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I feel incredibly blessed

Emily's contribution to our Stay Home collecting project

I am living with my flatmate in East London. We live in a block of flats, but thankfully have access to a balcony, albeit not entirely private. We can at least sit out on it and socially distance from other residents.

There is just two of us and it is a two storey place, making it easier to get some privacy.

Take part in our Stay Home collecting project

Various paints and paintbrushes next to a small canvas
I am creative and have started painting and have ordered knitting needles!

In what ways has the coronavirus pandemic changed the way you use your home?

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that I use the private balcony everyday, whereas before, I wouldn't use it much at all.

Thankfully the weather so far this April has been glorious and really has eased the sombre moments of lockdown.

My bedroom is now also partly my gym. I kickbox at a gym, but since lockdown, I have started doing exercise classes with friends via FaceTime, which has been a lot of fun!

A person doing exercise using a can of baked beans as a weight
Me in my room before I was about to exercise with friends via a FaceTime call

How do you feel about your home? How have these feelings changed?

I now view my home as a place of safety. I feel incredibly blessed to live in a place which is fairly new, clean and quiet. People in our flat have created more of a community by offering help or support in the way of a Whatsapp group. We have also started a makeshift foodbank to help others.

How does staying at home affect your relationships?

As we all have to stay at home, I have not been able to see friends, family and my boyfriend. It has been tough, but I always remind myself that I should be so thankful that they are all safe and healthy and that I know I will be lucky enough to see them again soon.

There have been some special days that have passed, including my brother's 30th birthday – the party will be that much bigger when we are together again.

What do you appreciate most about your home? What do you find frustrating?

I appreciate that it is quiet. I can think and sleep without interruption. I have access to running water – hot and cold. I have a large enough room to exercise in – I am very lucky as I have lived in boxrooms in the past.

I feel frustrated at times when I can't just jump on a train to see my family, friends or boyfriend, but it won't last.

How has lockdown changed your habits or routines at home?

I have much more time to think about my diet. I now plan what I want to cook and have been much more creative and tried new things I have never done before.

I now run almost everyday and do some form of exercise – I haven't felt this fit in a long time. I now have more time to speak to friends – we now make time for calls.

I am creative and have started painting and have ordered knitting needles!

Slices of toast with avocado on a plate, next to a red mug
On our balcony during my breakfast

How is your sense of home affected by your neighbours or those living nearby?

My sense of home is affected positively currently by my neighbours. Although I don't know people well, I live in an area with lots of young people and get a sense that we are going through similar experiences because of that. The overall energy is positive and everyone seems to be looking ahead to the future.

A view of balconies at night in a complex of apartment buildings
Taken during Clap for our Carers

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