned into a looming feeling of loneliness, and I’ve been inconsolable ever since. Scanning social media and looking through old pictures and I just can’t believe it’s real. I dont know what to do with myself. I feel like I cant move on with every day activities because it’s all I can think about. The last time I spoke with him was not a good incident and i’m filled with so much guilt. He died thinking I hated him. I was angry, but only because I wanted him safe, I wanted to prevent this from happening to him or anyone. I’m filled with so much regret and sadness I dont know how to move forward. I just want other people to care and realize while their lives might not be affected, other people are losing loved ones over their mistakes. I know he isn’t blameless in this, but I am just so disappointed in people these days. I feel like I have aged 10+ years over these past 4 months. I just want my carefree teenage years back from me. I don’t want to keep being a grown up. I’m growing away from the self I knew and loved.

Late Summer 2020

Growing Away


Growing Away - Emilie, New York

—— My favorite childhood memory and photo with my dad

May 2020

A summer filled with grieving, exhaustion, and loneliness. Many people have to face new realities.

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened 56

Indoor Voices


Summer 2020

Overall, I think that we had to experience a lot of deeply emotional experiences early on in our relationship due to the pandemic, which made me feel closer to him much faster than 57 a good bulk of that time, which is pretty irritating. That seems like a pretty good problem to have, but as someone who just doesn’t feel they have much to say most of the time, it feels like he dominates the relationship at times. Sometimes, I would just prefer a little peace and quiet in our life, it makes me feel safer in our relationship. He’s also pretty stubborn, very “my way or the highway” kind of person. That makes it hard at times when we have small disagreements at home, because I feel like he talks too much anyways and gets defensive when I do say anything. Regardless of these small things, I’m really thankful to have him. Having a partner during this time has made time go by a lot easier and happier, and he is a really great guy, so I feel pretty lucky. Like most people I know, this time has brought us closer together. We had to adjust to life together, in a very uncomfortable way. We also learned to love the ‘bad’ in each other during this time. Really seeing each other’s most pure self. That was kinda cool, getting to see each other on a level we probably otherwise wouldn’t have experienced, at least this early on. Overall, I think that we had to experience a lot of deeply emotional experiences early on in our relationship due to the pandemic, which made me feel closer to him much faster than what I’m used to. While I’m not thankful for many other parts of this pandemic, I am thankful that we were able to stay connected through this whole year. We’ve been dating for just over a year, and I cant wait for our future post-covid.

Indoor Voices — Kate, Arizona

My partner’s name is Drew and we started dating in January of 2020. We were lucky enough to have had a few normal months before COVID hit, and we have been dating ever since. Drew is an amazing partner. He is kind, loving, and extremely thoughtful. He always tries to do what he can to help me during this time because I am a high school teacher, which puts a lot of stress on me trying to adapt to a virtual learning space. He’s a hard working person, talented, and very driven. He has never been down about all of the terrible things happening in our world right now. I can really appreciate that because I tend to get down often over the little details of our current lives. He always try to pick me up from it. At first it was hard because we literally didn’t have anything to do besides play Minecraft, which, three months into the relationship, wasn’t the most ideal or romantic date night in my eyes. During the summer when cases started to go down after the initial lockdown in Arizona, there was a point where we both felt comfortable enough to go out to eat or do some downtown activities. Those few weeks we were able to go out were so great for our relationship. It felt like we gave the relationship a jump start of romance, since we had been just chilling at home in our sweats 24/7. But, ever since the cases started getting worse, we have moved back to indoor activities and traded in Minecraft for Animal Crossing as our pass time of choice. Soon after having to transition to at home only activities, Drew got COVID. We had to spend a month apart from each other during that time, which was a really confusing experience. It felt like we were experiencing a long distance, when in reality he lives 10 minutes away and it felt silly not to see him for so long. It was something we never faced before and exploring that new dynamic was so difficult for us both emotional, it felt hard to have a true emotional connection during that experience. Luckily, Drew was okay and practically asymptomatic, so right after he healed, we were back to spending most of our days together. Overtime, we have definitely begun to notice each other’s flaws just because of the constant time spent in his apartment together. I feel like you get to know someone rapidly faster in this time because all you have to do is interact with your immediate surroundings. Every now and then we get annoyed with each other, me with him mostly. He really likes talking constantly, and likes to talk about himself

2021 Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


All at Once My partner and I, Zach, were staying in Philly while people slowly headed home. I think it was around Easter that we went to visit his family. I thought that we would be there for a week at the most, and didn’t pack much. But then the travel ban happened, and while we technically could have made it back to Philly without much issue, we weren’t in a rush to leave because we were comfortable and we saved money on food. I think we wound up staying at his parent’s house for over a month, which was fine for him, but I like being in my own space and hate feeling like I’ve overstayed my welcome when I’m a guest. But since I couldn’t drive myself, I didn’t have much of an option to leave. We both finished our classes from his parent’s house. I lost my summer internship at Google and my existing internship let me go as well, but luckily Tyler has a great network of professors and industry professionals and I was able to pick up another full time job for the summer. Having the starting date of that job was a great excuse to be like “okay, I would like to go home to Philly now.” So I went back to my house that had no AC and where my roommates had already moved out, and none of my friends were around. Zach started working at his full-time job, and moved into his parent’s basement to save money and commute to work. We both got really lonely, so he

quickly found a house and a roommate and moved out. Then the protests and civil unrest surrounding George Floyd’s murder happened, which was pretty scary in the city, and I felt like Zach didn’t full understand what it was like to live in the city by yourself and constantly hear helicopters and loud booms 24/7 for 3 weeks. We went to participate in protests and got war-crimed by the police and I felt like no one understood why I was so stressed all of the time. And nothing that happened in the following months really seemed that bad after going through that. I saw this tweet that defined the term “Pandemic comfortable” as being employed and physically healthy during a pandemic and no one close to you has died. I’m grateful to have had those things but I would be lying if I said that it’s been easy. I’m obviously over it, but I don’t have it that bad. Last semester was really hard and I got into a really bad place, then I got help and properly medicated. And it’s all good now. I’m not sure if it was COVID, or just being together for the first time when he wasn’t running cross country, but I think we became closer. We have a lot less to fight about these days. I think I got to know the dynamics of his family better during our time staying there. I saw sides of his family that I never saw before as a short-term guest. He’s also gotten more attached to me, probably because he doesn’t have running to take up all of his time now. We became pretty domesticated during our long stretches of living together. I also changed a lot myself during this time, which inherently also affected my relationship because our lives are so intertwined. Before the pandemic, I was so ambitious and thought that I’d do anything to get ahead in my career. I have this new mentality that’s driven by the knowledge that no matter how hard you try, you could still get COVID and die; similar to life. You can try as hard as you want in your life but you’re still going to die, so why break your back trying and forget to enjoy life? Now I just want to chill and enjoy life with someone I love, have some nice things, and mind my own business. That mindset has translated to a shift in both of our future plans.

