Janine Brown. Oral History, July 24, 2021


Title (Dublin Core)

Janine Brown. Oral History, July 24, 2021

Description (Dublin Core)

In this two-part interview, Ashley Tibollo interviews Janine Brown on how her life was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the first part of the interview, Brown discusses how her last year of college was impacted and about her transition to remote teaching. She discusses her fears of the Delta variant, what sources she uses to get her information and what her feelings are regarding government action. She also discusses family life and how she was affected by the quarantine. She ends this part with her hopes for the future. In the second part of this interview, Brown discusses her decision to move in with her boyfriend right before quarantine and what it was life navigating a new relationship amidst a pandemic. She also discusses her pets and how their moods changed as her life changed. She discusses the difficulties of house hunting and the ways that the pandemic has affected the market.

Recording Date (Dublin Core)

Creator (Dublin Core)

Contributor (Dublin Core)

Type (Dublin Core)


Controlled Vocabulary (Dublin Core)

Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)

Contributor's Tags (a true folksonomy) (Friend of a Friend)

Collection (Dublin Core)

Date Submitted (Dublin Core)


Date Modified (Dublin Core)


Date Created (Dublin Core)


Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Ashley Tibollo

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Janine Brown

Location (Omeka Classic)

New York
United States of America

Format (Dublin Core)


Language (Dublin Core)


Duration (Omeka Classic)


Transcription (Omeka Classic)

Ashley Tibollo 00:00
We are recording. My name is Ashley Tibollo, it is July 24 2021. Is it is 7:20pm and I am here with Janine Brown. We are at Sweet and Jenny's ice cream shop in Williamsville. New York. So, if you could just get, well first I need to tell you that any answers that you give during this interview will be included in a publicly accessible database. Is that okay with you?

Janine Brown 00:35

Ashley Tibollo 00:36
consent, okay. Okay, so first, can you state your full name? and say what are the primary things you do on a day to day basis are like your job, extracurricular activities, etc.

Janine Brown 00:50
My name is Janine Brown, and I am a full time graduate student with the University of Buffalo researching or not guess researching, but studying music education. And then I also part time, teach martial arts in Williamsville, with Master Catchings Martial Arts Academy.

Ashley Tibollo 01:11
And you had another job during the pandemic, correct?

Janine Brown 01:15
Yeah, I worked at Our Lady of BlackRock, in Buffalo, New York.

Ashley Tibollo 01:20
And what did you do there?

Janine Brown 01:23
I was the music and art teacher, but I also taught religion for eighth grade. I mean, the primary duties with the whole pandemic thing was we had to, like do temperature checks in the morning, and, like, give out hand sanitizer, we had to walk the students from their classrooms to lunch, and then back. And then we also like, instead of having a music and art room that students went to, I just went to each of the different classrooms whenever their class times.

Ashley Tibollo 01:58
So unlike a lot of people, you are in person, right? Most of the pandemic?

Janine Brown 02:03
Right, we had a couple of breaks, one, I believe in November, and then the other in February, where we had to all quarantine for a few weeks. But other than that we were in person for pretty much the whole time.

Ashley Tibollo 02:21
And during those breaks, were you off of school, or were you teaching remotely?

Janine Brown 02:25
I was teaching remotely for the whole time.

Ashley Tibollo 02:30
And what was that like for you?

Janine Brown 02:32
Oh, that was not fun. (laughing) I, I did not enjoy that. It's hard to do. art and music over zoom, mostly because I cannot get the supplies to the students. And because our students, our student body doesn't always have access to a bunch of different art supplies that we would normally use in school, I pretty much just had to have them do pencil and paper stuff. Because not everybody had markers. Not everybody had oil pastels, or paints, or anything that you would normally use. And also for the music side, not everybody has instruments or even like working headphones or working speakers to like play music on. So it was very much “how do i do my job?” And one don't like it was starting over pretty much like how, how do I teach this way when I was taught to teach all of these other ways.

Ashley Tibollo 03:37
And when you were in the classroom, what, what was it like during the day dealing with teaching and dealing with a pandemic at the same time.

Janine Brown 03:49
I mean, it was stressful. There's always the risk factor. When you're in person, there's always you go room to room. So if you're in one room, like say I'm in second grade, and somebody is mask comes off, or somebody is coughing, and then that same day, I have to then move my person to a different classroom with a different grade. It was stressful in that I didn't want to be like a transfer agent for a deadly disease. So that was always in the back of my mind. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't doing anything that would harm the students or the other teachers, the faculty. So it was just a lot of hand sanitizer, and hoping for the best. But yeah, teaching during the pandemic, even though in person was better than remote learning was still extremely stressful because a bunch of responsibilities were put on pretty much everybody that weren't there before and it just became overwhelming.

Ashley Tibollo 05:06
Let's back up a little bit. And just talk about the beginning of the pandemic. So when you first learned about COVID-19, what were your thoughts about it?

