Quarantine Through My Eyes

I wasn’t ready for March 13, 2020. I didn’t think it would be my last day of high school. There were many hopes and expectations I had for this year. I wasn't able to enjoy my last laughs and make memories with my friends dancing at prom, going on our senior trip, and walking down the stage together to receive our diplomas. Sometimes I look at myself and think of what could have been. In May, my family would have been rushing out of the house for my brother's college graduation. Then in June, for my own. My grandmother was going to come from Ecuador for my brother’s and my graduation. Due to this pandemic, it was impossible for that to happen. 

This pandemic gave us an unexpected 360 degree change in our lives. For some of us, being in quarantine has been a time to connect with our loved ones and appreciate the time we share with them. But for others it’s been a time to stay strong for ourselves because our parents have to work or because we don’t have the same support from our friends or teachers at school. Being in quarantine has put restrictions on our lives and has made us comfortable with acceptance. It has made us grow. I’ve experienced many losses and disappointments. Some days I’ve felt devastated with the pandemic, but other days I try to see the good in things. 

A close-up of my eye after applying green eyeliner for the first time during quarantine. St. Lawrence, Bronx, NY, 2020.

Everyday the sun shines through my window as my graduation day gets closer and closer.

A necklace that says, “Giomar," my mom’s name, that my dad gave to her when they first got together 15-20 years ago.

My mom’s cross that she keeps near her bed at all times. She sometimes holds it or puts it besides her as she prays. 

My family’s laundry drying in our backyard on a windy day. St. Lawrence, Bronx, NY, 2020.

My mom praying with the rosary in my room, on a typical Tuesday afternoon. St. Lawrence, Bronx, NY, 2020.

My mom has been my support throughout this quarantine. When I feel alone she is there for me. I’ve always viewed my mom as the strong one in our family. Since being in quarantine, I am seeing her vulnerable side more, leading me to be the strong and brave one for her. My mom has lost close family friends, her uncle, and cousin due to COVID-19 in Ecuador. There have been days that she’s felt sad and had no enthusiasm to do anything around the house. On those days, I cook her breakfast and bring it to her bed. My mom has been praying to make herself feel better spiritually and emotionally. She’s always been very religious, but lately, praying is her number one priority. Every morning at 6 AM, she starts off by thanking God, goes on YouTube and looks up the rosary. 

“Por la señal de la Santa Cruz...” 

She usually waits for everyone to be asleep or busy so she’s not interrupted and locks herself in her room for 45 minutes. Lately, my mom has had the energy to get up and do things she loves, like cooking and making desserts. Seeing my mom do much better these past few days has made me feel good.

Quarantine has made me find love for cooking and baking. It’s been a way to distract myself and as well as help my mom out in the house.

My drawing of the Virgin Mary next to a key chain of my grandfather's photo with his name, birthdate and date of his passing. 

Flowers flourished so fast, it was like in a blink of an eye. The pink flowers in my backyard seem to grow out of nowhere. 

It was late at night when the conversation of my mom's uncle’s passing came up, as she sat at the kitchen table finishing the rosary on Zoom. 

Clothespins my family uses to hang up our clothes in our backyard. St. Lawrence, Bronx, NY, 2020.

In the afternoons, sunny or cloudy, my dog Princess always gets a chance to have the freedom to run around the backyard. 

My way to de-stress through these hard times has been through drawing and writing in my journal to let out my thoughts and feelings. Each shade of color represents a different feeling.

During this pandemic, I learned to appreciate the small things that surround me. My backyard has become my holy place. It is where I am able to let all my stressed and sad feelings out. In the sunny and warm afternoons, I try to clear my mind by watching my dog run around the yard appreciating the sun. As much as I would like to enjoy being outside with my friends, I want to keep my family and myself safe and happy by staying home and out of danger. In times like these, many of us lose hope. After experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s the last thing I’ll ever lose. 

Every night before going to bed, my mom and I would give each other a kiss. Because of her sadness after losing loved ones, it was difficult for her to continue that routine. When she feels strong enough to do it, it makes me smile.   

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