As COVID-19 continues to rage across the world claiming lives at an alarming speed, health authorities are urging people to stay at home and self-isolate in a bid to ‘flatten the curve.’ Basically, the outside world has been cancelled, so is most of the things that are remotely related to bringing us either happiness, money or new experiences. The gyms? Cancelled. The movies and restaurants? Cancelled. Events? Cancelled. Tours, festivals, concerts, film releases, night clubs and social gatherings? Cancelled!
Be it out of an abundance of caution or a government directive, many people throughout the world have resorted to remaining inside their homes and implementing “social distancing,”. While responsibly stuck in our houses, the need for entertainment and mental stimulation is high and we have consumed everything imaginable; food, books, Netflix. We have scoured catalogues of the various streaming services available to us and are rewatching classic movies and series. We have used the grocery store as a means to feel and turned it into an event; an event that has us buying snacks every other day. After this period, most of us will either emerge as the baddest introverted folks ever or finally make our debut as plus-sized models.
While we’re all practising the act of dying slowly from boredom popularly know as social distancing, it is imperative that one finds ways to not go crazy whilst trapped at home. To others, it involves taking part in challenges like the #StayAtHomeChallenge, #ViewFromMyWindow, #MyPandemicSurvivalPlan, #TogetherAtHome or #QuarantineAndChill, whereas to some it is marathon games of Monopoly or making TikTok videos with family or filming videos of musicians living apart in buildings coming together in times of solitude to craft a jam session from their balconies. Oh, and working. One cannot forget all of the societal productivity that’s happening right now.
Most people in Zimbabwe and in some parts of Africa aren’t necessarily forced to shelter in their homes yet due to COVID-19 as they have been doing in India and South Africa where the police are beating people roaming around the streets. But, our fellow cool folks in hard-hit countries like China, South Korea, Italy, Spain and South Africa have gathered valuable experience staying home over the last several weeks, and there’s a lot we can learn from them.
Last Friday, eMzansi Djs Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, DJ Zinhle, Shimza, pH, Black Motion and Darque successfully debuted the #QuarantineOnlineParty as South Africans were encouraged to practice strict social distancing. The party took Mzansi by storm that it did not only manage to entertain people in the comfort of their homes but it also caught the attention of the big bosses at Channel O, even in the face of withering criticism from rapper Sho Madjozi who said that she wasn’t impressed by the DJs touching the same equipment and grooving in one house during a pandemic period.
To get a global perspective of what some of our fellow cool people have been doing during isolation, GQ recently talked to some cool social distancers across the world about how they’ve been staying busy, the new hobbies they’ve picked up, what they’ve replaced exercise with, and, most importantly, the cooking projects they’ve undertaken.
Here is a sneak peek of what some of our fellow cool people have been doing during isolation.
Edoardo Monti: Art Residency Founder in Brescia, Italy, is staying creative, volunteering, and working out on Instagram
I’ve been doing long-term projects, so, for instance, I just finished uploading and writing stories and creating exhibitions on our Google Arts and Culture platforms so that people can access the collection remotely. Working in the cultural industry and knowing so many artists and curators, what we did was create this artists colouring book. So for every day for the next 30 days, we’re gonna continuously upload new artworks by Italian and international artists.
I had a double live Instagram story with a friend of mine from New York. Her name is Nicole Winhoffer, she’s an amazing trainer that works with Madonna, Kate Hudson and Stella McCartney. So she was my trainer and I was the guy training in a way. People really want to work out.
And while culture is important, it is, unfortunately, at times like these, not essential. So I registered to be a volunteer to bring medicines and food to elderly and disabled people in the city of Brescia, because there’s a number you can call to get free delivery for food and medicine that if you’re sick, old, or disabled.
Now, I can speak for all Italians and say that we love cooking. A lot of what myself and friends have been doing is going to the library, picking up any recipe book that you have—I’m using one from a friend of mine’s mother from New Zealand—and the challenge is to go through the book and just open it randomly every day and then create that recipe. I cooked some short ribs last night, which was amazing.
Hye: A Korean Merchandiser for a luxury fashion brand is learning how to massage herself
I’ve been cooking a lot. People are making weird coffee experiments where you have to whip it over 400 times. Then the coffee mix becomes a whipping cream. A lot of people make homemade kimchi because they have nothing to do. I made a potato gnocchi from scratch. Usually, when you make pasta you use flour, right? But I grounded the potato and then I separated the water out of the potato and then from the water I took the starch and then I combined the starch and I made the gnocchi out of real 100% potato.
I started watching some YouTube videos to learn how to self-massage and I bought this self-massage tool. Everyone stopped going to the gym and then we are eating a lot, so I feel like I have to exercise. I’m still too lazy to exercise so I am doing a little self-massage for blood circulation instead.
Ermanno Lazzarin, founder of Eral 55 a clothing store in Italy is tidying up his library
During this time, where we are forced to stay home, I try not to waste the days. When I wake up I usually practice 30 minutes of yoga. I also started to tidy up my library since I have a lot of books and I’ve never had time to look at them. And then, of course, I read: To Have or to Be? by Erich Fromm, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, Upwind by Ambrogio Fogar, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I also take advantage of the time to study in order to set up some strategies to propose in my shop.
Mariangela Negroni; Co-founder of home decor shop Funky Table is learning the art of putting things back together
Finally, I had time to use a Kintsugi kit. Kintsugi is the art of embracing damage. By messy mending, you emphasize the marks and scars of a product giving it a new perspective and beauty while offering it longevity. It’s a way to put together broken pieces and to see them in a new and better perspective.
Last month, I bought a lot of second-hand tablecloths in the south of Italy, so I decided to give them a new life and dye them pink. And we’re Italian (!), so we spend a lot of time cooking, remembering our old grandmother’s recipes, making gnocchi, cakes, and trying to be healthy and safe.
Bohan Qiu, founder of public relations agency Boh Project who can do headstands now
Being in China, we were the first in the world to live life under quarantine. It was definitely difficult at the beginning, but I have grown to enjoy it over time. As lockdown was announced just before Chinese New Year, I was with my parents 24/7, and have been able to spend a lot of quality time together which otherwise we would never could. I started a 30-day advanced yoga training camp with my mum and managed to finally do headstands and crow poses.
I also started learning how to use Ableton Live with YouTube videos and made some small techno tracks inspired by the virus and the hospitals China built within a week.
I am now experimenting with new recipes and cooking a new dish every day, which is way healthier, cost-efficient and also a soothing process. I started to realize how many things we can actually do at home which we never had the time for, and how little things we actually need in life to keep us happy. Taking a bath, reading a book I’ve been trying to dive into since forever ago or picking up my rusted guitar skills have been so enriching. It’s rare to have such a big chunk of time on hand and it is a true luxury in this day and age. So instead of resisting it, I really encourage the world to take advantage of it, learn, think, evolve. I hope the rest of the world can really stay calm, cooperate, play your part in prevention, and take this time to become a better self! Continue reading here.
What have you been doing? Share with us in the comments section.