Quarantzine Stories from quarantine
Issue #2 May 2020
Quarantzine was created remotely and interviews were conducted via email, video call and social media. Photos were submitted by contributors, who were given an open brief to share snapshots of their quarantine experience.
Made at home in London, England, by Lunes creative studio.
Gemma Suyat Stefano Carniel
Pablo Alvarez-Correa Meriem Barina Jonathan Mayuyo Mills Ozoz Sokoh
Amerie Cabiad Lorraine Francisco Lu-Hai Liang
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A visualisation of air particles and a reference to a time before COVID-19 when breathing in fresh air was something we took for granted.
As of May 8, 2020, the coronavirus pandemic is at different stages around the world, and while some countries are starting to ease lockdown measures, quarantines and curfews remain in place in others. Meanwhile, certain countries have seen restrictions strengthened or extended. In response to life in a time of such measures, we’ve brought together a diverse range of voices, from around the globe, to highlight the different ways people are adapting to a new, unexpected world. Some are confined yet content, while others patiently wait for life as we knew it to resume. Those we hear from include a tour guide in Colombia who has launched a virtual tour of Medellin so people can discover the city via 360° images; a food explorer in Canada currently delving into one cookbook to another and learning food techniques she previously did not have the courage to try; and a fleet financial controller onboard a cruise ship at sea somewhere between Miami and Orlando who volunteers to DJ as crew members watch from their balconies. It’s been a fascinating process collecting these stories about life in lockdown but also heart-warming to hear individuals so compelled and comfortable in sharing their experiences with us. These are strange times but amid this pandemic there are surprises and solace to be found in the stories of people we do not know, but who are all learning and discovering things about themselves they did not know before. — Gemma Suyat
Stories from quarantine
A space to call my own Mills London, England
Cooking through quarantine Ozoz Sokoh Ontario, Canada
Missing the city Pablo Alvarez-Correa Medellin, Colombia
Practising patience Meriem Barina FarĂŠbersviller, France
Stuck at sea Jonathan Mayuyo At sea between Miami and Orlando, United States
A space to call my own
Mills Co-founder of ustwo London, United Kingdom Instagram: @millsustwo
How has your day-to-day life been affected by COVID-19? I co-own a large creative business and have studios all around the world that I can’t visit right now, which is weird. Since lockdown started, I quickly established that I need a place that is my own, so I converted the attic at home into a studio, which is something I wish I’d done 15 years ago. Although I love the studio where I work, I’ve never actually had my own desk, so it’s nice to have a space I can call mine. I’m finding that I actually prefer the world as it is today. Everyone has slowed down and I’ve been able to take in a bit more and appreciate each
— I’ve never actually had my own desk, so it’s nice to have a space I can call mine.
day. I feel blessed and lucky that I’m able to experience this time. I’ve been with my wife for 22 years; I’ve got closer to her over the last two weeks than ever so I’m very grateful for this period. What’s been keeping you busy? Thinking about the meaning of my abstracted life; the purpose behind it, and the things I wanted to achieve before lockdown and what the outcomes will look like post this period. I also spend around 4 hours a day helping other entrepreneurs stay inspired: sharing advice, answering questions, mentoring, networking
— I quickly established that I need a place that is my own, so I converted the attic at home into a studio, which is something I wish I’d done 15 years ago.
â€” My studio space at home has become a big part of lockdown life. Iâ€™ve been putting stuff up on the walls like a teenager;
itâ€™s important to express myself in this way as I have ADHD so I need to see things.
and sometimes investing. It’s all done via my 0800 number aka my email. On top of that I’m focused on supporting and thanking ustwo’s leaders for keeping the studio floating and moving forward. The place you miss the most? I don’t miss anywhere. I still get to run around the block every day and I enjoy the simplicity of that and appreciating the things I used to take for granted. If anything, the place I miss the most, which sounds a bit arbitrary, is the studio I’ve created at home. I feel content in such a simple, small room, and with the things I’m creating there.
— Want some help moving from biz idea to biz idoer? Tell me what you need and I will do everything I can to inspire the next move. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Who do you miss the most? I speak to everyone I want to on the various digital platforms. I have always liked the relationships I have with my digital friends (my wife calls them ‘digi-mates’ and equally claims that you can’t be friends with people you have never met, but she’s old-fashioned like that!) who I enjoy talking with via email and Instagram DMs. There’s something so powerful about being open with strangers. What have you learned about yourself? Previously, I was running on fuel: alcohol, coffee, serotonin, dopamine — I was hunting for every rush you could get. Slowing down has allowed me to prioritise things and gain a new perspective. Although I’m all about connections and bringing the best out of people (that’s what I do on a day-to-day basis at work), I’ve been able to focus on myself and be a bit more selfish to become a better person. I was a very driven entrepreneur and that had a detrimental effect on the attention that I was able to give to the person that I adore more than anything in this world: my wife, Lisa. This period has given me the time to realise that my two children and my wife are much more important than anything.
