C.C.B., 56, a cooking instructor for children in Murrieta, CA

This is more of a reflection on my life in the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic. My job is to be a cooking instructor for kids, and I am self employed through my own small business. I have been working in this business for 15 years, and it has been growing steadily. Before the pandemic, I was reaching all time high numbers in my classes and camps. However, as one can imagine, cooking classes are very hands-on and require contact. Additionally, kids usually help each other bake or cook large batches so they can all share at the end. This was torn to shreds with the virus, and all of a sudden I had to shut down all my classes, it was a disaster. I resorted to trying to do Instagram live videos for people in an attempt to somehow monetize cooking/baking but when that didn’t work out, I started doing virtual classes. It isn’t the same, and I usually can only have one or two kids at a time. Since it is at home and they themselves have to buy ingredients, the price is lower and I made much less money than I was previously, but at least it was something. Plus, since both of my kids were in virtual school at the same time, the overuse of the wifi made the connection very bad and constant problems arose with zoom and my connection.

Furthermore, my parents are 87 and 90, and they live overseas in France, where I am from. This was very hard for me to deal with because I felt helpless and worried. The virus was obviously a huge threat to older people, and my parents being in that category scared me to death. Even worse was that even if something happened to them, I couldn’t do anything to help or even see them if something went wrong over there. I felt trapped, as most people probably did. The feeling was overwhelming and it made me shut down a little bit. I didn’t know what was next or where anything would go, including my work, my husband’s work, my kids’ school, and my parents. All I could do was hope, so that’s what I did

[submitted on 6/4/2021]

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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