Janine Brown 05:21
Um, it started my senior year of college when I was doing my bachelor's in music performance. And it was at the tail end of the year, spring semester, all of a sudden, we hear about a virus that broke out. And at first, I didn't think much of it, because why would I really just like, Oh, you know, something's happening somewhere else. And then, all of a sudden, the state ordered all of the colleges to be shut down. And suddenly all of my classes, I think my teachers had like, a couple of weeks to figure out. I think they had spring break, actually, they had one week to figure out what what are we going to do for finals for exams. For me, because I was a performance major, I had a recital, like the date booked the rehearsal set, I had everybody I needed, every everything I needed in Lyons, and then all of a sudden, we can't do recitals in the recital hall because nobody's allowed in there. So it, they weren't sure, like if I was allowed to graduate, because I wasn't doing the recital that everybody would normally have to do in order to graduate. They ended up making it so I had to just submit a video of myself playing alone, which was a little bit. I don't want to say depressing, because that's an extreme word, but it definitely was not the experience that I was hoping for.

Ashley Tibollo 06:51
So maybe disappointing?

Janine Brown 06:53
Yeah, absolutely disappointing. Because, again, I had no my recital dress, I had my feet like I had my family coming, I had the date the paperwork, accompanies everything. And I, I worked really hard. I worked really hard to make sure I was ready to perform. And then they're like, Oh, just submit a video. So I ended up having to just do it, like, in my basement, you know, and that's not ideal.

Ashley Tibollo 07:20
And in the interest of full disclosure, Janine and I are best friends, so I know how hard she worked for it. And I was very disappointed that I didn't get to see your recital. I was looking forward to that. And we even went shopping for the dress together.

Janine Brown 07:40
Yea, got it on discount $7 (Woohoo) but it was beautiful. I still have it. Maybe someday I'll do it like an informal recital.

Ashley Tibollo 07:48
Yeah. And I'll wear the jumper that I was supposed to wear for martial arts banquet.

Janine Brown 07:54
Yeah. Yeah

Ashley Tibollo 07:55
That will be great.

Janine Brown 07:57
But I guess to finish the question, so that was going on, everything was canceled. And then I actually had during spring break, when everything started closing down, I was actually in Florida, visiting my sister. And we were very worried that the airport was shut down before we could get back. They didn't, which was good. But it was just another layer of I was getting these school emails telling us like, how things might work. Like while I was in a different state, and like, everything was shutting down. We're like, what, like, what's gonna happen? Like, are we gonna be stuck here for a while? How long is this gonna last? So yeah, that's pretty much what was going on.

Ashley Tibollo 08:35
And how have your thoughts changed since then? Now that sort of, hopefully the other side, although the Delta variant is coming.

Janine Brown 08:48
So my thoughts on what exactly?

Ashley Tibollo 08:52
How have your thoughts changed about the pandemic, since you first heard about it?

Janine Brown 08:56

Ashley Tibollo 08:56
you know, having sort of lived through a year and a half of it?

Janine Brown 09:03
Well, it definitely opened my eyes a little bit to the state of the country and the world in a way. In a way, I'm a little bit more disappointed in humanity. But there's, there's been some good things, especially in my line of work, teachers were needed. And I was able to get work very quickly. When I was working at Buffalo string works, which was actually part of when I was remote teaching, I had to do some remote teaching. When the pandemic started for buffalo string works before I went to Our Lady of BlackRock. So I sort of like I knew the apps and stuff that we had to use, like I was familiar with how that would work. So it wasn't as terrible of a transition. But yeah, it definitely opened my eyes to the things that could happen. And I don't know, if it's all negative, I don't think it's all negative. But it definitely is not all positive. (laughing) I sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel like it's there. And I'm just waiting for it to get a little bit closer. Yeah, my grandmother ended up with COVID, twice in a nursing home. And she eventually passed away. For reasons not completely unrelated, but it definitely took a toll on her overall health, which let the other things you know, get to her more than they probably would have if she wasn't sick twice.

Ashley Tibollo 10:44

Janine Brown 10:47
So it's been it's just it's been stressful. I'm still stressed. Even though I've had a couple of like in person classes that up. It's very much like we're not out of the woods yet. Things are getting more relaxed. And that's exciting. It's exciting to be vaccinated and to go to Wegmans for shopping every week without having the need to, oh, I need to sanitize after I touch anything. I need to have my mask on. Like, do I have this? Do I have that? Now it's just like, Oh, I can I can go to the store. And that's great. Like, I love that. I love Taekwondo. Even though I don't agree that the adults aren't mandated to wear masks, if they're vaccinated anymore, I still think that it's a step in the right direction. We're still doing like cleaning the floors, cleaning the myths, cleaning the chairs, but we're not as it's not so much as Oh, no one person walks through, we have to clean everything now. It's more of Okay, after each class, we do some cleaning. And it's it's more relaxed.

Ashley Tibollo 11:53
I may be asking you to predict the future a little bit here. But do you think that's going to continue? Or do you have fears that that's going to change again with this delta variance.

