Hi Steph, Let’s chat about your life in the Melbourne Lockdown.
Q: What have been your biggest challenges to life in Melbourne lockdowns?
I think the biggest challenge to life in Melbourne Lockdown has been that there is not a lot of work around. The rules towards group gatherings, have left people without any opportunities to have family gatherings, parties, weddings, or celebrations. In Melbourne and even throughout Victoria to a lesser extent, we have bounced in and out of lockdowns so many times, many have already re-scheduled several times. The constant stop-start of the lockdowns has left many lacking the confidence to make these plans. Hopefully, we are now getting close to the required vaccination levels to be able to start re-opening and we can look forward to confidently setting dates for weddings and celebrations.
Then there is the confinement of being altogether so much when we are used to having our independent activities. It’s been nearly two years, this is long time out of all our lives, especially for a child. We have found our daily walks to be most valuable. They provide time to think and reflect.
Not having family around is another challenge. I would normally go back to France once a year, it has now been two years. My parents are getting older, both have health issues as well as having to face their lockdown challenges. There is only so much support we can offer each other over the phone. Thankfully, they have my brother and sister with their families, my sister is close by, but my brother is further away. Beside the family, I miss catching up with my friends in France.
Q: We have all had much time to reflect, re-set our lives priorities. Have your priorities in life changed?
I have realised to give myself greater priority. Of course, my daughter has always been foremost, but I learned without taking care of myself, even first, I can’t be all I need to be to others. I think the saying “that you must first love yourself before you can love others” has found meaning for me.
Before Covid, I was working from home with photo-shoots on the weekends. So, there was always plenty of time with my daughter. Aside from the loss of work and the lockdown rules we have been following, my life hasn’t changed. Apart from the fact that I desperately miss photography and the creativity it offers.
Q: You have a young daughter, how have you managed with home schooling?
I don’t want to be a teacher at home, though now I have learned to adapt, and am enjoying the time with her. Fortunately, she is young, so the lessons are not too challenging. I can help and explain, it is kind of rewarding in a way, but still takes much time.
Q: As an only child, how have you managed to keep her socially engaged?
She has always been good at self-entertaining, finding things to do. Of course, she misses going to school, the contact with her friends, but she has said she has enjoyed being home, spending the time with us. She says, “I’m happy”. She loves the outdoors; we have a big yard with a trampoline which she loves. Also a big vegetable garden, we’ve spent a lot of time tending to this. During Melbourne lockdown, we brought chickens into our yard. She loves to help taking care of them, feeding, collecting the eggs. Every night we play games together, there is always things happening.
Q: On a personal note, how have you managed to keep a personal community and stay engaged?
Yes, I have struggled with this, the lack of community. To be honest, I’m not crazy about Zoom. I’m not into the zoom type party scene. I haven’t spent much time talking on the phone and I haven’t missed it. I am a people person and love the face-to-face contact, so yes, I have missed this very much. Also, with my photography work, I was always engaging with new people, another aspect of my work which I miss dearly. I’m not a fan of social media, I tend to stay away. I feel that nothing noteworthy happens, so I haven’t even posted to Instagram.
Q: Have you discovered any new hobbies and your daughter, have you taken up new activities?
One thing from Melbourne lockdowns, I love to read. I have been going through many of my French books which I have had for a long time.
Then of course, our garden and chickens. We got the chickens during covid, so these have been a new interest for both of us. We also started a new project for her, taking photos. I gave her an old camera, she has been taking photos around, I haven’t needed to teach her, she is really good. She has started a cute little blog which her dad has helped her with, so she is learning about the writing as well as taking the photos.
I have always been interested in the planet but walking along Merri Creek and seeing all the plastics and pollution has driven me to become more interested and read up on what more we can do to help protect it for the generations to come.
Q: Despite the challenges of Melbourne lockdown, are there any fond memories?
Many walks along the river.
Caring for the chickens.
Probably the whole experience of time together.
Q: Finally, when we welcome our new freedoms, what are you most looking forward to?
Though this may take a while. For family or any in home photography, needing to go into people’s homes, it will likely be next year when we have enough vaccinations and we have learned our new covid normal.
Thank you, Steph.
I’m sure you and all who have lived through Melbourne lockdown and everyone throughout Australia who’ve also endured lockdowns are looking forward to the same.
By Nicola Hazzell