Plugging out to plug in
Gohar Ter-Hakobyan, Digital Communication Officer at International Committee of the Red Cross (Armenia), about searching of the new meanings in self-isolation and returning to her passion — photography.
It's been almost two months already that I have stepped out from the social realm, leaving home only four times for a short stroll. I regret about omitting this blooming spring and not meeting my parents, even at my mom's birthday. But I know that without conscious compromises and collective care we can't be successful in preventing COVID-19. And I also know that a deep crisis can turn out to be synonymous to a big catharsis. I hope everyone of us have more time to look inside even after these hard times.
I want to be honest and say that from the very first day that a state of emergency was declared to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Armenia and my organization asked us to start working from home, I was very happy. I have constantly been running for the last year of my life, never stopping to take a break and enjoy the moment, never having the time to stay alone with myself and my thoughts, my life decisions and think over the path that I'm pursuing. I believed that self-quarantine would become a good opportunity to do this. Of course, this joy was also conditioned by the fact that I am an introvert and more than anyone else in my surrounding I need a peace of mind and private space for self-reflection and contentment. So here we are — me and my husband, staying at our beautiful home, distancing ourselves but never isolating from friends and people we care about, never feeling loneliness or boredom.
— Knowing that it would be difficult to live through such an experience without discipline, I developed a routine, almost identical to my life outside. I continue waking up early and starting work at 9, then taking an hour break at my usual lunchtime. I decided that at 6.30 it's cut-off time, it's time I can listen to music or podcasts I like, go and make a delicious dinner for two of us, calls with friends, but not calls for business matters, because otherwise I'll never rest, and my mind will never rest. There was even a weekend I switched off my laptop and left it as it is for the whole day. It was so good for my body and mind not to keep thinking about it, especially that we spend so much time through the screen these days: I am working out through the screen, having facetime meetings, participating at online workshops, studying my online Master's degree. All this can be very exhausting.
How did self-isolation affect your daily life?
Probably the best thing about self-quarantine was calling back my passion for photography and spending more time with my camera. I started shooting a lot and pushing the boundaries of seeing new and beautiful things even in a small and familiar space. But most of all, I have been aspiring to depict the intimacy of the everyday, the simplicity, humbleness and dearness of all that surrounds me. Now I have more time to read and look through photography and art books that we have been collecting for our own library for years and learn from endless colour combinations, compositions and be constantly inspired.
How do the people you know adapt to the new conditions of life in Armenia?
— Many people that I know took the conditions imposed by the new realities seriously and follow the rules of social distancing by staying at home. Some are getting better with their meditation techniques and finding it as a good way to cope emotionally and mentally with the situation. For some, spending the whole day without breathing in fresh air, without meeting people and going to places represents near disaster. And some of them are trying to refocus on projects they left behind and building resilience by concentrating on the positive and not losing themselves in apathetic thoughts.
Statistics | COVID-19 in Armenia
est. April 24, 2020 (morning)
People infected
People died
People recovered