Yvonne, Austria

I think the lockdown in Europe began in March, I didn’t have an overall plan. I was waiting for something, I was waiting till the lockdown to be over, I was waiting for the pandemic to be over. Waiting didn’t help as time went by so slowly. That’s why I initiated to do things. I started to draw and I later also started doing videos that really helped me to keep my sanity. I'm kind of happy that I didn't look for a job but I started putting together my own ideas. It's the perfect time to reflect, and to gather your own thoughts.

I have a new perspective. I'm always the kind of person who has a lot of ideas but everything was just living in my head. I had a job, so I didn't have time to do this, or that. With COVID, I have absolutely zero excuse and tons of time. I have all the time in the world and also realised that, if you want something or want to do something, just start immediately. Obviously we're still here now but who knows what's going to happen. Things can change very drastically for everyone. If want to do something, visit a place or want to get up early, do it. Instead of just, thinking.

I was wearing a mask in February, I was maybe the only person on the street to wear a face mask, people start calling you things like "COVID!". I always shout something back. It's a very important time to stand up for ourselves I think. I speak German very well, so I was not afraid to pick on a fight. I want to teach him a lesson. In Berlin, because you're an Asian, it's not actually unusual to get attacked out of nowhere in rougher neighbourhoods. Because a lot of Asians, they either don't speak German so well, or they're scared and they'd just go away. They just keep on those racial attacks.

I've always stood up for myself ever since you were growing. When I walked on the street when I was younger, like 15 or 16, other kid would call me "ni hao", "konnichiwa". They were not being friendly. It's not like they're interested in my culture and wanted to talk to me. It's like they're mocking me or something. I always shouted back something.

As a little kid, I always loved teaching little kids a lesson. When they're 10 years old and they started behaving crazy, they'd continue if no one calls them out. Afterwards, they'd just become more respectful. My mom would be like, oh why are you so agressive? To me, it's not polite to shout something if i'm just walking passing you. I don't want to be bothered. I don't want to be cat-called, like "you're so hot". It's not a compliment to start with, when little kids or just anyone, passing me by saying "ni hao" or "konnichiwa", it's not out of respectful place. They're just trying to get a reaction from you.

I’m trying to move from Berlin back to Shanghai where I used to work and have a lot of friends. Because of the pandemic, I'm back in my home town, Vienna, which is very surreal to me. I basically left after graduating from college, I have never really lived here after school. I only lived in Shanghai for one and a half year but it felt way longer because I was working so much. The pace of living (in Shanghai) is very fast, so even though it was only just 24 hours, I was doing 10 times more stuff. In Berlin, I was having a very relaxed life. I had time to get coffee with friends every day. In Shanghai, maybe you could squeeze in a late night hotpot if you and your friends have your work. I was definitely living between two extremes, Berlin and Shanghai, they couldn't be more different.

There is a lot of demand for language learning and lifestyle video so I just made one and it was received quite well. I was like "Hear me speak 5 languages!" By putting myself out there, I received a lot of comments and feedback. It really motivated me to study and it sort of started from there. I was like may be I should do a make up video! Beauty guru - it’s kind of like everyone’s dream right now. In the 2010s, people wanted to be fashion bloggers. I think nowadays, everyone is really obsessed with beauty, skincare, especially when you're home with a lot of time for self-care.