— I have always liked the relationships I have with my digital friends... There’s something so powerful about being open with strangers.
First thing you’ll do once out of lockdown? Go to McDonald’s. I grew up loving it and then for some reason I became completely against the idea of my children feeling the same. But lockdown has made me think that it’s okay to indulge sometimes and do what makes you feel good. So I’m going to go and get things I’d never normally eat, and this time it’ll be the Quarter Pounder Deluxe.
Favourite lockdown challenge? I don’t have one. I love that it’s helping other people get through stuff but it’s not for me. I’ve just enjoyed seeing people be themselves and find a creative outlet that they maybe never had before
or they didn’t realise they had. In this time of simplicity, I think what we’re seeing is people realise that the way they express themselves to others is a form of connection and a way to maintain and build relationships. Soundtrack to your lockdown? I’ve been getting into techno, which doesn’t make sense as I don’t like techno, but I enjoy following this one Instagram account that has lots of people dancing around decks, mostly on beaches. I think it’s because I can’t have that right now that I crave and want it. I love that idea of being surrounded by people feeling the most amount of energy and love that they can feel, and wanting to share that.
Pages 12 and 13 — Sometimes I feel this need to dance and I’ve been doing it a lot in my room, filming and sharing it.
â€” Iâ€™ve pickled everything this lockdown from almonds to pineapple, jalapenos, mangoes and peaches, beans, fennel and much more.
Cooking through quarantine
Ozoz Sokoh Food explorer Ontario, Canada Instagram @kitchenbutterfly
How has your day-to-day life been affected by COVID-19? My daily routines have changed, not so much in the timing but the doing. I still get up early but now with nowhere to go. My children and I begin the day with cups of tea. I make a large pot, mostly of spiced teas before they get up and it’s the first thing they reach for whenever they wake up. I didn’t realise we loved tea this much. I knew I loved spices but I know even more how much of a delicious difference they bring during these times when I’m making some of the same things over and over again. I’ve done
more online shopping than I ever have, trying for several days to get a delivery slot — what a new sport that is!
and chewy loaves. And baking pineapple buns; Chinese bakes named for the pattern formed on the top crust thanks to a cookielike dough draped over it before baking.
What’s been keeping you busy? Reading cookbooks and researching Nigerian food history. Also trying out new recipes and learning food techniques like tahdig, that golden upside-down Persian rice dish that celebrates bottom pot and reminds me of how we revere that too in Nigerian cuisine. And tangzhong, a cooked wheat flour roux used in Chinese baking to create soft, tender
The place you miss the most? Outside! I miss the crisp, cool air on my morning walks. That feeling of being warm under layers but the refreshing cold air in my face is everything. Also, I miss this huge grocery store near me that has the most amazing selection of foods from all over the world.
â€” I miss the crisp, cool air on my morning walks. That feeling of being warm under layers but the refreshing cold air in my face is everything.
â€” Glorious sunrise and gratitude. Sometimes I catch the magic through the window, other times I embrace the morning cold out on the balcony.
— Mise En Place: Nigerian cooking session. I’ve done more Instagram Live sessions than ever before.
— I took out 15 cookbooks before lockdown and I’ve spent my time poring through them in ways I wouldn’t have done before. I’d have flicked through, selected a few recipes, tried them and returned the books. Now these books are becoming my best friends.
Who do you miss the most? Oh wow. Are you trying to set me up? My family and friends will have my neck, ha. But of course I miss them the most. What have you learned about yourself? One: I can be consistent. I started a bible study routine, mostly reading and praying when I get up. I’ve done it 43 days in a row. I’ve also started working out four or five times a week, mostly right after bible study — that domino effect. Two: I flourish when given time and surrounded by plenty — I don’t get overwhelmed. I took out 15 cookbooks before lockdown and I’ve spent my time poring through them in ways I wouldn’t have done before. I’d have flicked through, selected a few recipes, tried them and returned the books. Now these books are becoming my best friends.
