This series illustrates COVID-19’s effect on Midwesterners — one person at a time.
“We had been planning to move from Bozeman, Montana to Portland, Oregon for maybe 2-3 months prior to all of this happening. We ended up moving on March 8th and at the time we had definitely heard of the Coronavirus but we had no idea how serious it was; as it was not a problem whatsoever where we were living.
“We had about three days of ‘normalcy’ when we first got here. I was applying to jobs and had gotten an offer from a company I was extremely excited to work for. My boyfriend was getting ready to transition into a new company here in Portland (he was working remotely for the time being for his Bozeman office). On about day four or five we went to the grocery store as we literally had no food or toiletries.
“When we got to the local grocery store, it was a complete panic. The shelves were completely empty, there were zero shopping carts available. So naturally, we started to panic a little bit as well. We went to Costco and my boyfriend wanted to stop by and pick up ammo as most stores around us were selling out. A couple days after that initial panic we witnessed, a stay-at-home order was issued and we’ve been quarantined in our house in a new city for the last 3 1/2 weeks.
“I was informed by the job I was interviewing with that they were unable to send a formal offer letter and that I would have to wait for all of this to end. My boyfriend ended up deciding to work remotely from his job in Bozeman rather than starting at a new company. Half the time, I’m not sure what to expect or what to even do with my days as I’ve had SO much anxiety about this entire situation.
“Fortunately, Sam and I are in a lot better situation than most. The home we’re renting is owned by Sam’s father. While we are still paying our full promised rent, we know if anything were to happen we would still have a roof over our head. And with Sam’s job we are able to afford the other necessities. But overall, it has proven time and time again to be the WORST and most difficult time to move states.
“I’ve learned that there were a lot of things such as my mental health, relationships (both with friends and family) and just my overall happiness that has been on the back burner for so long because I never had the ’time’ to do it before. Now that I am without a job and have plenty of free time, I’ve learned how important it is for me to work on and better these parts of myself and my life.
“Being far from Bozeman, which had been my home for the last two years, is a weird feeling. I’m pretty used to being long distance from my family as I moved out of state when I turned 18 and haven’t lived in Minnesota since. It’s hard, not really knowing the area I am in, but other than that it hasn’t put too much stress on me. The biggest perk of living here is although it isn’t my family, my entire boyfriend’s family lives here which has helped each of us in this time just knowing we aren’t completely alone.
“I have found so many things that I enjoy that I never thought I would have the time to get into. I’ve been working on propagating new succulents. I’ve been writing and reading. I found my flute (which I haven’t touched since 9th grade) and I’ve been reteaching myself. One way I spend my time is our woodworking business. This time off has really given me more creative freedom, which has been huge in helping me cope with my anxiety. I find for me personally, having a creative outlet really helps with anxiety and gloominess of this entire situation.
“I do not regret moving whatsoever. If we were still in Bozeman, I know I would have lost my job as all my old coworkers have been laid off. We would have been in a very difficult situation had we stayed in Montana. I’m extremely excited about being able to explore this state once the quarantine is over. But so far, I do not regret being here.