Dispatch: Paris

Coping with COVID.


From time to time, The Times will feature dispatches from Islanders around the globe. This week, Nicolas Ruderman writes again from Paris. Ruderman has spent his summers on East Chop since he was born (19 years now). He is Franco-American, and during the school year, lives in Paris. He is a second-year student at l’Ecole W, a media school. He is also a second-year student in acting at the Cours Florent.

We’ve already passed February. While vaccines are being progressively rolled out, the French government hesitates to implement a third lockdown. In the meantime, as I do my best to keep up with my online classes, I thought of a few simple things that help me (and which maybe can help others) stay optimistic:

I spend time with my dog, Jackson. On weekends, I take him to the park, one of the rare places where Parisians don’t have to wear a mask. Watching him enjoy running and rolling in the dirt makes me realize that life is made of simple pleasures. Jackson’s joyful wag is one of a kind.

I stay in touch with my friends and relatives. As we are no longer able to see one another in and outside school, my friends and I have our nightly calls, during which we talk about what’s going on with our lives. It’s our way of keeping a strong bond among us. I also realized that before the pandemic, I didn’t spend that much time reaching out to my aunts, uncles, and cousins who live abroad, in the U.S. and in Europe. Now we have weekly video reunions, which I look forward to.

I work out. Staying in physical shape contributes to my mental health. Gyms are closed? Not a problem; all I need is my exercise bands to perform early morning workouts. This helps me focus during the day, sleep better at night, and burn some extra calories. This is also an investment. I intend to rebuild my six-pack by summertime (wishful thinking) …

I explore new things. Not being able to travel doesn’t mean that you can’t discover new things. Thanks to technology and virtual reality, you can look at the Mona Lisa or walk through the Château de Versailles without ever leaving your living room. I personally also try to catch up on movie classics, which is essential to me as a student actor. I also have to confess that whenever I get “Island sick,” I watch “Jaws,” and it’s just like I’m back on the Chappaquiddick ferry or bridge jumping.

I keep a link with the community. Finally, writing dispatches for The Martha’s Vineyard Times is both a way to continue to connect with this beautiful Island and to entertain the closeness I feel to its community. As the vaccine allows us a glimpse of hope, I can now progressively imagine again a life without the pandemic. In the meantime, I hope that Islanders and other readers stay safe.

To be continued …