Spring/Summer 2020 59

All at Once — Abby, Pennsylvania

I saw this tweet that defined the term “Pandemic comfortable” as being employed and physically healthy during a pandemic and no one close to you has died. I’m grateful to have had those things but I would be lying if I said that it’s been easy.


What has been your favorite memory from the pandemic? Abby S.

Marvin M.

Justine W.

Going hiking at Lake Placid together. It was our first trip together.

Finding a new purpose or adding intention to the hobbies I have.

My trip out west with my boyfriend. I’m so grateful I got to take a trip like that.

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


Nicole M.

Kelly W.

Hafeezat S.

Getting out of my toxic relationship and truly finding myself.

Getting out of the house and going for rides... backroads, exploring state parks, etc.

Going to the beach - I had never been to the beach in America before, just my home country.

Tamara Z.

Mimi D.

Cassidy R.

Meeting my boyfriend for the first time after my second attempt to visit.

Spending every day from morning till late night with my brothers playing video games and watching horror movies.

Going to Joshua Tree this summer with my roommate. I hadn’t left the east coast in years.

Texting with my crush and having really deep conversations about life.

Olivia M. The day that I beat COVID and got to leave the hospital finally.

Hannah S.

Matt B.

Seeing my girlfriend for the first time when she picked me up at the airport.

Honestly just making it through this pandemic alive and safe.

Bailey K.

Alex P.

Reconnecting with my family members after moving back home.

Getting to work from home and not get ready just to leave my house.

Released in 2021

Sarah B.


Sarah M.

Lauren K.

The birth of my niece! She is so adorable, I’m lucky to have her now.

My first vacation after covid hit. It felt so good to be relaxing.

Adopting my puppy last summer. I would have been so alone without her.

Michelle R.

Jessica M.

Joseph L.

Watching my husband start & grow his own business from home.

All of the nights in (I’m a huge introvert!) with my friends and family.

Getting a much needed break from work, school & just life in general.

Q&A: Pandemic Memory

Julia G.

2021 Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


My boyfriend David and I really made the best of covid. For us both, covid quarantine was not something that we were thrilled about and we felt very confined. Although it really appeared as something awful that hindered our personalities and human experiences, it proved to bring some benefits I wouldn't have seen in god knows when. David got to work on music, I got to focus more on my own self, but there was one thing that came from covid that is priceless to me. David and I are pretty on the move people so when the summer rolled around we knew we had to figure something out besides sitting inside. We planned a 2 week trip out West hike some national parks. Yes that sounds not covid friendly and of course we were unsure at first, but we planned it out safely. We decided we would be renting a truck and drive all the way out. We would not go to any hotels or eateries and we'd only need to go out to get gas/groceries. We slept in a little tent and ate things like tuna packets and canned foods. Of course this is not really a “vacation”, especially only showering once during the two weeks, but it was a trip we really wanted to experience together for a while. We wanted to make the trip rough and gritty rather than something relaxing. It was the only trip that could work during covid. We set out, driving from Ohio to the Badlands of South Dakota. This was my first time out west so seeing this amazing national park was breathtaking. I was so speechless. We got to hike a little and camped on this crazy remote ledge where you could hear the coyotes at night. We then set out to The Black Hills and spent some time hiking there. After our time in South Dakota, we drove all the way down to Colorado where we went to check out the Black Canyon of the Gunison. Things got a little rocky here, we were at 10,000 ft so the high altitude made me get a huge nose bleed and we had no service. It was a little frightening but of course everything was fine. Beside that the black canyon was so remote and so deep and narrow, truly a sight to see. At this point we were nearly a week into the trip. We drove into Utah where we camped in Moab so we could hike in Arches National Park. This park definitely had the most people we had seen during the trip but people would put up their mask when passing. Aside from the mass amount of people, this park was

I feel as though I gained so much experience and love for the earth. Every hike, every camp site, just every moment was so special and had its own touch on my heart. like a different planet, I had no idea America could look like this. Moab was especially nice because we had our first shower! There was a small recreational center that offered a $5 pool and shower passes so of course we had to. Best shower I had ever taken. After being in Utah for about 3-4 days, we got tired of the hot weather. The nights we camped the lowest temp was 92 degrees. You can imagine that’s not fun when you are in a tent without AC. We left Utah and Went back to Colorado where the temp dropped 20 degrees. We stumbled upon a small ski town within the mountains called Ouray. We actually could not find camping around this area so we had to actually find somewhere to stay. Of course a lot of the hotels in the area were closed but lucky for us there was a small lodge with natural hot springs. It was a nice relaxing small spot that was a good break from the tent. We continued through Colorado and went to Telluride which is another ski town but offers some great hikes! Lastly we finished our journey by stopping in The Great Sand Dunes of Colorado. I can't express enough how inspiring this trip was. I feel as though I gained so much experience and love for the earth. Every hike, every camp site, just every moment was so special and had its own touch on my heart. I am beyond grateful David and I took this trip as a couple. I feel it strengthened aspects of our relationship and allowed us to experience the beauty of America together. I couldn't have done it without him and his strong lead. He took charge and taught me alot about taking a trip like we did.

Summer 2020 63

Simple Pleasures — Justine, Pennsylvania

Simple Pleasures


The Relapse

Released in 2021

Taking a Turn for the Worst

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened

As things were seemingly getting better, there was a clear push to reopen businesses and resume life as soon as possible. As the cold months and early nights began to creep back in, people could no longer keep contained to their homes. This is when we start to see a major divide in people, those who have given up on taking precautions and those who continue to stay safe. While the cases continue to rapidly increase, especially around the holidays, there is hope for some with a vaccine nearing release to the general public.


August 31st, 2020

September 28th, 2020

India becomes the 3rd highest affected country, behind Brazil and the US.

Global deaths continue to increase, surpassing 1M in total.

26,272,634 CASES

34,284,425 CASES


August 24th, 2020

September 9th, 2020

October 8th, 2020

The first known case of reinfection is reported in Hong Kong.

