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Postcards from Home
16 minutes | Jul 24, 2020
23 - Sabine Eichbauer “We just hit a wall with our usual lifestyle, everything changed”
Today’s postcard, recorded on 17 July, is from Sabine Eichbauer. The episode is longer to accommodate the fact that she lives in both Italy and Germany. Sabine handles multiple businesses including wine growing at her vineyard, Podere Salicutti in Tuscany, managing restaurant Tantris in Munich with her husband, and she continues to practise architecture. She is mother to two young girls. When we spoke, Sabine had trouble pinning down where home was. The panic of lockdown has prompted a reassessment of what home and happiness means to her. She shares some of that reflection in this postcard.
12 minutes | Jul 17, 2020
22 - Higor Boconcelo "It's now a physical solitary life but digitally crowded. I miss human touch"
“It’s now more the physical solitary life but very digitally crowded. I miss human touch” Today’s postcard, recorded on 15 July, is from Higor Boconcelo who lives in São Paulo, Brazil. Higor is a user experience designer for a large tech company. Unlike daily-wage workers in Brazil, he’s been able to work from home during lockdown. In this postcard, Higor describes life in solitude during the pandemic that has also led to burst of creativity.
12 minutes | Jul 10, 2020
21 - Nunu Kaller "I was sitting in my bed unable to stop crying. I thought, I have to do something"
“I remember sitting in my bed and I was not able to stop crying…I thought about one of my closest friends who does costumes at two different theatres and sold upcycling fashion at a market, but everything was closed down. She has three kids and raising them on her own. I thought, I have to do something.” Today’s postcard, sent on 7 July, is from Nunu Kaller who lives in Vienna, Austria. Nunu is an author and activist who focuses on sustainable living, feminism and body positivity. In this postcard, Nunu talks about the book she’s been writing during lockdown that addresses consumerism and shopping more intelligently to achieve meaningful sustainability.
12 minutes | Jul 3, 2020
20 - Pankkara Larrea "I haven't kissed anyone hello in three months"
“In Latin America, we kiss when we say hello, and I haven’t said hello to anyone with a kiss in three months” Pankkara Larrea is a wedding and family photographer who lives with her husband and two Yorkshire terriers in Bolivia. She recorded her postcard on 2 July. Pankkara revels in the joy and love that comes with photographing big life events so the shift to lockdown, curtailing of work, and sudden sharing of her home workspace, was significant. In this postcard she talks about how her vigorous pace of creative activity hasn’t let up and why she believes there’s no going back to an old normal.
13 minutes | Jun 26, 2020
19 - Shagufta Siddhi "I have missed seeing people so badly"
“I missed seeing human beings during this time…I’m a people person and I didn’t see anyone on the road or the street outside our house, and I wanted to see people so badly.” Shagufta is an educator and also director of an intercultural learning project called Ganga Jamuni. She lives in Delhi, India, with her husband and four year old daughter. She recorded her postcard on 23 June. Shagufta set up Ganga Jamuni to connect young people with their vibrant and diverse cultural heritage; a response to the current populist political climate in India. You can access information about the initiative on Facebook and Instagram. In this postcard, Shagufta talks about shifting learning online during lockdown, a period that brought family closeness but also financial stresses and emotional hardship.
14 minutes | Jun 19, 2020
18 - Lucy Graney "the Coronavirus, it’s just pushed us over the edge"
“We’ve both been left unemployed…before, we were hanging on and now we’ve just fallen…the Coronavirus, it’s just pushed us over the edge” Lucy Graney lives with her husband Will and their two young children in Salford, UK. Before the pandemic she was a sling librarian, consultant and a prolific content creator publishing on Facebook and Instagram. Both Lucy and Will recently made the move to self-employment which meant they weren’t eligible for any government grants to sustain their businesses through lockdown. In this postcard, sent on 11th June, she reflects on family life in isolation, being Autistic and the challenges that their current situation presents as lockdown is lifted.
13 minutes | Jun 5, 2020
17 - Sarah Pabst "I wanted to work on motherhood - the secrets and taboos”
“I suddenly noticed I wanted to work on motherhood, but all its different chapters – the secrets and taboos – the things we don’t really talk about” Sarah Pabst is a freelance photographer covering documentary and visual storytelling for international media outlets and news organisations. You can reference her work on Bloomberg, her website and Instagram. She’s also a member of Women Photograph and posts to WP the Journal too. Sarah lives in Buenos Aires in Argentina with her husband and toddler daughter. She recorded this postcard on 30th May. International photography assignments have been put on hold during the COVID-19 lockdown, but Sarah hasn’t been idle. In this postcard, Sarah talks about documenting family life, and an unexpected loss, that has unlocked a surprising period of personal creative growth.
