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Connected V

Still here. Still shooting online portraits from Monday to Friday and it's given me the structure I didn't know I needed during quarantine.

Thank you for all the love you have shown for these stories online - If you'd like to share yours with me, email me! I am now raising money for refugees in Europe through Choose Love - so if you sent me the receipt of your donation, you've got yourself a deal.

Most of all I am grateful for the wonderful humans that open up their homes and lives to me for this project. I have been thinking how vulnerable and special it is to just pop on a video chat and go like: 'Hey! Let me show you how I'm living, stranger!' It's a great honour to be invited into that and the tenderness of it doesn't escape me.

Enjoy meeting today's stories. I hope you can find some part of yourself in someone else. We are all connected.

Miho 39, Kanagawa, Japan

I am Miho and I live with my partner. I try not to worry too much but at the same I have general fears like everyone else: the uncertainty, the unpredictability, work, family. But there is nothing we can do other than simply stay at home. Nothing else.

Having a home and being well is such a miracle and I know I am so lucky. At the moment I am spending all my days doing simple things like cooking, reading, listening to music, having a bath, chatting with my family and friends online: that is my joy right now.

Noah 27, Los Angeles, USA

I physically am alone in my cozy apt, but I've never felt less lonely. Aside from my two tortoises that keep me endlessly entertained, so many friends and families have been reaching out. I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to zoom and livestream my art classes and talk to students daily, along with being able to continue working with the people I mentor. I've struggled (like most people) to find and build a healthy community, and this time apart has been such a gift to enable me to pause and see how many things have changed for the better since when I moved across the country nearly 6 years ago.

I fear not being able to be there for the people that mean a lot to me. This has been interesting during this time because now that other day-to-day activities are gone or not so distracting, people seem to be valuing phone conversations more than ever. It appears that people are craving the individual connection more now, which is great to see how we've adapted to this, but the need is increasing and has proved challenging (for me at least) to keep up with.

I find SO much joy in seeing people step up, like this photography project for example. The difficult time has brought the necessity that is inciting the invention of so much creativity and community. It's beautiful how I've seen this draw the best qualities out a lot of people, bring families closer to home, and unify the world. I find so much joy in seeing all the people going for walks withe their loved ones, sitting in the grass, and expressing their love for one another in so many creative ways. Obviously my heart goes out to those who have been hurt by this virus, but for us that have been able to prevail, I hope we remember the simple yet meaningful moments that we've shared, and grow stronger together.

Donna 31, Lewes, UK

I live with my boyfriend and our Pug, Reggie. The uncertainty of the moment makes me feel fearful. I love to make plans and visualise the future and I’ve been struggling to do this of late. I have moments of big panic where I think about the severity of it all and how it affects so many of us whether thats through the illness itself or the ripples it creates for life, business, love, security. This is often triggered by a news story I might catch while I work or a post online. More recently I feel fearful if I am doing enough. Am I doing enough to support myself, my loved ones, my friends, my neighbours…this can feel overwhelming but I completely understand that it comes from a deep rooted desire to help and look after others. I am finding tiny little joys in my everyday. I am living WAY more in the moment and finding that my stress and anxiety doesn’t necessarily feel long term anymore. My mood lifts quickly. I am finding joy in being in my garden and enjoying the stillness of the outside world, away from media and tech. I am also finding joy in having many more deep conversations with those I am closest to. Every day I find time to do something that makes me feel alive and free, whether its writing, planting, running or reading. And it doesn’t feel like it’s rushed or impossible to achieve. I just seem to be using my time in a much better way. Life feels more in flow.

Utibe 28, Abuja, Nigeria

Luckily I'm not alone in all this. My daughters and I are staying with my parents and sister in Abuja, Nigeria. I'm grateful we get to be around them during the lockdown, it feels like one big never ending sleepover at the moment.

My biggest fears are how long the lockdown would last. With the government giving us an extra week before they relax the lockdown. I’m afraid they aren’t fully ready to deal with the expected. Secondly I’m wondering what our new norm would look like. With young kids it’s hard to imagine what everyday life would be like being extra cautious, uncertain and on edge.

But I’m finding joy in being and living slow. With no where to go I’m learning to love where we are presently. Waking up to the sound of birds chirping on the avocado tree by my window and watching our children marvel at the little treasures in nature that we often take for granted when we are in a rush. I’m constantly reminded that with all the chaos happening in the world there is so much that I can be grateful for. As often as I can I sneak out of bed early in the morning, grab myself of cup of fresh lemon and ginger tea with a dash of cinnamon and settle with my bible in our quiet corner.

David 46, Ibiza, Spain

I am spending this time, principally on my own, which is the case normally. My children fortunately all returned to Ibiza from London before the lockdowns and so they are nearby, staying with their mother.

My greatest concern is that we don’t use this opportunity to change what clearly wasn’t working.

I derive joy quite literally from the sun rising every morning (the reason I don’t close my curtains), from the fresh sea air, from having a view and knowing my loved ones are here, away from the big cities.

Viktor 34, Omaha, USA

I live alone but close to some friends and family in the same city.

At the moment I find joy in being able to work from home, getting up and slowly starting the day instead of rushing out of the house to get to the office. During my lunch breaks I can now work on my music which is something I wasn't able to do before all of this.

Quite honestly I don’t have any fears right now. I know this situation will pass and I know we are going to be stronger after this.

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