Amidst a Pandemic: Introduction
Written by Natasha Leong
Amidst a Pandemic: Introduction
In early March, I left my boarding school for spring break, not knowing that I wouldn’t be coming back to complete the rest of the school year. Within the next two weeks, my school had transitioned to online learning for the remainder of the academic year, and I was on a flight back to Hong Kong.
I was upset and shocked at the sudden turn of events, and I had no idea what to do with all my newfound free time. On top of that, I was seeing so much negativity out there— it was hard to ignore the surge of racism and xenophobia that many Chinese and East Asian people were facing due to the coronavirus.
I wanted to do something to counteract all of this negativity. I wanted to create something meaningful, something to help people feel more connected to others during this pandemic. So, I founded Amidst a Pandemic— a blog whose mission is to inspire a sense of connectivity and empathy amongst people of all walks of life, all over the world, by sharing stories and experiences during the coronavirus pandemic.
I’ve had the pleasure of hearing and reading stories from complete strangers, who are hundreds and thousands of miles apart from me. With the help of our team of writers and interviewers, we have amassed over 100 stories so far! Here are five of my favorites:
- Hugs and All by Nida Zuberi (Guest Contributor)
- Description: Nida is the mother of Arsalan, a young boy who is diagnosed with Duchenne, a muscle-wasting disease, and autism. She talks about the initial struggles of ensuring his well-being during the lockdown in London, and how they come out on the other side with a deeper understanding of her son, and herself.
- Quote: “As his disease progresses, he won’t be able to use the muscles of his legs and arms anymore, so we hug, and we dance, and I make sure not to waste this opportunity to do so with my son.”
- Fleeing Peru by Emily Young (Guest Contributor)
- Description: Through a series of journal entries, Emily recalls her experience of hiking through the Andes to reach Machu Picchu while the coronavirus was just beginning to reach the UK, her home.
- Quote: “My 23rd birthday. I kayaked alone down the Tambopata River at sunset. I was now the only guest in the ecolodge, and the most conversation I’d had that day was with the capybaras on the riverbank.”
- Still Growing by Mary Tran (Guest Contributor)
- Description: Dalena begins to lose hair as a result of her breakup-induced emotional stress. What could be more painful than being broken up with during the first week of lockdown?
- Quote: “And when my hair started to fall out, that’s when I knew I was under some serious emotional stress. I wasn’t eating or sleeping— I was just lying in bed all day. And when I wasn’t thinking about the relationship, I was thinking to myself, “who am I? Like, who am I?!””
- Apathetic Privilege by Natasha Leong
- Description: When the coronavirus outbreak first appeared in Wuhan, Rebecca failed to worry much for the city where her parents resided. It was only when the coronavirus disrupted her studies at Williams College when she began to care about it, and she realised her apathy was a result of her privilege.
- Quote: “When China began its shutdown of the city, my parents were stuck inside. They were telling me all about it and they were pretty depressed. Even so, I don’t think it really hit me at that point, so I wasn’t doing a very good job reaching out to them and asking them how they were doing.”
- In a Timely Fashion by Abi Brooke
- Description: Grace was just in Italy for Milan Fashion Week to model on the catwalks for the very first time, then in Paris to model for Lowe and Saint Laurent, then in the UK for Valentino! All of this came crashing down when she was told by the UK government that she had to stay at home due to her Type 1 Diabetes, which put her at “high-risk” for the coronavirus.
- Quote: “I was busy balancing my work for my A-levels back home in the UK and carrying out the various jobs that I had landed during the fashion week season. This was my first time modeling on the catwalks, and I was excited and grateful to be given this opportunity.”
These are just a few of my favorites. We have so many more stories on our website! You can view the rest here, at amidstapandemic.com!
You can also fill out this story proposal form to become a one-time guest contributor and either write your own story or be interviewed by a member of our team! Additionally, if you have an interest in helping us spread our mission, you can apply to become a team member right here.
I hope to hear some of your voices amidst a pandemic soon!