Half a million United States children diagnosed with COVID-19.

United States prepares for a second round of stimulus checks.

24,397,030 CASES

28,720,499 CASES

37,435,184 CASES

October 29th, 2020

December 2nd, 2020

December 20th, 2020

Europe becomes the epicenter again and goes back into 2nd lockdown.

United Kingdom grants first emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine.

Europe imposes travel ban from the United Kingdowm after new varient found.

46,091,076 CASES

65,714,650 CASES

77,317,154 CASES


November 9th, 2020

December 8th, 2020

December 29th, 2020

Pfizer announces a 90% effectiveness rating of their vaccine.

United Kingdon indetifies a new variant that appears more transmissible.

United States identifies the first case of the new varient in Colorado.

52,090,088 CASES

69,448,113 CASES

82,469,112 CASES

2021 70

An Updated Definition of Adulthood

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened

For the most part, the pandemic has restricted motion and travel in America. But one exception has been a large-scale nationwide reshuffling of humans between homes. Before the coronavirus came to the United States, many of the country’s young adults were working, studying, and building lives on their own. Now, a great deal of them are back to living with their parents. Infact, over 52% of all young adults are living with atleast one parent or family memeber. The number of American adults who have returned to living at home is enormous. Data released by Zillow in early 2020 indicates that about 2.9 million adults moved in with a parent or grandparent between March and May of 2020, most of them being college students aged 25 or younger. Their sudden dispersal into their parents’ homes is for some, the result of the suspension of Spring classes on college campuses and, for others, the result of miserable economic conditions. The Pew Research Center in March found that the younger an American adult is, the more likely that the pandemic has deprived them or someone in their household of work or earnings. Rent and other expenses got harder to cover, or simply to justify, for a large group of young people, so they moved home.

Released in 2021

Percent of 18-29 Year Olds Living with Their Parents 60% JULY 50% FEB 40%



10% 1910




2020 71

of wider-ranging conversations and deeper connection. Whereas teens are prone to hiding parts of themselves from their parents, emerging adults are usually more forthcoming. “It’s really gratifying to their parents, because parenting is a lot of work. However, we have to remember that a move home is an interruption for parents too. They’ve generally entered the “empty nesters” phase - a time they get to turn back to their own lives after a 20-or-so-year of a full house. Pandemic or not, having a child in the house again upsets their rhythms and impinges on their newly regained freedoms. Hopefully what will come of this pandemic is a new wave of people who really start to embrace the new timelines of emerging adulthood. More than ever, there’s no reason to hurry into adult life and set artificial deadlines. The societal norms for when you get married, have children, become fully employed, are a lot more relaxed than they used to be. Now we can use that to our advantage and take some of the pressure off, giving us a chance to slow down. Maybe this unhurried and understanding mentality will be the one that guides the people currently living at home when, 20 or 30 years from now, their own children are the ones doing the same.

An Updated Definition of Adulthood

In many segments of American society, living with one’s parents is seen as a mark of irresponsibility and laziness. The wave of young adults who have recently relocated is a symptom of a grave economic and public-health catastrophe, but living at home is not in and of itself a bad thing. In fact, one could even argue that it’s been unjustifiably stigmatized. Perhaps the pandemic is an unwelcome occasion to reappraise a living arrangement that is often maligned. The pandemic has interrupted many young people’s sense of progress by forcing them to move home. During emerging adulthood, young people lay the groundwork for the rest of their adult lives and generally aim to “get liftoff.” The crisis throws a wrench into whatever you were doing, whether it’s work or school, and not reaching this milestone “on time” is often stigmatized in young adulthood. That feeling of failure is hard to shake, because it’s the product of cultural programming. This mix of inconveniences and luxuries forms the physical backdrop for a bigger drama —the sometimes fraught, sometimes liberating renegotiations of parentchild relationships, now that the child isn’t actually a child anymore. In emerging adulthood, people generally get along really well with their parents, much better than they did as adolescents. This opens up the possibility


Late Starts Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


Some of the best moments that I’ve faced during COVID19 are ones of introspection. I’ve had plenty of time to think about myself, where I fit in this world (and where I don’t!), and how my presence and relationship with others is heavily dependent on the way that I interact with it (and vice-versa, but this is concerning myself). More good moments that I’ve had with myself during the pandemic are just that- moments with myself. I am probably as extroverted as they come, and as someone who’s had to take their life from a socially-bustling city [in college, no less], back to suburbia with my parents, unemployed, and unable to steal my friends away with me, I found myself extremely lost at the beginning of moving back home. However, in these moments, I quickly found positives and have learned to better appreciate time with only myself, whether that be gaming, watching media, doing passion projects that I’ve never made time for during undergrad, what have you. Appreciating and loving myself more (mostly in part due to the circumstances) is something that has come naturally to me nowadays, which is something I didn’t prioritize whilst living in heavily social atmospheres. Alternatively, I’ve also had a handful of bad moments as well. Every couple months at the beginning of the pandemic, I would find myself back in a cycle of complete utter disappointment, helplessness, and desperation. I’d like to do this most of these moments were due to the fact that I have a habit of setting standards high for myself. This can be a good thing for sure, however, when I’m in a situation where I’m not only not meeting

expectations that I’ve set for myself, but not feeling in a mood to dig myself out of those holes, it’s taught me that I need to set more realistic expectations. Of course, I didn’t graduate undergrad with a full-time, good-paying job living in my own living space and having a healthy social life with the great, quality friends that I’ve made in undergrad… but it took me a while to understand that the circumstances were literally out of my control. In a global pandemic where several industries have been affected, including my ideal career industry of health-wellness, of course it would be near impossible to find decent work at the peak of a pandemic. I also feared time and time again that I’ve settled with complacency. I’ll paint you one particularly ugly and low moment: I had a habit during the summer where, during my stint as a food courier, I would take advantage of the easier access of fast foods, or just any hot foods from casual dining joints. It definitely didn’t help that a newfound marijuana dependency kicked in during the pandemic, either. Pair those two together, and I found myself sitting in my childhood bed, high out of my mind by my lonesome, tearing up enough food that would satisfy a family of three. This was also, I believe, the second day in a row that I did this. I stopped smacking on whatever food I was eating and just stared up at the ceiling and drowned myself in tears, verbally asking myself, “Is this the life that I deserve for myself? Sitting in my childhood bed, extremely unsober, binging on food that I can more smartly portion out for days upon days? Am I making the best choices for myself, my body, and my soul?”


