Tess, Australia

During the pandemic, the hardest for me is not being able to have human interaction. I miss the accidental daily interaction, bumping into friends on the street, or seeing a familiar face at an event, going to work, and hanging out with workmates. This is how I usually stay connected with people and to my surroundings, very loose and organic. When the spontaneity is taken away, I feel like a fish out of water, very isolated. I have to purposefully arrange to meet up with people, and at times, it felt forced. and I would get frustrated by it.

Despite the challenges I've faced, what has happened also makes me start appreciating different ways I can experience music and art. Even after lookdown, I don’t feel the need to necessarily attend every gallery opening, lunch party, or gig to be inspired. I started to appreciate a more intimate setting for me to experience arts and culture.

For example, just me with my headphones sitting in my living room for hours listening to music. Or read about a review article of a film I just watched while lying under the sun in the backyard. This type of way to experience the work makes me feel closer to the subject matter.

I like how an intimate setting allows me to properly digest content I just consumed and I can have time to properly reflect on them. This experience turned any encounter with arts and cultural material from a passing event into something that will actually stay with me.

For those of us who are fortunate enough to have a place to stay comfortable during the lockdown. I really appreciate the opportunity that allows me to slow down and reassess my priorities in life.

I learned I’m actually more of an introvert than an extrovert. I realized I really enjoy spending time by myself. Pre covid I was always distracted by things and hardly have the time to have quality alone time.

Melbourne is pretty much out of lockdown now. But we probably still have a long way to go until we open up international borders. I really want to see my family, see my city Shanghai again, and also, of course, travel! I’m hungry for new cultural experiences.