15 minutes | May 29, 2020
16 - Jonathan Reynolds MP on balancing family life and parliament during the pandemic
“To be frank, I feel guilty at not being able to give the children as much time as I would have wanted alongside the pressures of the job.” Jonathan Reynolds is a husband and dad. He’s also the member of parliament for Stalybridge and Hyde in the UK. He recorded his postcard on 28 May. Juggling full time work, homeschooling and your children’s welfare during the pandemic is stressful for any parent. Jonathan is also Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, a brief he took on during the lockdown period. This has led to a manic pace of increased constituency casework and scrutinising the governments response to the increasingly precarious employment landscape. In this postcard, he talks about that juggling act and the uncertainty that lies ahead.
13 minutes | May 22, 2020
15 - Te'sa Lenee "Using PPE, there's an element of connection that’s missing"
Te’sa is a student midwife, a mother and tends a smallholding on the edge of Trinity County in California. She sent her postcard via satellite connection on 21 May when she was home, writing up her midwifery notes in the company of her toddler daughter and husband. Te’sa talks about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected her work as a home birth and community based women’s health provider. She reveals how this new reality is forcing a reassessment of her own, impending, birthing choices.
11 minutes | May 14, 2020
14 - Eliotte Duran "He was getting sicker and after a few weeks he couldn’t even go to the store"
"He was just getting sicker and after a few weeks he couldn’t even go to the store because he was so out of breath. This is a kid who is just 19 and who usually parkours his way from A to B" Eliotte Duran lives in Stockholm with her husband and two younger children whilst her eldest son lives away at boarding school. She sent her postcard on 10th May. Eliotte runs the babywearing wrap company Sjala, which, like many businesses, has experienced a tumultuous time over recent months. Sweden has taken an unusual path of remaining mostly open during the pandemic. The government has favoured advice, over restrictions, aimed at reducing the virus’ impact on the health service and slowing the spread. In this postcard, Eliotte reveals how Coronavirus affected her family early on meaning her approach to daily life is far more cautious.
14 minutes | May 8, 2020
13 - Tom Miller "I am stuck in a very small place, in a built up area, with no way of getting out"
Tom Miller is a musician and lives in Salford, Manchester, in the UK. He sent his postcard on 6 May. Tom is used to the rhythm of playing regular gigs, spending time with friends and going to his day job at a music shop. Tom provides bass, synths and programming for Lindsay Munroe and he also plays occasional guitar and bass for Patchwork Guilt. In January he was gifted Trikafta, an experimental drug to treat Cystic Fibrosis, and it changed his life. Finally able to think longer term means the sudden shift to shielding from the Coronavirus pandemic has been particularly challenging. Shielding is vital for the 1.3m most clinically vulnerable people in the UK. In this postcard he describes life in complete isolation and why he’s angry, but also grateful. And why repeated hospital admissions means he’s better able to cope with it all.
13 minutes | May 5, 2020
12 - Nafissa "They didn’t help the refugees…they didn’t give us masks…just one soap"
Nafissa is from Afghanistan and is currently living in a refugee camp in Athens, Greece. This postcard was recorded over a series of WhatsApp voice messages on 3 May. Nafissa fled Afghanistan at the age of 16 after being sold to a man linked to the Taliban. She travelled alone through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and then by perilous boat journey to Lesbos, Greece. During this time she met her boyfriend and they now live in a shared container with their three daughters. Throughout this postcard, Nafissa is unafraid to share her traumatic story. She talks about her Coronavirus worries, how refugee support services had to stop when the virus threatened Greece, and her dreams for a more stable future.
14 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
11 - Rachel Velebny "I might still feel the anxiety but now everyone is experiencing these emotions"
Rachel Velebny is a freelance writer who lives in Amsterdam with her husband and cat in an apartment that doubles as her office. She sent her postcard on 28 April. She is currently contributing the text for Startup Guide but her internship at a fashion media company had to be put on hold when COVID-19 containment began. Rachel moved to Amsterdam from the UK after a period of poor mental health and, in this postcard, she recounts how learning to deal with anxiety means she’s better prepared than most for life in isolation. But that, as she’ll describe, doesn’t mean that The Netherlands “intelligent lockdown” strategy has been without its challenges.
13 minutes | Apr 27, 2020
10 - Blanca Frappier "My kids started getting a fever...and all the Tylenol had gone"
“I remember going to the grocery store and seeing all the shelves were empty…my kids started getting a fever…and all the Tylenol had gone” Blanca Frappier lives in Minnesota, USA, where she is an audio book artist and mother to three young children. In this postcard, recorded on 26 April, Blanca reflects on how Coronavirus has interrupted her year of saying “yes” which was about finding herself again beyond motherhood. She also recounts how the effects of living through undiagnosed COVID-19 triggered memories of her impoverished childhood, and subsequently deepened her understanding of the decisions mothers make.
