Updated: Aug 27
While we hope and pray for the COVID-19 pandemic to end as soon as possible, we believe that coming together through stories and shared experiences can help us get through these difficult months ahead.
And it's certainly hard to picture right now, but in 20-30 years, we'll all have stories about going through this time period similar to how our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents shared about World War 2 or what it was like to live through the Great Depression. These are invaluable first hand accounts to have recorded for future generations; building a deeper connection between us and those to come.
Author Laura Vasilion isn't waiting 20-30 years to record stories. She is doing incredibly important work right now by chronicling stories now, in the moment, from people all around the world in her new book in progress: The Pandemic Project. We will continue to update here as new stories are shared and you can also follow along on her Medium page.
Lou is a 21-year-old Frenchwoman. In normal times, she works at the local Renault auto plant. Currently, she is sheltering in place with her boyfriend and his family.
Here are her thoughts on life during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Akos was born in Hungary and moved to London seven years ago. He lives in a flat with another person.
He works in a warehouse from Monday to Friday. He is also a freelance writer, explaining that he fell in love with pop culture a long time ago. Storytelling is everything to Akos, whether it comes from movies, TV shows, books, or even music. He considers it the strongest and the most impactful tool one can have.
Cindy "Cid" is 57-years-old. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia but was born and raised in Califorinia (Marin County and Palm Springs). Cid moved to Vancouver Island last year (her mother is Canadian so she has citizenship) for a number of reasons, but mainly to seek a more meaningful life.
Cid lives alone with her two beagles, Sammy and Vilet. Bristish Columbia is only on social distancing, so Cid can go to the store, etc. She chooses to limit her trips as she has asthma and has had a lot of other health isssues that have lowered her immunity. She has good friends in Victoria but she is far away rom her family and best friends who are in California and Chicago.
Sarah is 52-years-old. She lives with her family outside a small village in central Scotland, halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh. A music teacher, she has worked for many years in local schools, nurseries, and special needs units. Sarah teaches piano from home and plays violin, or fiddle, with a couple of local chamber orchestras and an ad hoc ceilidh band. These days, however, her main work is as a carer for her teenage daughter, who has Lyme disease and is often housebound.
Sarah and her family live on a small holding, eight acres of somewhat waterlogged land on which they grow vegetables, raise chickens, and graze a friend's Clydesdale horses, the heavy ones with hairy feet. The photograph above shows the view out her kitchen window.
Martin, 62, lives on Madras Street in Khandallah, an area within the New Zealand capital of Wellington. The area and street names pay homage to Captain James Andrew, who migrated from India to Wellington in the late 19th century. Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is where much of the production for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was done.
Martin and his wife, Chris, have lived in Wellington for 34 years. They have three adult children.
After a 24-year career as a commercial lawyer, Martin became a personal and leadership coach in 2006. He also runs mindfulness classes.
This is not Mai's window. This is not her apartment. But it could be.
Right now,Mai is living and working in a windowless room in Quezon City, Phillipines with her parents. She has been there since March 15 when her country issued stay at home orders. Although I asked her, Mai chose not to share a photo of current windowless quarters. I respect that.
Mai is 39-years-old. She writes and plays music in a band.
His name is Marco. He is 65-years-old and lives in the northeastern part of Italy, near Austria.
Marco is a teacher. In normal times his daily life spins around three centers: his job, his family, and some sport. Before the pandemic, he took his daughter to school, went to work, came back home and maybe took his daughter to the gym or something else. Then he spent the evening at home.
Because he is very interested in international news, Marco visits the daily website of The New York Times, El Pais, Le Monde. His main Italian source of information is ANSA. He used to spend much time on the Internet trying to get informed about a lot of stuff.
On weekends his family used to walk in the neighborhoods and stop somewhere to eat pizza.
Life for Marco and his family has been very different since COVID-19 arrived in Italy.
Jaell is a 66-year-old translator & interpreter, living in Campinas, State of São Paulo, Brazil. She describes herself as a hard worker. Besides translating and interpreting, she also coaches executives, teaches translators-to-be, and runs her own 40-year-old business, Traducenter. Jaell was also one of the first people I interviewed for Talking to the World.
Although she is a very busy person, she graciously agreed to be interviewed for The Pandemic Project.
Annemarie is a 39-year-old Dutch woman who is back in the Netherlands after having lived in the U.S. for six years. She teaches fourth grade, is on the management team of her school, and is also a ‘leermonitor’ (learning monitor).
A single mom to two boys, aged 11 and 15, Annemarie says she has rheumatoid arthritis, which places her at high risk of contracting Covid 19 because she takes immune system suppress medications, which lower her immune system. Luckily, she has a good support system.
About the Author - Laura E. Vasilion worked as a freelance writer for thirty years. Her credits include The Chicago Tribune newspaper and magazine, Baltimore Sun, Reader’s Digest, Entrepreneur, and The Des Moines Register, among others. Currently, she is focusing on fiction, essay, and blog writing. Samples of her work and award-winning blog, Talking to the World, can be found at lauravasilion.com.