ViewPoints was made for DJI to lend its voice in the fast-moving, digital world. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting all communities, we want to use this platform as a place of support in these difficult times. Now, more than ever, is a time for community. These series of posts will share how members of the DJI community are adapting to life while staying safe.
Maria Jung is the Product PR Manager at DJI in its New York Office. A California transplant, she lives alone and has been practicing social distance for six weeks. Maria shares how she’s been spending her time and making the best of the situation.
Currently, the streets of New York are empty and most stores are closed – some with wooden platforms completely boarding up the storefronts. The hospital near me has two large refrigerated trucks that house the dead bodies of COVID-19’s latest victims. There’s an unbelievable juxtaposition of reality separated by just a few hundred feet. At one end is a park, where parents, children, and dogs run carefree; at the other, makeshift morgues to lay fallen neighbors. A minimum of nine ambulances are parked by the hospital entrance each day without fail. There is a tent set up in the parking lot serving long lines of people waiting to get tested. At all hours of the day, sirens blare up and down the streets as ambulances race to take patients to the nearest hospital. It’s hard to believe that the city alone has lost almost 11.2 thousand to the virus as of April 23.
There’s no question that the people in our city are hurting right now. And the best way to help is to flatten the curve by staying home. The thought of having to refrain from seeing friends and enjoying the city seems impossible and un-New York. Without its hustle and bustle, crowded sidewalks, sardine-packed subway cars, and endless loud traffic, the city that never sleeps feels no different than any other city that does get its beauty sleep.
Six weeks into mandated quarantine and social distancing, I’m still having difficulty accepting the realities of COVID-19, where fearing physical and social interaction is the new normal. If there’s one thing that’s keeping me active, engaged, and full of hope, it’s my dog Boo. I brought her home on March 7, and we’ve since leaned on each other for support in many ways.
Me, Myself and Boo
I live alone in a 500 sq. ft studio in Brooklyn. Though I’ve never minded living alone, I’ve always hoped to get a dog to keep me company. While I flirted with the idea of adopting one for some time and even attended several adoption events, I never found The One. On Saturday, March 7, I went to an adoption event and instantly fell in love with Boo. She was rescued by an organization that saves dogs from the meat trade in South Korea. They cautioned that because of her background, she may need additional time to adjust to new surroundings and earn my trust. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, because starting that Monday, DJI encouraged us to work from home, and from there, shortly after, NYC went on lockdown.
Searching Out the Silver Linings in Quarantine Life
As the week progressed and more troubling updates made headlines, it became clear the quarantine would last longer than I anticipated. I needed to come up with a schedule that not only kept myself sane but also helped Boo adjust to a realistic schedule once I returned back to the office.
Before the quarantine, there was never a shortage of new places and things to do in New York. I was up by 5:45am to workout, back home before 8:00am and at work by 9:30am. After work, depending on the time of year, I’ll opt to walk home across the Manhattan Bridge instead of the subway. Since I live alone, most nights I’ll have plans with friends to take a new fitness class or to try a new restaurant.
Bringing Boo home during this time helped me transition into quarantine life easier. Being home has allowed me to adhere to a structured feeding and walking schedule, and has given me a lot of time to bond with her. My schedule now is waking up at 7:00am to try to exercise. By 8:00am, I’ve showered, fed Boo and on my way to take her on a morning walk. I’m back home by 9:00am and working until dinner time with snacking, walking Boo on her afternoon walk, snacking, eating lunch and snacking in between. I’ll end the night by taking Boo on her last walk of the day and then closing off with a movie, video game or a book.
Finding My Own Routine and Coping with Emotional Stress
Staying inside my studio apartment 90% of the day takes an exhausting toll on my and Boo’s mental well-being. When I imagined bringing home a dog, I thought I’d be taking her to dog parks, going on hikes and bringing her to outdoor summer festivities and eating at my favorite open patio restaurants. It is strongly recommended for us to stay indoors, so I needed to find our own routine for getting fresh air. When I’ve been in front of my computer screen too long, I get too exhausted for anything else. But even on those days, I prioritize walking Boo for at least 10 minutes at a time. I’m grateful she pushes me to leave my apartment. Once in a while, I’ll come across a person who deliberately takes an alternate route to maintain social distancing. But most times, I found that others emerge from their solitary confinement, eager to engage in conversation even if it’s six feet apart.
Boo’s Virtual Socialization Training — Meet the Family!
I’m extremely close with my family. And though we’ve been living apart for several years, in this time of uncertainty and fear, the miles seem even longer and farther away. I planned on bringing Boo to California with me for my mother’s 60th surprise birthday party in May. With that canceled, I’ve instead introduced Boo to her grandparents over video calls. My parents weren’t initially thrilled with the idea of a dog but saw the comfort, company and love Boo gave me and quickly fell in love. As did my friends over social media. Many friends began messaging me to tell me how a certain photo or video of her made them smile. I was happy she was spreading as much virtual joy as she is for me in reality.
I swore I wasn’t going to be one of those dog moms that made an instagram account for their pet, but by week three, I caved and made her an account. I wanted a place to be able to store and share (and maybe even show off) the memories I’ve been making with Boo. I’ve been using the Osmo Mobile 3 to hold my phone upright and the ActiveTrack feature to capture video footage to share with her “fans.”
Boo has been a beacon of hope on my dark days and I’m grateful she came into my life when I needed her the most – even if I didn’t know it at that time. There are days I’m filled with anxiety with the dangers of COVID-19 looming right outside my door but having Boo as an emotional and physical companion has helped me cope throughout this experience. I’m staying positive and looking forward to the days when we’ll be able to go back outside but until then, I’m grateful to have Boo by my side.