Late Starts — Marvin, Philadelphia

2021 Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


Digital Bonding Back in July of 2020, I downloaded TikTok because, like many people, I was bored during Covid. I was posting a lot of videos about being gay and a runner and just random stuff. One day, one of my videos went sort of virtual? It had like 80,000 views. I was getting a lot of comments and I would go to everyone’s profile who commented out of curiosity. Then, I got a comment from this girl, a very innocent comment, I mean the video was about running, and I clicked on her profile like everyone else but I thought she was extremely attractive. I couldn’t tell based on her TikTok if she was gay but she had a few videos that had gone viral with over 500,00+ views, so I figured it wasn’t weird if I followed her, since she already had a large following. She followed me back. When you follow each other on TikTok it sends you a notification that says “Say hi to your new friend!” So I sent her a DM,"TikTok is telling me to say hi… so hi :)” to which she responded: “Thank you TikTok for encouraging a cute girl to slide into my DMs” Obviously, at first, I thought nothing of it besides just having someone to talk to during this time, I never expected it to go much farther than that. But after that initial interaction we started talking on nearly every social media platform, and only a short two days later we were facetime for hours on end, just talking about anything and everything. In September, after months of talking daily, she flew to visit me, which is easily one of my favorite memories from the past year. After meeting and hitting it off right away, a month after that I flew to visit her and asked her to be my girlfriend. Only two months after that, we told each other we loved each other. Things were and have been moving fast, but I've never been so happy. We have been lucky enough to visit each other every month so far since we first met. While I am so grateful for our

Life began to feel like a boring, repetitive loop of responsibilities that I wanted no part in. I definitely could tell we were going through a rough patch, but I just chucked it all up to the pandemic putting a major weight on our backs. relationship, this distance hasn't been easy. It's nice to get to travel often, where I would otherwise just be stuck at home, but it still feels different. This long distance thing is never easy, but during covid, it's shocking that we're even making it work. It's always hard - figuring out how and when to see each other, choosing who flys to who, and considering all the risks of flying during a time like this. We are staying safe and getting tested before and after travelling and staying cautious in our daily lives, and not really going out when we are together. Not going on regular dates almost a year into a relationship is certainly weird, and something we wouldn't have had to do, but we are making it work. This time has given me a lot of gratitude and has made excited about the future, and I will always be somewhat grateful for this all happening, because otherwise, our paths would likely have never crossed.

Fall 2020

What was most surprising to me this entire year was that I never thought I'd fall in love like this, espically from a TikTok DM. At the beginning I was scared shitless, she also fell a lot faster than I did so I got worried about breaking her heart.


Digital Bonding — Hannah, Minnesota

October 2020

After living through the pandemic for 6 months, it's crucial to cherish the relationships you have with others.

Salted Wounds


Patrick, Colorado


Fall 2020

2021 Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


I hadn’t had kids in my previous marriage, so this bond we were creating has meant so much to me, I considered them my own kids. It was then that I knew I wanted to give her and her kids a better life.

My wife and I met on Tinder 5 years ago. I am a shy individual and she was very extroverted, so it was fairly easy for us to connect. After talking for over a month and meeting, I realized how many experiences and interests we shared, and it really made me feel connected to her. We both had been previously married, both had a shared experience of being overweight our whole life, and we shared experiences about our early childhoods. Things seemed to move fast with her, but she was the first person since my divorce I truly felt a connection with. First, I met her entire family, who opened me with welcome arms. They were amazing people, and had that tight knit family dynamic that I didn’t have growing up as a kid, so I sort of attached to them quickly too. After getting comfortable with me, they began revealing information about my wife to me, most harmless, funny middle school type stories, but also bigger bits of information about her manic behaviors and cycling through people. In hindsight, some of their comments to me should have set off red flags in my head, but I was so blinded with love at the time, I thought nothing of it. They would always joke that they were shocked I hadn’t ‘kicked her to the curb’ yet, and that this was the longest relationship she had, and that they were shocked I wasn’t tired of her. Shortly after meeting her family, I met her two kids, Eva and Ben, who I quickly grew close with as well. She admitted to me that they never had a father figure in their lives, so it makes sense that they love me so much, since I have such a kind heart. I hadn’t had kids in my previous marriage, so this bond we were creating has meant so much to me, I considered them my own kids. It was then that I knew I wanted to give her and her kids a better life. We continued talking and furthering the relationship, and eventually I proposed to her after 2 years of dating. So we did the whole thing, got married, had an amazing honeymoon in Bora Bora, bought a house, settled down into a really happy life which I was enjoying. She was the kindest soul, so hardworking and motivated, and so funny. We got through some really bad times together, and experienced the good days together. Things couldn’t have been going better, her kids were doing amazing in school, we were connecting more than ever better, and my job was allowing me to provide a better life for her and myself than we have both ever had before. Everything was perfect until the pandemic hit. It’s so hard to think of those early days of lockdown when things were going south fast.

Fall 2020

Once the pandemic hit, my wife lost her job and became a stay at home mom, while I still worked in person, because I was a teacher. I was usually the first one home, because I never had late nights, but for those first few weeks, I was always at work, trying to make a plan with my principle to transition to online learning. Our routines changed greatly, but it was nothing too bad, and I was just grateful I was still able to support us. But, my wife clearly hadn’t taken so well to this change. It feels like my wife flipped a switch overnight on me — she started going to bed at 7pm, and not speaking with me if she was up when I got home. I felt so disconnected with her, so I tried coming home early to see her more often, yet nothing really changed. Next, it was home maintanence. She was home all the time, but would just lay in bed all day, and then yell at me the second I got home because I wasn’t doing those chores immediately. I was already stressed enough from feeling disconnected, and this was only making it worse. I would try to do the tasks I could at night, but I would ask her just to get a few things done. She never would. It was so clear to me she was falling into a depression, and I felt so helpless because she was shutting me out completely. At this point, we were acting like roommates instead of husband and wife. This led me into a depression of my own, but I knew I needed to stay strong, for my wife, kids, and job. So, I began doing everything so she could just take time for herself, I even stopped bugging her with conversations about our intimacy, because everytime I did, it was an explosive fight. We were only a month and half into lockdown, but it had felt like a lifetime.