13 minutes | Apr 20, 2020
9 - Emer McKenna "I feel like there’s this screaming in my head “this is not normal”"
“The children will be playing happily, oblivious to everything, and I feel like there’s this screaming in my head “this is not normal, what is happening now is not normal”…so I’ve had to work hard on my mental health.” Emer McKenna lives near Dublin, Ireland, and is a stay at home mother to two young boys for whom she’s worked hard alongside her husband Colin to create a nurturing home. Her eldest son, George, has autism so the transition from school to lockdown needed to be managed carefully. In this postcard, recorded on 19th April, she talks about maintaining structure for the children whilst mindfully appreciating the positives about life, despite the wider Coronavirus fears.
10 minutes | Apr 17, 2020
8 - Caroline "I feel like an imposter being a Dr during this time and not on the frontline"
“I feel a bit like an imposter being a doctor during this time and not being on the frontline…it’s a bit of a mixed feeling for me because normally I would be the first to help.” Caroline is from the Montreal area of Canada. Usually her role includes working with patients from both her practice and at the hospital. Shortly before the Coronavirus pandemic spread across Canada, Caroline’s personal situation changed and she had to withdraw from frontline practice. In this postcard she talks about balancing the guilt of not being able to support her colleagues and patients in the way she would like with the need to look after herself. She sent this postcard on 16 April from her office, just before seeing her first patient of the day by video link.
12 minutes | Apr 13, 2020
7 - Natalie Brownstein "I’ve taken to driving past the beach and just inhaling deeply"
“I’ve taken to driving past the beach, opening the window and just inhaling deeply…I never thought I’d see the day when the water and the sands of Bondi are completely empty, it’s never happened before in my whole life.” Natalie Brownstein lives in Sydney, Australia – a short walk from Bondi beach. She is mother to two young boys and is currently self-isolating in their apartment along with her husband who is working from home. When Coronavirus emerged in the city, Natalie was just getting her business – Bespoke PA – back on track after the birth of her second son and subsequent postnatal depression. She sends this postcard, recorded on 11 April, to her sons so they can hear about this period of their childhood when they’re older. In it, she describes the scaling back of daily life and tries to imagine what it will be like after the virus has receded.
12 minutes | Apr 9, 2020
6 - Gergana Raynova "“I need to talk about the corruption otherwise I too am complicit”
Gergana is a mother of twins who lives in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. She sent her postcard on 3 April. In doing so, she imagined herself as a castaway on an abandoned island and wanted to reach people who would hear her concern. She said of the Bulgarian government “I need to talk about the corruption, to do something, otherwise I too am complicit”. Gergana’s concern has merit; Reporters without Borders lists Bulgaria at 111th for freedom of speech. Since 2009, when Boyko Borisov was elected for a third term, trust in fair elections has decreased and Transparency International rates the country’s governance 43/100 due to public sector corruption. As such, she has anxieties about Bulgaria’s ability to deal with Coronavirus. In this postcard, Gergana also paints a portrait of family life, organised to meet the needs of her twin daughters, that works in equal partnership with her husband.
14 minutes | Apr 6, 2020
5 - Francesca Orlando "He has nightmares that we are going to die of the virus"
“I worry that maybe we shouldn’t told him about the virus even though we tried to break it down to a level that a five, soon to be six, year old would understand. But he’s absolutely worried, he has nightmares that we are going to die of the virus” Francesca Orlando is an Italian ex-pat, a Nutritionist, mother to two young boys and she lives in San Diego, USA. Francesca recorded a detailed and intimate portrait of the protective bubble she has created for her children in their home. She plans gentle days filled with painting stones, making focaccia and curling up on the sofa together. It’s her hope that the boys remember this time positively despite the coronavirus fears that inevitably seep in. Underlying this is a thrum of anxiety. The time she’s dedicating to her children is time she is not working, though she maintains a positive outlook. She ends her postcard offering sanctuary to friends who may be in abusive relationships. This is a fear based on evidence; as the Guardian reported two days ago, cases of domestic abuse spike during periods of economic and social crisis.
10 minutes | Apr 2, 2020
4 - Tiana Melendez "I don’t want to bring the virus home and further the spread"
“I don’t want to bring this home and further the spread…it’s very scary for me to know that I go head first into these places not knowing what I could come out with if I’m not very careful” Tiana, 28 March 2020 Tiana Melendez is a mother, hairstylist and partner in her husband’s disaster clean up company based in New Jersey, USA. They usually deal with household floods and fires but recently, COVID-19 clean ups have become the norm. She took ten minutes between running errands for household essentials and work to send this postcard from her car. At times, the WhatsApp connection faded but the strength of her fear and anxiety came through. Since recording this postcard her father has presented with Coronavirus symptoms.
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