Everything Evanston: Life Under the Stay-At-Home Order

Lauren McCaffrey and Maya Reter

Life looks a little different than it did a few months ago. We checked in with a few Evanston residents to see how their lives have shifted after COVID-19 hit. ETHS senior Sarah Parisien celebrated her birthday, graduated and went to prom from the living room of her home. For architect Jane Sloss, more time at home means more time to connect with an international community of sketchers.

LAUREN MCCAFFREY: Recently, ETHS graduate Sarah Parisien has been focusing on making the most of quarantine. Although Parisien missed two major senior milestones — graduation and prom — she was still able to celebrate with her family. She continues to dance over Zoom classes and has picked up new hobbies, like drawing and cooking. Sarah’s time in quarantine has led her to appreciate the little things she previously took for granted.

LAUREN MCCAFFREY: What are some of the highlights of quarantine for you?

SARAH PARISIEN: So, this month was my 18th birthday, my fake prom and my fake graduation. My family’s 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 the day of my prom. And for my graduation, I got to watch it from my living room, and I had a really nice breakfast and everything made for me. So even though it’s different, I think in a way it’s made it more special just because we knew that we had each other.

LAUREN MCCAFFREY: What has quarantine life been like?

SARAH PARISIEN: Quarantine life has been interesting. I’m not used to being home all the time, not being too engaged with the outside world as much as I usually am able to. And it definitely has affected my mental health. But it has allowed me to get closer with my family. We spend a lot more time together, and it’s really allowed me to appreciate what life has to offer, while also being cognizant of those who are suffering right now. It has really humbled me, I think, to not think about myself all the time because there are people who are really hurting, really suffering due to this pandemic.

LAUREN MCCAFFREY: What is the first thing you’re gonna do when the shelter-in-place order is lifted?

SARAH PARISIEN: I’m going to definitely spend some time with my friends, donate my time to whoever is still suffering, like local businesses, just because they’ve really been hit due to the pandemic.

LAUREN MCCAFFREY: Have you learned anything from this time that you will carry with you?

SARAH PARISIEN: Yeah, to be cognizant of your surroundings and know that other people are hurting too. 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.

LAUREN MCCAFFREY: 38-year-old architect Jane Sloss 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. Once shelter-in-place orders are lifted, Sloss looks forward to returning to coffee shops, which are her favorite places to do work.

LAUREN MCCAFFREY: What has life in quarantine been like?

JANE SLOSS: In some ways, it’s been pretty similar to my normal life. My day job is as an architect, so I’ve been able to continue working full time remote(ly). 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.

We take a lot of walks, my husband and I, we cook a lot at home. And some things are the same. I do watercolor painting and sketching. I’ll continue to sketch at home and outside in socially distant locations.

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

JANE SLOSS: 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.

LAUREN MCCAFFREY: And then have you picked up on any new hobbies or activities?

JANE SLOSS: Not really. My sketching and painting is my primary hobby, and that’s certainly something that I’ve spent a lot of time doing during quarantine. I’m part of a local group in Chicago, which is a chapter of an international organization called Urban Sketchers, and that community has been really active during quarantine via social media. So it’s been really cool to connect with people that way. They’ve been doing different prompts each week. Everyone’s sketching to a certain prompt, and so it’s cool to see people posting from all over the world.

LAUREN MCCAFFREY: This is all for this episode of Everything Evanston. Thanks for listening. This episode was reported by me, Lauren McCaffrey, and produced by Maya Reter. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is Molly Lubbers, the digital managing editors are Kalen Luciano and Heena Srivastava, and the editor-in-chief is Marissa Martinez.

Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Twitter: @LaurenKMcCaf, @mayareter

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