Salted Wounds — Patrick, Colorado

Life began to feel like a boring, repetitive loop of responsibilities that I wanted no part in. I definitely could tell we were going through a rough patch, but I just assumed it was just the pandemic, and I never thought things would stay bad forever. Things rapidly started getting worse, until a few weeks later, completely out of the blue, she sat me down and told me that after spending the night thinking, she decided that she wants to get divorced. She said she sees no hope in our marriage. How can someone I vowed my entire life to end things on some random tuesday? It even hurt more thinking that this was all over nothing. My heart sank. I told her I thought that was irrational and that I wanted to work on things before divorcing. I told her how much I love her, how much this marriage has meant to me. I begged for her to give this another chance, I couldn't lose her. She told me she didn’t care enough to do the work.

Life began to feel like a boring, repetitive loop of responsibilities that I wanted no part in. I definitely could tell we were going through a rough patch, but I just chucked it all up to the pandemic putting a major weight on our backs.

2021 Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


The only thing keeping me together was her kids, I couldn’t leave them to an even more troubled childhood then I was.

There’s no way this is real. That’s what I was thinking this entire week; it just can’t be real. We weren’t fighting, hell, we weren’t even communicating, so how can she just decide this for our future? I began apologizing, thinking that would work, but she just kept saying she didn’t care and it’s over. During this time, I had no clue what to do. It was hard to move out because of the pandemic, but I also didn't want to move out. I didn't want us to end. I also couldn't just fly back home and stay with my family; my mother was battling cancer and I couldn’t risk getting her sick. I just wanted this marriage back. Everything during this time doesn’t feel real, and most of it has been blocked out by copious amounts of alcohol consumption on my end. And just as I thought things couldn’t get worse, she starts seeing the father of her child, her last boyfriend. She tells me that since she called a divorce it isn’t cheating and she shows no sympathy. I couldn’t take it anymore and I fell even deeper into my depression. She began staying the night at her ex’s house more than ours, leaving her young children to fend with me. Obviously, I felt like their father and would do anything for them, but they weren’t my kids. They were hers and she was just neglecting them. Ben started acting out and doing poorly in school, and she would blame it on me. It’s always me, never her. This went on for months, progressively getting worse, until she started using drugs again. She would come home strung out, started stealing money from my wallet, and just emotionally abused me. I became so numb to all of these things, I just wanted to heal myself and help her kids. But, I was hurting so badly. I finally reached out to her family, and when I did, they certainly

weren’t surprised. They started to tell me all about her previous drug abuse, her manic episodes, and how her parents had to take custody of her children for a year when she went missing and nobody could contact her. I was at a complete loss of words. The love of my life; the sweet, loving, responsible women I married, was all a lie. I fell into a really dark place. I had no one to turn to during this time and I became suicidal. The only thing keeping me together was her kids, I couldn’t leave them to an even more troubled childhood then I was. My wife would still come around when her and her boyfriend got in a fight, and those nights were the hardest. I was trying to heal in the place that hurt me. I knew I needed to leave, but I was worried. I have no custody of the kids, and I didn’t want to leave them to their mother. But, after a month of struggling secretly in that house, I broke, and told my wife I was moving out by the end of that week. She wasn’t even upset, just said “okay” and then went back to her boyfriend's house. So, the weekend came, and I left. I found an apartment 10 minutes from the house so I could still help the kids and keep my job close by. My heart was ripped out of my body everyday. I would visit the kids daily, but once I had to leave, I could tell they wished I would stay. It started to weigh on me that I was leaving them, but it was too hard for me to be in that environment. I didn’t want any of this, and now I’m being forced out of my own life. I feel like I’m drowning in sorrow and there isn’t any light, it got so bad that there was a point that I started to think about taking my own life, ending this suffering. I felt like I could never trust anyone ever again, like whoever came into my life would hurt me. I got so mad at


Salted Wounds — Patrick, Coloado

the world, blaming the pandemic for all of our problems. It is the reason she fell into a depression, which led to all of this. It’s all the world's fault in my head. I couldn’t confide in anyone and dipped into a dark place I had never been to before. Luckily, her sister noticed, and we had a very long conversation about what I was going through. She explained the similarities in how she felt growing up around her sister, always feeling like she had to be the grown up, even as the younger child. I asked her how it was possible she hid this from me for 5 years, and we were both equally as confused. Her sister could hear the hurt in my words, and suggested I go to therapy. So, I did. I started seeing someone who helped me work through all of this trauma. It wasn’t a fast process, and I’m still nowhere near where I need to be to be better, but it is working. I’m slowly learning more about myself too in this process, and what I look for in a partner. I no longer blame myself for her falling out, but I’ll never let go of the feeling of being so blindsided by someone so close to me. I still don’t trust anyone and I’ve found myself to not let myself enjoy other people’s company. Being stuck at home now, with my school still practicing remote learning, has been giving me the time to heal in private. This is still an ongoing grieving process for me, and I have no idea the outcome of my life, but part of me is thankful that all of this happened, because otherwise I wouldn’t have seen the type of person my ex-wife was until I was in even deeper. While this entire past year has sucked, I am glad that I finally have the chance to work on myself.

Fall 2020

I no longer blame myself for her falling out, but I’ll never let go of the feeling of being so blindsided by someone so close to me.


What has the pandemic taught you about relationships? Natalie R.

Carly M.

Abbey C.

That I depend on my partner and we work well as a team.

When you don't see people as much they dissapear very fast.

Treasure every moment that you're with them.

England, UK

Deleware, USA

Rome, Italy

Sidney R.

Cayden D.

Julia G.

Cherish people for who they are and what who you wish they were.

Increase your connection with people who are alone.

Don't take the time you spend together for granted.

Vermont, USA

Texas, USA

Pennsylvania, USA

Mason W.

Caleb W.

Lucy K.

They can actually be rewarding and supportive.

Friendships aren't determined by length - but by value.

Find contentment that relationships will never be 100% liner.

New York, USA

Pennsylvania, USA

Reykjavik, Iceland

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


Abby M.

Anthony R.

Most of the people in your life right now are temporary.

You need to trust others and be patient with them.

Some relationships don't work out for no real reason at all.

New Jersey, USA

Maine, USA

Florida, USA

Gregory S.

Alexander B.

Matilde W.

In times of need, those who show us are important.

We learned who we really are when we're not together as often.

They are harder to maintain that I thought.

California, USA

Illinois, USA

Lisbon, Portugal

Released in 2021

Hannah M.


Caroline B.

Lauren Y.

