Image by Mai Ly Degnan (NPR)
Rush Monologues | COVID-19 Shorts
by Aditya Jhaveri (Emory University, C’21)
Introduction: The short ethnographic theater piece is based on interviews with three international students, exploring their experiences in response to the effects of COVID-19. Material is verbatim. Names are pseudonyms. Some information is omitted for anonymity. Produced for ANT/THEA 377W “Fieldwork into Performance,” taught by Prof. Debra Vidali in Spring 2020.
BW: I had to rush back home, pack up everything in two days and leave. It’s been one rollercoaster of a ride, but I guess it all worked out in the end. Moving and the plane ride was terrible. Turns out a person sitting three seats next to me tested positive for the virus, so I had to get tested too. Yea. I tested negative so it’s ok but like yeah that was a scare as well. The [omitted country name] government does this thing where they basically update a sheet every day where every single person in the last 14 days who has come into the country if they get tested positive they get their details on the on this page not personal details, but like seat number, flight number, date of arrival, time of arrival, and where they got tested and their travel history so basically you know where they were you know where they were going and you know if they were close to me. That person was sitting on 42A and I was sitting on 42D. So. Yea it is wild.
SA: I was forced to move out of the US and come back to [country omitted]. Moving was pretty stressful. So, at the time we were on spring break and I was in New Jersey and when I first heard about the coronavirus it wasn’t through, it wasn’t about Emory, I heard about Tufts closing down because I had a friend who goes to Tufts and he was telling me that it was closing down for the rest for the semester so I got worried that Emory was going to close down for the rest of the semester and then it did. So then, I had to change my flight and that was pretty tough, and I changed my flight that night to Emory and then left the night afterward. It was actually pretty lucky that I left when I did and arrived when I did because borders closed to all other countries two days after I arrived.
HP: Moving was tough. I am currently residing in [place omitted]. The main reason is remote learning is definitely a big factor considering that I will still be taking classes and I want my grades to be well and second which is also the most important which I have families who are older or have underlying illnesses both in Michigan and Virginia, so even if I go back to either places I will risk you know I might carry the virus or even get infected when I travel by air flight. Just bringing that potential risk really worries me. Last but not least I think having the freedom to do whatever I want without worrying about the potential impact on my families is also very important. Moving has been tough considering that I have 11 boxes myself and my roommate didn’t choose to go back so I had to pack his stuff, ship his stuff, and find storage for both of our items.
BW: I have been lifting the only thing is food into my mouth. You can quote me on that too. The only thing is, and I’ve been trying to, and my mom and dad have been pestering me to leave the house, but I am also a bit scared to do so.
SA: Because I wake up late, I have lunch first and then around 6pm or 5pm I have breakfast. I make my own eggs at 5pm and then I have dinner at 9. My whole eating schedule has changed as well. I need to get my 3 meals in.
HP: Humans tend to consume high caloric food when it comes to when we hear news that are naturally bad whether it is economic recession or pandemic or both in this case and it’s been true for me at the very beginning, and the reason for that is because we feel the need to store more energy and resources in our body. Interestingly enough this actually promotes long term healthier life like diet choices, which is interesting. That’s the excuse I used in the first two weeks of my quarantine. During spring break, when I heard this news, I ate high caloric food, very minimal exercise, and the result clearly, I gained weight. Lately, I’ve been trying to adjust because I realized the toll, I had to you know pay for just consuming high caloric food.
SA: It’s just funny that you see a lot of even if you take the 2008- 2009 market crash you see the people that get most affected was the middle-income to lower-income individuals right and I guess they’re still getting affected but no one is safe from this virus. It’s just interesting I think it calls for people to be more secure. No bias from race, no bias because of genders, no bias from income. Anyone can get it and it doesn’t matter where you are like hierarchy you are not safe from this virus.
HP: I’m more worried about my vision after this. During face to face meetings at least you looked at people. Now all you do is stare at a camera or a little green dot over there. You just have to force yourself to adjust to looking at camera and not at the person, because people will feel like you’re not looking at them. Good prep for video interviewing, but it sucks to begin so early.
by Aditya Jhaveri (Emory University, C’21)