Under the stay-at-home order? Evanston residents discuss life in quarantine


Courtesy of Jane Sloss

Sketch of Lake Street Church in Evanston

Lauren McCaffrey, Reporter

In the days ahead of the stay-at-home order ending, The Daily spoke with Evanston residents about how they’ve been keeping busy under quarantine. These interviews have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Shruti Vijay

Local artist Shruti Vijay has spent much of her time observing and sketching the new quarantine lifestyle. With school and parks closed, Vijay, who is also a mother to a 6-year-old daughter, has had to create new activities to keep her family busy.

Q: What has life in quarantine been like?

A: We are trying to keep everything clean and avoiding going out too much. Besides working from home, my husband and I have lunch together. And we have game night with family. And I started baking.

Q: Have you been doing more art since you’ve been in quarantine?

A: Yeah, I could see a lot of people with the mask and people maintaining the distance. I also observed people carrying huge bags of things grocery shopping and carrying a lot of toilet paper, especially initially. I could see the panic in people’s faces. So, I try to capture those things in my sketches.

Q: What are some of your highlights in quarantine?

A: Another thing that helped me to be more focused is trying to maintain a schedule for both me and my daughter. She was used to going out to school, going to the library, and going to the parks, and since everything was closed, I had to maintain a schedule for her.

Q: Have you learned anything from this time that you will transfer into your regular daily life?

A: This has really taught us the value of patience. We never knew that we could actually be at home for so much time. It taught me not to take things, even the small things, for granted.

Sarah Parisien

Recent ETHS graduate Sarah Parisien has been focusing on making the most of her time in quarantine despite the fact that her last months of high school were moved online.

Q: What are some of the highlights of quarantine for you?

A: This month was my 18th birthday, my fake prom and my fake graduation. My family has found a way to make it really special for me since they know all of these milestones that I’m missing out on. For my birthday, they surprised me with a parade of all my friends, and I got to take pictures in a prom dress on my day of my prom. And for my graduation, I got to watch it from my living room, and I had, like, a really nice breakfast and everything made for me.

Q: What has quarantine life been like?

A: I’m not used to being home all the time and not being too engaged with the outside world as much as I usually am able to. It definitely has affected my mental health. But it has allowed me to get closer with my family.

Q: Have you learned anything from this time that you will carry with you in your future?

A: To be cognizant of your surroundings and know that other people are hurting too, that it’s not just about you. We’re all going through this together, while granted some people are struggling on a different level than others, just to be grateful for what we have and find a way to support others.

Jane Sloss

Jane Sloss, a 38-year-old architect, has continued her daily life with few modifications despite COVID-19. Although she cannot continue her usual travels, she spends much of her time sketching and working on projects remotely.

Q: What has life in quarantine been like?

A: In some ways, it’s been pretty similar to my normal life. I have my day job as an architect, so I’ve been able to continue working full-time remotely. I’m not able to travel to construction sites and other states, so that’s been a bit different. I feel like my world’s gotten a lot smaller. For the most part, I only go as far as I can walk or bike. For work, I was normally in Chicago, like five days a week, and I was traveling for work and personal travel. So that’s gone away.

Q: And then have you been able to do more architectural stuff since quarantine has started?

A: I would say my workload hasn’t really changed. So it’s been fairly seamless. I’m continuing on projects that I was working on before, and our office has continued to get new projects. The work that we do is primarily residential, so I think it’s been multifamily residential, so it’s been pretty consistent.

Q: Have you picked up on any new hobbies or activities?

A: I’m part of a local group in Chicago, which is a chapter of an international organization called Urban Sketchers. That community has been really active during quarantine, via social media. It’s been really cool to connect with people that way.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @LaurenKMcCaf

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