A newfound love and cherishing towards the friends I have.

Distance in a relationship makes it hard to feel close.

Being truly alone can be super harmful to one's wellbeing.

North Carolina, USA

Pennslyvania, USA

Arizona, USA

Zoe C.

Hope C.

Tamara Z.

You need to learn to start loving all sides of your partner.

You don't need constant interaction to stay friends.

Vancouver, Canada

Toyko, Japan

Relationships are and should be seen as a privilege. Scotland, UK

Q&A Relationships

Haefzat A.


Taking Care of Yourself During a Pandemic

Making Time

Making time for self-care is important for your overall health. From watching the news every hour to scrolling social media a little too much, it’s easy to get lost in the noise of what’s going on around us. And you’re not alone in this. If you’ve found yourself in an extended state of self-quarantine, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your mental health, in addition to your physical health.

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


More than ever, self-care should be at the forefront of your mind. Some of these may have long-lasting effects, so it’s important to check in with yourself regularly, if you have a preexisting mental health condition, make sure you continue your treatment and check in with your doctor, letting them know if symptoms change or worsen. More than ever, self-care should be at the forefront of your mind. In just a few simple ways, you can work it into your time spent at home.

Released in 2021

5 Thing You Can Do to Improve Your Overall Mental Health Right Now Make time to unwind and enjoy some alone time Make time for projects that make you happy. Spend time reading, writing, knitting, decluttering, painting, meditating or doing yoga — whatever you enjoy. If you like to cook, plan out your next few days of meals and cook healthy dishes for yourself and everyone in your house using what you have on hand. This will also challenge your creativity and help you fight boredom.

Remind yourself why we're staying inside Remind yourself why you’re practicing isolation or quarantine. It’s to keep not only ourselves safe but our older neighbors down the street, our parents and others we care about who may be extra vulnerable. Thank yourself for doing such an honorable and selfless act, and keep your mind busy as much as possible. 87

Take a break from the watching the news Taking breaks from the news and social media helps distance yourself, even a little, from what’s going on and avoid getting overwhelmed. When you’re spending time doing another activity, you’re automatically removing yourself from the barrage of news and social media that

Be mindful to support your immune system

Exercise to promote good health & wellness If you’re stuck in your house, take time to move around a little. There are plenty of free exercise videos you can do right at home and free trials to apps you can download to your phone. Exercise of any kind helps boost and support the immune system. It’s also a great tool for managing anxiety and stress and will help you pass time throughout the day.

Making Time

Mindfulness, which can be defined as present moment awareness, has been growing in popularity more and more each year, and now is a great time to try it out for yourself. Just five minutes of meditation each day can help you reset your mind and your perspective. Meditation and breathing exercises can help to slow your heart rate down and clear your mind. But, meditation isn't the only way you can to be mindful, just by simply taking a bath or reading a book and staying off social media during these times helps to clear your mind and relax.

can be hard to avoid.


The Come Up

Released in 2021

The New Normal: A Post Pandemic Future

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened

After over a year of waiting and wishing for things to return to normal, we are slowly starting to see society unthaw. Restaurants are booming again, roads are busy, people are going back to work - or finding work after a long pause. Seeing more and more restrictions lifted every week is giving us all hope, but we still are nowhere near the clear. Even with great strides, such as states offering vaccines to anyone eligible and mask mandates still enforced, we are still battling a very deadly virus that we are learning about daily. Encourage your friends and family to get vaccinated or remain practicing social distancing rules so that we as a society can fully recover and rejoice.


January 15th, 2021

January 25th, 2021

Turkey vaccinates more than 600,000 people in the first two days.

Global cases surpass 100M after getting hit hard during the holidays.

96,460,534 CASES

100,269,047 CASES


January 7th, 2021

January 24th, 2021

February 22nd, 2021

United States has over 4,000 deaths, making it the deadlist day yet.

New Zealand reports first case of community spread in two months.

United States surpassed over 500,000 COVID-19 related deaths.

88,651,994 CASES

99,823,454 CASES

112,124,880 CASES

Today Cases will continue to rise if we don't collectively work towards a safer future. 145,244,447 CASES

2021 Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


100 Days Up until 100 days ago, I would drink to the point of blacking out every 2-3 days. Be incredibly hungover. Sleep it off. Repeat. That was my life for the last 15-ish years. There have been countless missed opportunities, various injuries, even a DUI throughout all of it. This last year, in particular, was my lowest point with my relationship with alcohol because of the lockdown. I lost my job, lost a relationship, screwed up friendships. And now, not only was it becoming more and more socially acceptable to day drink or drink daily as a way to cope, but I also felt like I had nothing going for me. My depression came back and hit me badly, anxiety followed. Basically, all the bad stuff during the first few months, I endured it. My last drunk day was Sunday, October 25th, 2020. I’d just started therapy a few days earlier, mainly to address my drinking and the residual anxiety and depression. My therapist basically said, “uh, yeah, you should consider stopping drinking” when I told her about my drinking habits. Huh. Never thought of that. But, it’s kinda crazy,

you’d never think that someone being so blunt towards you would impact you, but it did. I think I just needed to hear that from a professional, because it didn’t take much convincing. So, I had a “last hurrah” — a days-long bender — and by the time my next therapy session rolled around, I realized that I was done. I haven’t been going to any meetings, or anything like that. I went to one zoom meeting, and while I understand that AA helps a lot people, I decided early on that I didn’t want to constantly be talking about alcohol, hearing people’s stories of their drunk times, either good or bad, and saying the words “I am an alcoholic” and “I am powerless over alcohol” daily or weekly or whatever. I just don’t feel that that would be helpful for me, if anything, it would make me feel powerless. I’m not powerless over alcohol. I chose to stop, I’m reclaiming the power, and I’m not an alcoholic. I’m simply choosing not to drink anymore. Your-Mileage-May-Vary, right?

Winter 2020

I’m 34 years old and this is the longest sober stretch I’ve had since I was a teenager.

I have a bunch of bar friends that I have kept in touch with here and there via a long-standing group chat. They’ll always be sort of family to me. I haven’t seen much of them lately because of the pandemic and cold weather and all that, and I hope I’ll be able to hang out with them again, but more for a special occasion type of thing. And

I realize that I will be tested much more when the world opens back up, “post-pandemic” or at least when there’s herd immunity. And eventually, I know people are going to hit me with the “why aren’t you drinking” interrogations. And honestly, I think I can easily get away with just saying “I’m taking a break” and that will pretty much end the conversation. As far as close friends and family go, I can definitely go deeper, but really it just boils down to this: I feel better when I don’t drink. I’m happier. That should be enough for anyone who really cares about me and my well-being. If people give me grief about that? I say to that, "F*** ‘em."


