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JESSIA RIVERA, 23, London at Select

reflecting isolation


F WORD: How have you been dealing with the whole isolation thing?

JESSIA RIVERA: Secretly, I’ve been enjoying isolation. I’m super introverted so I love to be around my dog and my husband as much as possible. The current situation is sad, but they are my rocks and I’ve worked really hard to build the family and the home I have now. I know it must be hard for those who don’t live in a similar situation and my heart goes out to you all during this lonely time. I count my blessings every day.

F WORD: What have you been doing to occupy your time and mind?

JESSIA RIVERA: I moved house just before lockdown began, so I’ve been kept busy with renovating my room and other parts of the house. I managed to rip up the carpet in my bedroom and reveal a beautiful wooden floor underneath. It took me three days of sanding, pulling out staples and varnishing the floor until it was ready to move into. I’ve been out running with my dog almost every day, painting and creating ceramics in my spare time. We’ve all been building a bunch of furniture and I’m drawing up the plans to build a handmade desk from scratch for our music room/office. Lockdown has allowed me to focus on all the things I had planned for move-in, without any distractions or interference that would usually occur in my hectic lifestyle, so it’s sort of been perfect timing.

F WORD: How are you feeling about the COVID-19 pandemic?

JESSIA RIVERA: This pandemic is scary. It’s the sort of thing you would only ever think about in a ‘what-if’ scenario and for that reason, I feel like I’m living in a dream. I wake up every day having partially forgotten about COVID-19 and when I look out of my bedroom window to the empty streets of Columbia Road, I’m reminded of the apocalyptic state we are all now living in. It’s a strange and uncertain time. I think it’s important to stay busy and do your best not to freak out. Checking in on our mental health every day should be everyone's main goal; I’ve had my days where the anxiety has gotten too much but staying kind to myself, holding up some sort of routine and exercising every day has done me the world of good.

F WORD: What are your thoughts on how the government and the world are dealing with it?

JESSIA RIVERA: I think the government has enforced restrictions where and when it was necessary. For instance, there are countries like Sweden who are doing mostly nothing at all, where they have opted for the “herd immunity” strategy. I think in a country like the UK, where the population is so large, this would perhaps have been detrimental in the cases of deaths, so I am happy with the way things are going, despite my fears for the future of our economy. It has been the right thing to do.

F WORD: What would be your perfect soundtrack for this time?

JESSIA RIVERA: I’ve been guilt-listening to Dua Lipa’s new album, she has a track “Break My Heart” where she says “I would have stayed at home, cause I was doing better alone. But when you said hello, I knew that was the end of it all." It’s just like when I met my husband, I would have preferred to stay at home on the night I met him, but I didn’t. I find that pretty funny. So here we are and there you go. He’s yet to break my heart though. Stay at home.

F WORD: What do you miss the most due to lockdown?

JESSIA RIVERA: I miss going out to Hampstead Heath with my dog and having the freedom to roam and explore London, which is the reason why I live here in the first place. I’m looking forward to seeing how people's attitudes toward what they might have taken for granted pre-COVID and how they act differently in the aftermath. Summer is right around the corner and the freedom to once again to enjoy everything life has to offer.

F WORD: Can you suggest a movie/series/or book we should check out during isolation?

JESSIA RIVERA: I really enjoyed watching the BBC’s adaption of Jane Austen’s Emma and Pride and Prejudice. They’re super long episodes so I reckon you could get a couple of days worth of sitting in bed with snacks and watching nothing but. I can’t say this is particularly healthy advice but I also can’t say I’ve not done it before. Who doesn’t love a back-to-back Netflix marathon?

F WORD: A hopeful statement to encourage others:

JESSIA RIVERA: Now is the time to clean your apartment, watch every movie on your list or read all the books waiting on the shelf. Cuddle with your pet, bake the favourite pastry, have a cup of coffee. Enjoy the sound of rain on a gloomy day or get some tan when the sun comes out. Call a friend you haven’t heard from in a while and talk as long as you want. Workout, drink vitamins, offer help if possible and smile. Stay safe. Stay home.

F WORD: Favourite F-word:

JESSIA RIVERA: Future. Seems fitting.

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