Our worlds have shrunken. We go fewer places, see fewer people, make fewer plans. As such, life looks different, literally. We wanted to see how women’s days around the globe are taking shape during the pandemic. We asked them to send photos that reflect their daily rhythms — an image of a meal, for example, or the view outside their window. A shot of something that keeps them calm or a random photo of anything they’d like.
Below, you’ll find snapshots from Massachusetts to Buenos Aires, from Taipei to an island off the coast of Scotland. You’ll peer inside the homes and habits of four women, and perhaps see reflections of your own small joys and anchoring routines.
The women’s words have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
The first two weeks of social distancing, I cried every day; now I cry every other day.
About me I am a singer-songwriter, producer and witch. I like to tell stories through music, and create community with spirituality and nature. My husband and I are both unemployed/underemployed in Boston. I'm trying not to freak out about paying the bills, and instead focus on what I can offer the world: music and tarot readings.
I visited my mom on Cape Cod for Mother’s Day. We didn’t hug, but she gave me tea and Bajan coconut bread, which is another form of love.
Fotolog was the last time I really enjoyed taking selfies.
About me I’m a graphic designer who graduated from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. I’ve always had a strong connection with art, in any form. I’ve felt anxious, scared, sad and numb during this pandemic. I soon realized that being active, at my own pace, helped me cope with the situation. That being present, listening to my own needs and desires — taking a bath, doing laundry, making a cake or just staying a little longer in bed — helped me to do more and worry less.
I was about to move out when it all started.
I snack a lot. Food does bring me joy in the pandemic. I somehow feel guilty to say this out loud, but it’s true. I finally understand the magic of alcohol, and how much I love my sister.
About me I’m a 20-year-old journalism major college student. I live in Taipei, Taiwan, where we’ve had no new local cases for 30 days straight. We don’t have to quarantine, so I am lucky to be able to have a “normal” life, but I do wear a mask everywhere I go. I often worry about my friends who are not in Taiwan, but I try to smile and appreciate what I have. I found writing a gratitude journal helps me a lot.
I commute to the college campus in another city an hour every day. The passengers are asked to put on the masks in the MRT [Taipei’s Mass Rapid Transit]. After winter break, the government postponed the start of school for almost a month, and I rarely took public transportation then. I still remember the very first time I put on my mask and took the MRT to school. I was worried. I was scared of the air I breathed in.
Me in my happy place: my polycrub, which is a rigid version of a polytunnel. The Outer Hebrides [a chain of islands off the coast of Scotland] has a fairly mild climate, but it is very windy. The growing season is very short, too, so having an undercover growing space is essential if you want decent crops. I grow vegetables and herbs in here and bring on flowers for the garden. I love pottering around out here — sowing, planting, watering. Growing food is important to me; just coming out and picking a few bits and pieces for dinner is such a great feeling. In this time of quarantine, I appreciate it even more.
About me I am 59 years old and live on the Isle of Lewis, off the northwest coast of Scotland, with my 13-year-old son. Since my husband died five years ago, I have been converting our croft [farm] from grazing livestock to native woodland. Living under “lockdown” hasn’t been very different for me. I’m still doing everything I normally do — cooking, reading, gardening and crafting — and we’re lucky to have a few acres of outdoor space to enjoy. My older children and grandchildren live on the mainland, so I’m used to online connection with them. Shopping has been more difficult, and my son is having to home-school. That’s been harder work than I imagined it would be. We’ve been very shielded on the island — there have only been six mild cases. I’m a bit anxious about what might happen once the quarantine is over.
This is my favorite view from the only north-facing window in the house. It looks out across the fields and toward the next village. I never tire of it — endless cloudscapes and tides, Atlantic weather fronts sweeping in or mirrored reflections. The view is always different.
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Amid what experts predict will be a mental health crisis in the United States, New York fashion mogul Kenneth Cole launched an initative to destigmatize mental health conditions; the coalition kicked off Friday with an Instagram campaign spearheaded by Kendall Jenner, who shared her struggles with feeling anxious while social distancing.
A share from @thelilynews
A figure to know
Left: Galina Brok-Beltsova in her days as a navigator in the Soviet women’s 587th Bomber Aviation Regiment. (Courtesy of Galina Brok-Beltsova) Right: Brok-Beltsova with the officer she married, Georgy Beltsov. (Courtesy of Galina Brok-Beltsova)
In Russia, May 9 is Victory Day, a holiday marking the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II. This year, a massive celebration had been planned to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nazis’ fall, but the event was postponed because of the coronavirus. Galina Brok-Beltsova, 95, had intended to take part in the festivities — she is the last living member of Joseph Stalin’s renowned all-female air regiments, of which there were three. The Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in 1941; one day, then-16-year-old Brok-Beltsova was exiting a movie theater in Moscow with friends when an air raid alarm blared. A police officer steered her and her friends to a safe place, but they had other ideas. They found the closest military office and enlisted. Brok-Beltsova became part of the 587th Bomber Aviation Regiment, which flew more than 1,100 missions. She won six state honors and 18 medals.
Until next time
But before we part, some recs
(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)
Lena Felton Multiplatform editor, The Lily
What I’m jamming to: Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” radio on Spotify. A friend said he was on a Chapman kick, and now I’m stuck on a nostalgia loop, too. What I’m wearing: These all-white Tevas. With warmer weather comes bare toes, but it’s nice to know that even if I get caught in a stray D.C. thunderstorm, these will hold up. What I’m eating: Lots of cheeseboards to complete indoor picnics. My ideal spread isn’t complete without Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese, Rustic Bakery crackers and fig jam.