Tag: Lockdown

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Quarantine With My Parents

It’s been nearly eight weeks since I started quarantining now, my social distancing endeavour having begun slightly earlier than the official lockdown.

I have had extra time on my hands during these weeks, enjoying what has felt like some sort of early retirement experiment. I have taken great pleasure in how the days have stretched in front me almost worry-free, and in the feeling of safety I’ve had in these weeks. Yes: my experience of the lockdown has been very different from that of so many others.

While the world has been turned upside down, and outside in, by the pandemic, I have enjoyed stability and calm for the very first time. Growing up a migrant child, as I did, can in fact instil a peculiar and long-lasting sense of un-safety, both outside and inside the family home. It certainly did for me.


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Rainbow near our house, Sara Gvero, All rights reserved
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Swans in Syon Park, 2020, Sara Gvero, All rights reserved
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A row of houses on one of our walks, Sara Gvero, All rights reserved


Outside, because many things in the world are unknown or feel different from what you know, you are misunderstood and misunderstand often, and there is so much that is or feels hostile in your surroundings. Inside, because the solitude of migration creates tight bonds among those that live through it together, but can also engender deep resentments and wounds.

The psychological and emotional effects of migration outlive the actual experience, and often undermine the feelings of safety you might be able to build later in life. Life in the outside world is hard, and the place where you find comfort is also at times where you might find anxiety, anger and profound sadness.

Money tends to run low in migrant households, and there is often nobody external to lean on for support. You have to be a parent without the help and knowledge of previous generations, without the comfort of your life-long habits and friendships. You have to be a child without the presence of your larger family and as much as adults try to shield you from family struggles, without ever really being carefree.


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Food we’ve cooked during quarantine, 2020, Sara Gvero, All rights reserved
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My mum’s pizza, 2020, Sara Gvero, All rights reserved
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My mum’s apple cake, 2020, Sara Gvero, All rights reserved


I was caught by the pandemic in what started as a temporary living arrangement at my parents’ place. Our household has migrated twice, most recently to the UK. Our family’s situation is different now from what it was in the past: money doesn’t run as low anymore, we have reunited with some of the larger family, and we now have good networks of support.

By some funny trick of life, at the age of thirty the lockdown has given me what feels like a second chance at childhood. It has provided me with the opportunity to spend generous amounts of unstructured, unexpected and relatively carefree time with my parents: a rarity in adult life.

Countless days over the last few weeks have felt like childhood weekends, minus the frustration of adults at having to take on all the chores, and the resentment of children at being bossed around. As we planned activities and meals together, we have deeply missed my sister, who lives abroad. But I have had the precious and new experience of spending quality time with the people whom I owe my life, in a situation of physical, economical and emotional safety.


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A basil plant we’ve revived during quarantine, Sara Gvero, All rights reserved
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Basil blossoms, Sara Gvero, All rights reserved
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Basil flowers, 2020, Sara Gvero, All rights reserves


It does feel unfair that I should have had such a positive experience of quarantine when so many people have fallen ill, have lost loved ones, and are struggling with the direct and indirect effects of the pandemic.

I hold these contrasting feelings in the palm of my hand and I observe them. I am not trying to resolve the contradiction, as such attempts have always failed me in the past. What I can say, is that I am aware every day of the combination of privilege and sheer luck that we have had: so much of the former has been acquired so recently that I have not yet learnt to take it for granted.

Family can mean many things: mine is made up of my blood relatives, but also of the people I have invited in it along the way. What it has never meant is easy, and I would be lying if I said that’s the case now. But the opportunity to spend quality time with my parents as an adult who is able to take care of her own needs, as well as of theirs on occasions, has been priceless.


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Travelling to work with gloves on pre-lockdown, Sara Gvero, All rights reserved
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Syon Park, 2020, Sara Gvero, All rights reserved
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Family shopping, 2020, Sara Gvero, All rights reserved


I have been able to have conversations with my parents that are free of the need that they meet my expectations of them as their now adult child, which had been the case in my early, and sometimes also late twenties. I have been able to put down boundaries that I wouldn’t have dared to attempt when I was younger.

And, among the difficulties this situation has engendered, I have had the opportunity to get to know them much better, outside of the grief, longing, loneliness and practical worries that overshadow our past.

Many people, maybe most, don’t get second chances at building a positive relationship with their families, and the pandemic might take forever away this possibility for some. For the time I have been able to spend with my parents, and the strengthened bond I now have with them, I will be forever grateful.


Cover image: Mum smelling flowers on one of our lockdown walks, Sara Gvero, All Rights reserved

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Exploring creativity in quarantine

Text and digital drawings by Georgi Taroni. All rights reserved.


We started off joking about productivity under a possible lockdown – did Shakespeare really write King Lear during the plague quarantine? – but then the pressure came. Every influencer, celebrity, vague acquaintance and friend on social media began using their new-found time at home to enhance their skills.

I’ve been messaged about joining art classes, learning a language, getting fit and even earning money all from the comfort of my sofa. On the surface, it all sounds appealing, but the stress of having to achieve as you would at school, university or work is not something I want to experience when snuggled under my comfort blanket and week-old pyjamas.


Us On The Sofa

Us On The Sofa, 2020, Georgi Taroni, All Rights Reserved


Then I picked up a pencil.

I found a colouring book and began to scribble. I graduated to an iPad pencil and a subscription to an online drawing software and found myself creating digital art. The dust was blown off my long-lost creative soul. For about five years I have felt a distance from my creativity. After finishing my undergraduate degree in Creative Writing, I haven’t written so much as a stanza.

During a sleepy Sunday evening, I put my pencil to digital paper and felt the flood of creative optimism return. The privacy of the app and the ability to immediately erase mistakes without having wasted a single piece of paper, cleared away the boundaries and concern I would usually feel in the unfamiliar territory of creating art.


The Snake

The Snake, 2020, Georgi Taroni, All rights reserved.


What I have found most liberating in the process of drawing is how solitary it is. Although I haven’t seen any friends of family for over a month now, I haven’t truly been alone either. Through my time looking, seeing, digesting and creating, I have been given the chance to invert my gaze. When I draw, I am in a bubble, the solitude of the bubble allows me to see creatively clearer but also appreciate the comforting chaos that socialising and community brings, when I return to it.

I have never considered myself an artist, nor felt particularly expertly skilled in drawing, however I’ve found comfort in a medium that has betrayed me in the past. Whether digital or actual pencil and paper, drawing creates something new that no one else can feel or create. We can scribble, we can erase but something was made, something was done during a time when time pushes hurriedly past us.


The Bulb
         The Bulb, 2020, Georgi Taroni, All Rights Reserved.


I feel as if now, I have some control over what I can present to others about my time in lockdown – I can share photographs of a cake I baked, I can retweet uplifting news stories or I can share a piece of my artwork. I can share some of my inner soul through texture, colour and shape.

I can show that being alone doesn’t mean to you can’t travel further than any vehicle could and the smallest step on your creative journey can reveal the glory of a life lived temporarily indoors.


Cover Image: The Bulb, 2020, Georgi Taroni, All rights reserved


HELLO READER! Pequod Rivista wants to hear about your creative quarantine: send us your text and drawings at info.pequodrivista@gmail.com and we’ll discuss publishing

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