Our staff photographer Olivia Reid is also learning to play the piano during her time at home. OLIVIA REID PHOTO

The Silver Lining In The Pandemic Cloud

Quarantine has given people both too much time and not enough. One second you’re sitting at home trying to pass the time, and the next you’re running out for more toilet paper before the lockdown tightens again. 

Many local residents have used the extended time spent at home to adopt new hobbies and learn new skills.

While we’ve all seen the videos and articles about making bread and learning to knit, two of the Community Edition’s staff writers have picked up their own skills during the pandemic. 

Amelia Mola-Schmidt, who is also the station manager for Radio Laurier, has been living with her dad since the start of the pandemic.

“Obviously there’s a bit of a clash when you move back home with your parents. It’s been really nice in many ways getting to spend time with family and, this is so cliche [to say] … but cherishing the little things,” Mola-Schmidt said.

During quarantine, Mola-Schmidt has been learning to speak Italian. Her mother’s parents are from Berlin, Germany and her father’s parents are from southern Italy.

“I grew up with European heritage and all the joys that come from a big Italian family … but none of us had the opportunity to learn a little bit of the language,” Mola-Schmidt said. 

Currently, Mola-Schmidt can speak to the family she lives with in Italian. She aims to be able to have a full conversation with her family members who live in Italy and do not speak English.

“I think you can put a lot of pressure on yourself when you’re learning a language … if you’re not getting things super quickly. So even just being able to put together: ‘my name is Amelia’ or ‘I like this’ and ‘I like that’ have really been rewarding moments for me.”

Like many locals during the pandemic, our other staff writer Erin Applebee found herself unemployed in May, when her contract at a local municipality ended. Luckily, four months later she found employment as a customer support associate, but Applebee has been living on her own throughout the pandemic.

“[Living alone has] probably been one of the most difficult things during a pandemic. Especially during the beginning where they really had those stay-at-home orders, where I couldn’t see my friends or my family or my close contact group,” Applebee said.

Applebee has been practicing yoga every day since about a month into her unemployment. She started with “Yoga With Adriene’s online 30 Day Yoga Journey” video classes but has transitioned to using other classes and mediums as well. 

“It really has been something to string my days together. Something to look forward to the next day, to find out what the next yoga video was going to be,” Applebee said. “And now I’m at 253 days straight.”

Applebee has no plans to end her daily yoga practice, however, she does have some milestones she would like to reach, for example, being able to do crow pose. 

She didn’t mean for it to turn into over 36 weeks of straight learning — initially she was just looking for something to help her connect with herself.

“I think for people to just take five minutes every day is really important, especially if they’re struggling with what is happening in the world,” Applebee said.

“I think that having any kind of habit that you are continuously doing is really beneficial. It has been for me, and I think you’ll probably find with other people that it’s a very similar experience — no matter what the hobby is.”

We will all be happy when the pandemic is over, but hopefully, we can learn some new skills or knowledge while we’re still isolating.