First thing you’ll do once out of lockdown? Go to my favourite grocery store to get some fruit: rhubarb, guava, June plums and on the way I’ll grab some pearl milk tea with double boba, coconut jelly, regular sugar and a little ice. Favourite lockdown challenge? My challenge has been practising zero waste. How can I make sure nothing ends up in the bin? Some interesting things I’ve saved include parmesan ends, crumbs, stock and turning Hungarian wheat noodles, nokedli, into tangzhong because no one wanted to eat them, and combining that tangzhong with some parmesan crumbs to become pizza dough. Or the lemony condiment I made with already juiced lemon, boiled, insides scooped out then shells blitzed. Heavenly! Soundtrack to your lockdown? ‘Way Maker’ by Paul McClure.
â€” My [lockdown] challenge has been practising zero waste. Some interesting things Iâ€™ve saved include parmesan ends, crumbs, stock and turning Hungarian wheat noodles, nokedli, into tangzhong because no one wanted to eat them, and combining that tangzhong with some parmesan crumbs to become pizza dough. Heavenly!
â€” Taydig was always this mysterious scary thing that I never had time or courage to try. I executed it to perfection. Plus it vanished off the plate. You should have seen my excitement.
Missing the city
Pablo Alvarez-Correa Tour guide and founder of Real City Tours Medellin, Colombia Instagram: @pablonotpedro
How has your day-to-day life been affected by COVID-19? I used to be out 12 to 13 hours a day, guiding groups around downtown Medellin. In the last 50 days, I’ve only been out about five or six times in total. I used to go to bed super tired and fall asleep very quickly. Now, no matter what time I go to bed it’s difficult to fall asleep. Before lockdown, I didn’t know any card games; now there are days where I prefer to play cards than watch TV.
What’s been keeping you busy? Washing a lot of dishes and launching my tour company’s new product: Live Virtual Tour Medellin. It’s a way to discover Medellin using 360° images connected directly with a tour guide. I’m trying to keep the company alive: asking for loans, attending useful webinars, renegotiating the rent of the office and finding new ways of income for the business and the guides. I’ve also been working on an air quality sensor and learning
— Scrabble — I hate it, I never win!
â€” The view from my apartment, looking south.
â€” The view from my apartment, looking north.
— My ‘baby’, I would have gone crazy without it.
— I used to be out 12 to 13 hours a day, guiding groups around downtown Medellin. In the last 50 days, I’ve only been out about five or six times in total.
27 about electronics and different development environments. My bachelor’s degree is in Electronics Engineering so I enjoy going back to electronics as a hobby. Learning how to create and edit videos for social media is also a new pastime. The place you miss the most? There’s a few: the velodrome where I train in the mornings, the mountain roads I climb on my bicycle on the weekends, the city centre where I guide tours, and my favourite empanada place, Empanadas Envigadeñas by Plaza Botero. Who do you miss the most? My nine-month-old nephew and my colleagues. What have you learned about yourself? I’m a sore loser when I play scrabble with my wife; I enjoy meditation (although I already knew this, I just reinforced the idea of how easily I can get distracted); I can have many moods in one single day; a routine is important for my mental well-being. First thing you’ll do once out of lockdown? Ride my bicycle. Favourite lockdown challenge? ‘Bring Sally up’ push-up challenge. Soundtrack to your lockdown? ‘Caja de Sorpresas’ by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico.
â€” [I miss] the velodrome where I train in the mornings, the mountain roads I climb on my bicycle on the weekends, the city centre where I guide tours, and my favourite empanada place.
â€” Lunching with my wife on our balcony.
â€” My studio set-up.
Meriem Barina Sales Farébersviller, France Instagram: @meriem_knowles
How has your day-to-day life been affected by COVID-19? Before we leave home we have to fill out a form giving us permission to be out. Without this signed sheet and a valid reason, we could face a fine of €135 and there are frequent police checks. During the first two weeks of lockdown we were entitled to some travel but after three weeks the government issued stronger measures because many people weren’t respecting the rules. Because of the hot weather people were going outside without paying attention to the risks. I’m a very active person and I like to go out for walks to visit neighbouring
areas. I regularly go out to the cinema, play bowling and enjoy shopping so it’s been hard adapting to this new normal. It’s weird going from a one-hour walk at the beginning of each day to a 15-minute walk around the house! What’s been keeping you busy? Cooking, reading and enjoying family time via video calls.
The place you miss the most? My city’s shopping centre. I miss my favorite stores like Zara, Bershka, Footlocker and Sephora.
â€” Revisiting my bookshelf has been an interesting experience.
— It’s weird going from a one-hour walk at the beginning of each day to a 15-minute walk around the house!
— I’m enjoying cooking and testing new recipes; I’d like to think I’ll come out a better cook after lockdown.
â€” Any time I leave home, I must carry a signed form explaining where Iâ€™m going and why.