100 Days — Patrick, Ohio

The idea of trying to moderate never made much sense to me, so I never even really gave it a try. One drink is never satisfying. It got to the point that ten drinks weren't even enough, so I never understand moderation. It’s honestly just easier for me to not drink at all. My social life has been distant anyway because of the pandemic, but I will do occasional zoom hangouts with friends from childhood, and I just don’t drink. When I was drinking, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was definitely the drunkest one there. Pounding beers. Ripping shots. Nowadays, I realize that my friends just casually drink while zooming, and they aren’t blacking out and ruining their tomorrows. So now, I grab a pack of bubbly water and just sip while socializing with the guys for a few hours. It was a little odd the first few times, and a few of them have questioned it a little bit, but I just say “I’m not drinking” and that’s pretty much the end of it. My relationship is stronger. It’s still a new-ish relationship, but I am more present with him. I want to see him more, even during the day, because I’m not sleeping until 2pm or later every day, recovering from the night before or two nights before, and he’s completely accepting of sober me. He’s had a few drinks around me, and that doesn’t bother or trigger me, but lately she isn’t drinking at all.

probably not for longer than a few hours at a time. It’s a little sad to think about, but the thought of going back to my old drinking ways would make me sadder.I did have to cut off one toxic “friend.” This person was just bad news all around. It was hard, and I questioned it a lot at first, but it was for the best. Good riddance. I slept a lot in the first few weeks. I’d wake up early, and just kind of force myself to go back to sleep. I think that was a bit of depression, and anxiety of having to actually deal with life, instead of drink it away. I didn’t find a huge burst of energy right away. But gradually, I realized I didn’t need as much sleep anymore. I’m really fine after 7-8 hours of sleep. That's a very new thing to me. I’m actually becoming a bit of a morning person. It’s nice to wake up before or with the sun, and quietly start the day. I have the time, energy, interest, and attention span to pursue and spend time doing things I’m passionate about. I also have money in the bank. And when I need or want something reasonable, I buy it. Basically, I just feel better. Physically. Mentally.

A Fighting Chance


Sue, California


Winter 2020

Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened 98


Winter 2020 99

Though Leo lost his battle on December 30, 2020, his will to never give up was evident throughout his fight against the virus. He hung on weeks longer than his doctors expected, and if it weren’t for the many outside influences that dictated the course of his illness, we were certain he would conquer this challenge too. We went into Leo’s illness pretty clueless about COVID and relied on the hospital to provide proper care. As the wife and former nurse, I became extremely involved in Leo’s recovery plan, wanting to make sure we were doing everything we could to keep Leo here. We quickly learned COVID is way more than just a deadly virus.

Though Leo lost his battle to Covid on December 30, 2020, his will to never give up was evident throughout his fight against the virus.

A Fighting Chance — Sue, California

My husband, Leo always loved sports. His motto for everything was, “We play to win the game!” A phrase coined by the former NFL coach of the New York Jets, Herm Edwards. Coach Edwards said it once angrily at a press conference minutes after his team played a miserable game. It always made Leo laugh, because it’s so simple and so true. Leo fully believed there is no such thing as losing, only giving up. When you give up, that’s when you really lose. Because he was very competitive, winning meant everything to him. With his competitive spirit he guided our family, teaching us to aim high and believe you can do it. While his persevering nature taught us to keep your head down when tackling challenges, and never quit trying until you succeed.

2021 Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


ECMO machines have been successful in treating patients with covid by pumping blood outside of the body to a machine that removes carbon dioxide and releases oxygen-filled blood to the tissue. Knowing this, we requested that Leo be put on one immediately. Instead, we were told, “We’re not putting money into transporting Leo for ECMO, because he is over 70 years old. We save our machines for younger patients, because we have better success with them. Due to Leo’s age, he doesn’t meet our committee’s criteria for approval. There’s nothing we can do about it, so stop asking,” Hearing these words being spoken about my dying husband, it was hard to accept those reasons as legitimate. We appealed our request to the doctors and the committee twice more, to no avail. We fell into a lot of ridiculous traps and faced unbelievable prejudice restrictions like ageism & financial status that diverted care from Leo. We also experienced flakey, unorganized, unethical, and unprofessional interactions with the hospital’s leaders, which totally shook our confidence in their legitimacy and the care being given to Leo. It showed us just how this pandemic has brought the integrity of many medical professionals to their knees. All in all, the hospital’s stern reluctancy to do anything proactive towards Leo’s recovery seemed like an clear cut overt system of genocide. From what we experienced, the proactive health care for COVID patients at Leo’s hospital was selective, and its medical providers acted like they had every right to be so. I feel the ICU doctors have been given execution-style authority over who gets to receive certain life-saving treatments and who does not. Basically, an athletic, daily-active cowboy of sound body and mind does not qualify because he’s 74, whereas, a 54-yr-old with physical ailments and/or chronic health issues would. I found the ICU doctors’ bureaucratic, lack of common-sense, and compassion for all human lives in respect to healing their elderly Medicare patients, unfathomable and disheartening. It went against everything I thought doctors and hospitals stood for. When Leo crossed the ICU threshold, it seemed he was no longer Leo Camarillo, the father, brother, husband, friend, rodeo world’s champion cowboy. Instead, he was infected number 15 who was putting the hospital staff at risk. Number 15 was an occupant of limited bed-space that needed to be expediently processed. Number 15’s family/loved-ones, who kept asking the ICU doctors to try and cure him, were irritating baggage disrupting the ICU’s general routine with their hopeful requests. Instead, my family and I have been left emotionally drained and little hope in the medical field. I pray that we can all heal from this someday.

Hearing these words being spoken about my dying husband, it was hard to accept those reasons as legitimate.

Winter 2020 101

A fighting Chance — Sue, Colorado

When Leo crossed the ICU threshold, it seemed he was no longer Leo Camarillo, the father, brother, husband, friend, cowboy. Instead, he was patient number 15 who was putting the hospital staff at risk. Number 15 was an occupant of limited bed-space that needed to be expediently processed.

