The following is the first instalment of an article consisting of three parts, each one corresponding to a particular group of people as identified by social psychologist Zulema Moreno from the anecdotal narratives submitted during quarantine.
“Sharing our daily life strengthens family ties if done optimistically, thinking that everything will be fine when everything returns to normal.” Anonymous, 60 years old, Colombia
All women, between 50 and 73 years old, living alone or with a husband, pets or other family members (mother or grown-up children). At home in Colombia and Mexico. In an inspiring way, they face the pandemic from a standpoint of wisdom, women determined to stay the course not suffer in the process. They know that everything has changed, they recognise the uncertainty, the fear, the guilt and sadness that are manifested even in dreams or, even worse, during bouts of insomnia.
“These days uncertainty prevails, we look forward, but we can’t see anything.” Doris, 54 years old, Colombia
Having said that, they have developed strategies to deal with the crisis in the best way possible: by maintaining a positive and optimistic attitude.
“I feel that my day to day has been altered just a little due to the need to stay at home, but I don’t feel that it has really affected me, I think that depends on each individual.” Anonymous, 60 years old, Colombia
They remain active and busy, without leaving the routine that makes them feel in control, and allows them to spend time making sense of the days.
Perhaps the feeling of cleanliness provides peace and for this reason hygiene habits have become stricter: disinfection, washing the groceries, exhaustive clothes and shoe washing, showers when returning home, etc.
“I go back to my apartment, I bathe and wash my clothes. Life totally changed. ” Doris, 54 years old, Colombia
They nostalgically evoke moments from the past that made them feel happy and safe. Sensory memory is activated, evading the present a little.
“I sleep terribly, I lay on my stomach and the only thing that occurs to me is to dangle my feet off the end of the bed and start kicking like I did every Saturday and Sunday when my parents took me swimming and I’d swim until I couldn’t anymore, kicking and kicking until I fall asleep.” Leida, 73 years old, Mexico
“I’m not alone, I’m longing for the hugs and kisses that I’ll give freely when we come out of this confinement. I’m not complaining, I’m not missing anything, well yes, hugs. ” Alejandra, 50 years old, Mexico
They maintain emotional closeness and take care of those with whom they cohabit, they are prudent and try not to invade spaces.
“Sometimes I play dominoes with my daughter or Uno or rummy. We play when she has time, because she works at home. ” Martha, 60 years old, Colombia
“Making coexistence something pleasant without invading much of the other person’s space is a way to get closer to our loved ones in these uncertain times.” Anonymous, 60 years old, Colombia
This group of people offer us a lesson on dealing with life as it comes and adapting to the opportunities it can offer. Despite the fear, uncertainty and the shadow of death that has been present since the Coronavirus put them in the crosshairs, these women have known how to flow with the current. Perhaps from a position of resistance, or perhaps from resignation. But always looking forward.
The Quarantine Anecdotes Collection
During April and May 2020, Alma de Casa put out an open call to the public with a view to creating a small collection of anecdotes about experiences during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Based on the analysis of the narratives received, social psychologist Zulema Moreno identified three trends that stood out in their representation of different feelings, behaviour and reactions to the pandemic. Without a doubt, it’s not the same to go through quarantine alone, as it is with children and/or while continuing to work. No one was prepared for this situation and everyone reacts the best they can within their circumstances. It’s too early to draw definitive conclusions about what we’re all experiencing, however, from the different anecdotes we have an opportunity to reflect, identify and ask ourselves what will follow on from this.
Zulema Moreno is dedicated to developing qualitative analyses of social factors and market research. From her own quarantine in Madrid, where she’s been living for the last 3 years with her husband and two cats, she sent us her observations which consist of a range of different experiences from Almas de Casa between 24 to 73 years old, from Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, UK, Spain and France.
Thank you to Zule for her time and for sharing her concerns, fears and thoughts about how the world will emerge from this situation. We also thank the 38 anecdotes that were sent to us for opening up and making us think once again about everyday domestic life.