2020 Within Four Walls
I remember when 2019 was close to ending, everyone said that 2020 was going to be their year and most of us went into the new year positively. It was going to be the year of trips, prom, senior activities, and graduation for my class. I thought I was going to have a lot of fun this year. Little did we know what was headed towards us. At first, I thought things weren’t that bad. Then stores started closing, events were cancelled, and they closed all NYC schools. That’s when things started to become a little too real. We were told that schools might open back up on April 20, but it’s been over 2 months. To this day, we’re left with many questions as to how the rest of this year and upcoming years are going to play out.
Until recently, I’ve been confined in my 2 bedroom apartment with my parents, who still continue to go to work during this pandemic as essential workers. My mother is a nurse at a nursing home for the elderly and my father is a dispatcher at AAA auto center. A lot of the time, it’s just me in the house or in the living room. I stay in front of a screen for hours now since classes have been moved online. I really miss talking with my friends face to face, complaining about the amount of work we’re getting from one teacher. Every now and then, I look away from my computer screen and see the sun shining through my windows and into my house, thinking of how pretty it looks in the darkness of my living room during these grim times.
I often feel like life is becoming a cycle of waking up, doing school work, going on my phone, then going to bed, and I know that many people can relate to feeling tired of the same surroundings day in and day out. In the beginning of this project, I would walk around my apartment searching for things to shoot and I was in a rut. As the days went by, I began to find objects or moments that had character and significance within my home and outside my window. Working on my project was a way for me to appreciate the little moments and to remind myself that this pandemic and being in quarantine hasn’t stripped us of everything.
Ramadan would also be different from previous years due to the pandemic. Every night, my mom tried to make sure we always had food to break our fasts. Thankfully, quarantine didn’t change that aspect of the holiday for us, something that some Muslim families are struggling with. Unfortunately, the end of Ramadan didn’t include prayer at the mosques, showing off our Eid clothes, or parties like we had hoped for this year. Considering the circumstances, I’m just glad I was able to experience it with my family.
For the first 57 days, the only view I had of the outside was through my window. When the weather was nice, my dad and I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood so that I could stretch my legs. We got ready and put on our masks. The sun beamed on my glasses as we headed out of the building. It felt weird being outside again and I felt a little self conscience at first. We walked from our building to 167th grand concourse as I took pictures of pink and purple flowers hanging off of trees or planted outside, people chatting with their friends, pet parrots, and the two of us. I was shocked to see so many people outside, especially since I’ve only been around my parents for the past 2 months. There were many people with masks. Some were wearing the masks incorrectly and others either on or hanging off their faces as they went about their day. I enjoyed the walk with my dad that day. It was a moment of normalcy for me during the 60 days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of masks and the implementation of protective guidelines from our state governments are probably going to become our new normal. Someday, I hope that we can regain some of the freedom we had before and continue on with our lives.