— It’s the first one [Ramadan] I’ve experienced without my family around. For Muslims it’s a special month but without sharing meals with family or going to the mosque together it’s not the same.
— It’s difficult not to see friends and family so video calling has become a lifeline.
Who do you miss the most? My six-month-old niece. What have you learned about yourself? To be patient and look at the bright side. I’m someone who doesn’t like staying at home, going out is a big part of my routine. But I’ve learned to wait and remind myself that there are worse things in life. I can’t complain because I’m lucky to have a house and to eat and be healthy. I’ve gone back to basics and thank my loved ones for encouraging me to do new activities at home.
end of this difficult period. I haven’t seen them since March 16 and they only live 20 minutes from my house. One thing that is difficult right now is Ramadan. It’s the first one I’ve experienced without my family around. For Muslims it’s a special month but without sharing meals with family or going to the mosque together it’s not the same. Favourite lockdown challenge? ‘Pass the brush’ challenge and the squat challenge. One to always feel beautiful and the other to keep in shape. Soundtrack to your lockdown?
First thing you’ll do once out of lockdown? Visit family and cook a big Moroccan meal to celebrate the
‘TUSA’ by Karol G and Nikki Minaj.
â€” High seas tea.
Stuck at sea
Jonathan Mayuyo Fleet financial controller At sea between Miami and Orlando (onboard a cruise ship) Instagram: @jmayuyo
How has your day-to-day life been affected by COVID-19? Lockdown on a ship is very different to lockdown on land. All of the crew have been moved to a guest cabin (most with balconies) and confined to our rooms, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. No one is allowed to leave their cabin unless they are assigned to work to ensure we practice social distancing. Our food is delivered to us three times a day like room service in a hotel. All of this is for our safety and to ensure that any potential spread of the virus is contained and not transferred. The ship is constantly sterilized to ensure
we are living in a clean environment, so despite the negative media coverage, we are safe. Whatâ€™s been keeping you busy? Working and providing support to the fleet of approximately 38 cruise ships. I also volunteer to do various things on the ship. My favourite activity has been DJing for the crew who do not have sea view balconies. It seems like a strange concept because the floor is empty, but when I look up and see them dance and enjoy themselves, it feels like I make a small difference to what would normally be a boring day.
â€”My favourite activity has been DJing for the crew who do not have sea view balconies... when I look up and see them dance and enjoy themselves, it feels like I make a small difference to what would normally be a boring day.
â€” DJing for the crew on their balconies whilst maintaining social distance.
â€” And sporting protective gear!
The place you miss the most? What I miss are the experiences and feelings I associate with visiting different places. Last year I went to Paris for the first time with my wife. It had been her dream to visit the Eiffel Tower since she was a child. Watching how happy she was is what made that place memorable for me. We also did a road trip in the Philippines to Benguet and Banaue rice terraces and I really enjoyed the 16-hour drive. I believe it’s the actual journey that is most memorable rather than the actual destination. It also taught me to appreciate what we have on our doorstep. I have been living in the Philippines for over seven years now, during that entire trip I kept saying: ‘Why haven’t we been here before?’. Who do you miss the most? Officially, my wife (I will get into trouble otherwise), she can normally travel with me but this time she didn’t. It’s worse now because of lockdown and not being able to get home due to various travel restrictions in the USA. I also miss my annoying nieces and nephews, they are smelly and noisy, but you do kind of get used to them.
— No one is allowed to leave their cabin unless they are assigned to work to ensure we practice social distancing. Our food is delivered to us three times a day like room service in a hotel.
â€” Reminiscing about travels with my wife and places Iâ€™d rather be.
What have you learned about yourself? That I can be compassionate to other people and empathise with their situation. It’s very easy to think about oneself and say, ‘I can’t do this or I don’t have that’. But when you see other people suffering and needing more than you, it puts your problems into perspective. — Balcony fine dining.
First thing you’ll do once out of lockdown? Eat a Birds Eye fish finger sandwich. I have been served very fancy food on the cruise ship, so I actually crave something simple. Favourite lockdown challenge? If binge-watching a TV series on Netflix is a challenge, then challenge accepted. Soundtrack to your lockdown? ‘Don’t Rush’ by Young T & Bugsey ft. Headie One. Mainly because in the cruise industry there have been so many videos posted of our crew flashing their passports and going from one crew to another to show them going back to work. So it has kind of become a theme tune for us onboard.
â€” Room with a view.
Thank you to our contributors who took the time to share their stories from quarantine. And to our friends for connecting us.
Submit your story to: email@example.com