2021 Interlude: The Year That Never Really Happened


While there have been tons of changes in my life over the course of the pandemic, this interaction with an old friend has stuck with me ever since it happened. Right around the time that the vaccine was released in Illinois, my family and I spent over two hours driving into the city to get our first rounds. In terms of the vaccine, everything went smoothly. My entire family is composed of first responders, health care professionals, or immunocompromised individuals, so we were all lucky enough to get our vaccines at all once. After we left the clinic we hit the real problem. Our car stalled right after we got onto the highway, leaving us stranded on the narrow shoulder. At first we were just frustrated with our luck, but then we started to get more concerned as we were stranded 2 hours away from our hometown. My parents, who are over 70 years old, and I have been extremely cautious throughout the pandemic due to our family health. It was basically the first time that more than half of us have left the house in 10 months, so the idea of having to call a tow and sit in the truck with them wasn’t too appealing. After calling the tow truck, it wasn’t even a feasible option because they were only about to bring half of us home at a time. A cop and a few passerbyers had stopped and approached our car, maskless, which wasn’t making us feel any better. We ended up just going with a tow and dealing with being stuck even longer, because at least we could get home. During the time of waiting, I was scrolling through facebook catching up on my friends. I stopped and noticed that a very old friend of mine had just gone to the same clinic for a vaccine earlier that morning. Out of pure desperation, I decided to text her just to see if she was still in the area. I haven’t seen this girl in over 10 years, since sharing classes in highschool together. To my surprise, she responded. “Wow! Wasn’t expecting a text from you today. Yup, I just stopped for lunch!” Just in pure eagerness to not be stranded any longer, I responded and asked “Well it’s kind of a funny story. Any change you are free today and wouldn’t mind picking me up and bringing me to the rental dealership? I’m stranded on the highway in the same town you just tagged. Isn’t that a small world.” She was so sweet and immediately said “Yes, of course! No worries.” After she

agreed, I started to call rental car places for a rental to get home, and, to make the day worse, nothing. I’m the type of person who feels guilty asking for a favors. I really hate to inconvenience anyone, so I already feel bad for asking my old friend this huge favor. I called her back and said “Don’t feel obligated to say yes, and even if you just were to drop us at the rental place, that would be more than enough and I’d be grateful, but is there any chance you could drive us back to Monroe? There aren’t any cars for rent today.” Being the angel she is, she replied with “absolutely I can! Do not worry!” and set off to come get us. I was really surprised, since she was a friend I hadn’t even spoken too much after high school. Once she arrived, she had food waiting for us, “I picked these up at the restaurant! Let’s get you all home safely” After a solid 5 minutes of me praising her for doing this for us, we got to talking.

After not talking for 10 years, you would think that the conversation wouldn’t come that naturally and we would have grown differently over the years. But that was truly one of the best, fulfilling conversations I’d had in a while. We connected on everything, our high school times, what we were up to after high school, and how our lives were going now. We ended up sharing so much in common, like losing a loved one over the pandemic as well as going through a recent divorce. Mind you, I hadn’t spoken to anyone in person besides my parents and occasionally the grocery store clerk in the past 10 months, so any conversation felt amazing, but this really made my week. Once she had dropped us off at our house, we agreed to keep in touch and meet up once we are vaccinated to catch up even more. It has been about a month, and I have seen her twice already. What had started as a disaster of a morning, turned into one of those moments you couldn’t have ever predicted. This would have never happened to us if it hadn’t been for the pandemic and social distancing policies, so I will be forever grateful for this short encounter with an old friend that has lead me to an unexpected, budding new one.

Winter 2021 103

Long Lost —Stacey, Illinios

Long Lost



How will you talk about the pandemic in 20 years? Natalie R.

Carly M.

Abbey C.

One massive cluster fuck of a year is all I’d have to say.

It was a shitshow, but I turned out alright I think.

Compare it to that dog meme where he’s on fire saying ‘It’s fine!’

Sidney R.

Cayden D.

Julia G.

A huge wake up call that got me out of some deep shit.

A time I wish for no one to have to experience the same way.

Unpredictable; a time that forced me to finally take control of my life

Mason W.

Caleb W.

Lucy K.

One of the most lonely times of my life and how I cherish people now.

Being alone isn’t so bad, as long as you have friend by your sitde.

A learning experience for how messed up our society really is.

Gregory S.

Alexander B.

Matilde W.

We as a country showed how selfish we all are.

I will not be talking about it unless someone asks me.

How much it took from my family and I.

Haefzat A.

Caroline B.

Lauren Y.

You really do hold the power to shape your life how you want it.

A learning lesson for my privledge in this world.

A crazy year filled with love, disaster, suffering, joy, and self growth.

Zoe C.

Hope C.

Tamara Z.

A time I was both broken yet driven, where I learned about myself.

Surface level it’s horrible, but deep down it was a positive.

As the year of catastrophes and miracles alike.

Thank You to All Participants To everyone who contributed to this book, I wanted to give a huge thank you for investing your time, sharing your stories, and allowing, for some, a complete stranger to hear about your most raw and difficult emotional experiences. I would not have been able to do this project without each and every one of you, so everyone’s shared support has meant a lot to me. This project has filled me with a wide range of emotions and I have loved reading each and every one of your stories, as they have all been unique and honest. I never expected to be able to connect with people from all around the world, with such different backgrounds, about their experiences, and that has been one of the most rewarding parts of this. For anyone who contributed, my hope is that this gave you a chance to reflect on your life over the past year, and helped you work through some difficult times or remember the good that has come from this. This book will live on for me as a time capsule; a way of not only finishing off my college experience during the pandemic, but reflecting on my own experiences and stories. This time will pass, but these memories will be able to be remembered forever.

Credits Uphill Battle

Late Starts

Day by Day

Digital Bonding

With Love, From...

Salted Wounds

Mimi, Pennsylvania Kelly, Maryland Micheal, Boston Maggie, Philadelphia

Perfect Timing

Tamara, Scotland Pål Arne, Norway

Growing Away

Emilie, New York

Indoor Voices

Kate, Arizona

Marvin, Pennsylvania Hannah, Minnesota Patrick, Colorado

100 Days

Tamara, Scotland Pål Arne, Norway

A Fighting Chance Sue, California

Long Lost

Stacey, Illinois

All at Once

Abby, Philadelphia

Simple Pleasures

Justine, Philadelphia

Designed by:

Cassidy Ridgway

Art Direction: Paul Kepple

Created for:

BFA Thesis Project, May 2021


Temple University, Tyler School of Art and Architecture