Isabella and a new perspective

The Corona Chronicles: Isabella and a new perspective

On this edition of The Corona Chronicles, I sat down with my friend Isabella. We met at a summer course last year, and have maintained a close friendship ever since. We talk regularly, and on this occasion, I was able to actually hear her voice after many months of stale Instagram messaging. It was entirely peculiar how it took a global pandemic to  push me to make the phone call. In our conversation, I was able to understand her perspective on the virus as a Venezuelan teenager. 

About yourself: “My name is Isabella, I am seventeen and I go to a British school in Caracas, Venezuela. Something I would highlight about myself is…my humour!” 

Where are you at the moment? Are you satisfied with the resources around you?

I’m at home, obviously, in Caracas, Venezuela. I am pretty satisfied with the resources around me, I am privileged enough to have enough food; active and consistent electricity, most of the time; a good supply of water; and relatively good wi-fi, which is really weird for Venezuela…but you know, crossing our fingers that it works all the time! My mother’s at home with me, and my paternal grandmother too. 

Some people on social media have said that being in quarantine has made all the days blur into one another, how would you describe your day? 

The days do blur into one another, I have an essay due Wednesday and I thought it was Tuesday but it was Thursday…so I turned it in late.On weekdays I have to register into school at 7:30 onto a google form, I do that every day. I try to get my day started early, just as I am a morning person and I work best in the morning. So I get most of my school work done then. Afterwards, I just chill in the afternoon. 

What do you do to “chill”?

In the dining room, we have a puzzle that we started three weeks ago, and it’s not done yet. So we sometimes sit there, we try to fit in the pieces in the puzzle but it’s really hard! I do at least one hour of exercise every single day, I watch TV and I read books. 

Many people have taken up new hobbies as a result of the quarantine, is this the same for you? 

I wouldn’t say I picked up any new hobbies, but I think I’ve gone back to hobbies that I used to do in the past. I cook a lot, and now I am cooking a lot more when I hadn’t been as much. I am meditating, which I used to do, and now I no longer do…I really needed it! 

What made you go for it?

Now I have not only the time [to do new hobbies] but also the mental space, because there are not that many things going around my head -things I have to do, places I need to go. Now I can hone in on things that are very time consuming, but they aren’t really all that time consuming, you just need to find the time to do them and, now I do have the time!

What is the thing you miss the most from before the quarantine?

I think it’s just the routine, and a routine that I don’t have to set myself, like the structure and day that is not controlled by me, but institutions and people around me. So for example, right now for school, I am working through my own hours, I don’t have a schedule. I just have a bunch of tasks and I have to do them, and I have to organise them in my own time and that’s hard. So I miss more structure in my life. Also being around more than two other human beings! I miss bigger groups and social interaction…

What is something you’re appreciating about the quarantine, if anything? 

I think for me personally, having that time to slow down. My life was going a thousand miles a minute before the quarantine and I was just doing so many things and not taking care of myself. Now that I have had the time to slow down, I have been able to just focus on some more healthy habits. Yes, focusing on myself is something I’m grateful for in this quarantine. 

What is the first thing you will do when you get to leave the house?

Probably go see my friends, at least a couple of them. It’s hard knowing that they are a couple of blocks away but I can’t really go see them…going out for a run! I miss that because my mum doesn’t like me going outside in general…