Janine Brown 12:05
So what I've read so far, about the studies involving the Delta variant is that those with Pfizer or maternal vaccines are still at 8% protected against it. And I believe all of them are not immune, but they're not. They're not likely to be seriously ill, even if they do show symptoms. So that makes me a little bit more relaxed about it, even though it is still a very real concern. I would be worried if things shut down again, that there would be worse outcomes, which is crazy to say, How can there be a worse outcome than hundreds of thousands of people dying in a pandemic. But, surprise, surprise, humanity is a wonder in and of itself. So I would be worried if there were another lockdown, like, like how there was last year. So that's a concern is that we're going to find a need to shut things down and people aren't going to like it. The other concern, again, is people who choose not to vaccinate just because they don't want their freedoms infringed. upon which I understand that everybody has to make their own decisions. But when it involves other people, I think that needs to take a little bit more consideration into that. Because again, if they do get infected, then they are essentially a breeding ground for maybe a worse variance. Even though we're protected for the most part against the Delta Varian being fully vaccinated, who's to say there won't be a different variant that is much worse, and possibly even resistant to the things that we use, right now to combat it. So that's a concern. That's a big concern. And unfortunately, it relies on, I guess, evolution, hopefully, it just won't happen. That would be great.

Ashley Tibollo 14:12

Janine Brown 14:13
Because viruses can't choose to mutate. They just sort of it just sort of happens. And it also relies on other people, you know, being generally good, which I have more hope for the evolution thing. (laughter) I feel like it's just maybe, maybe the chances are it'll just sort of fizzle out. That would be great. I'd rather rely on that. But like you say it's a coin toss either way. So…

Ashley Tibollo 14:42
You mentioned that you're you know, you're getting some information through like research that you've been doing and other people's research. So what Where are you getting that from? Like what of your primary sources of that news and info One nation that in during the pandemic,

Janine Brown 15:02
pretty much just everything the CDC says a lot of their stuff like as they figure things out, they post articles, I read the articles, and then I make decisions for myself based on what that is. So when they said at first, like it would be helpful to wear a certain type of mask, as opposed to like a different type, then I listened to it, because I think that they, they've studied, they've spent their lives dedicated to this exact thing. And I, I'd rather trust them. So help me make those decisions. So it's pretty much been the CDC. Honestly, I don't trust a lot of like blog posts or anything I don't, I don't just like, like, if I google something, I do my research and make sure that what I'm clicking on is not just somebody in their basement typing up what they feel that day. I like reputable sources. And if I can get them, that's great. And if they say that they don't know, fully what's going on, I also take that into consideration because not not everybody can know everything.

Ashley Tibollo 16:16
Do you consider mainstream media to be I'm talking sources, like the New York Times, or MSNBC or Fox News, or any of those sort of on TV sources are for broadly read newspaper sources to be reliable.

Janine Brown 16:37
I think they do a good job short handing the research, sometimes I I've ran into situations where it seems like they didn't quite capture the essence of the article that they're quoting. Or that they make mistakes in what they imply. I don't trust them. implicitly, I don't like if I if I were to read an article, or if I were to see like a news story on TV. I wouldn't take that as fact, because news articles, like like that, they're mainly to get views. And especially now when everything is so polarized, they want the most discussion about their particular form of media distribution, like they don't want. It's not just Here are the facts. Here's what we learned. It's always something sensational about something to draw people's attention and get them to click on the links and get them to tune into their channel. So I don't trust the ulterior motives for them. And I think they have a lot to gain by misrepresenting certain sources. So no, if I were to read something or see something from one of those sources, I would double check it with a place more reputable.

Ashley Tibollo 18:00
And do you have any thoughts about how local state and or federal leaders have been responding to the pandemic?

Janine Brown 18:12
Um, well, it started out. Okay. I mean, again, going back to my senior year of college, when the universities were like, sort of, like, well, we don't know if we're gonna shut down like nothing is nothing is certain yet. And then Governor Cuomo was like, No, we're shutting down now. So they were just like, oh, shutting down now. Which, you know, made people figure it out really quick. I think that it wasn't super effective in the beginning, because nothing was wide, like nothing had a widespread This is what we are going to do. There was no uniform solution, or uniform practice. It was mostly just county by county, pretty much all over the country. What do you feel like doing to try to help? And some places said nothing, we don't need to do anything. And some places said, let's start locking things down. But then like, they didn't actually enforce that. So nothing got solved and it just made the lockdowns be longer, which in turn fueled the fire of people not wanting the lockdowns anymore because they don't work when in reality, it's not the lockdowns that didn't work. It's the fact that they were not enforced properly. Because people are still going out there still gathering they're still doing all the things they did for under the guise of a lockdown when there was no lockdown. And I'll stand by that because I've seen too many parties too many people doing things to say that there was ever a real lockdown where we are right now. So I think that it could have been handled more uniformly. I think it could have been handled more aggressively. Honestly in a way even if People would have been upset this, this is something that could have been over in a month, a month or two. And instead, it's a year and a half later. And we're still talking about the same things we were talking about a year and a half ago. So, yeah, I don't think it was handled great by anybody that may be New Zealand, because they did pretty good for a while. I think it could have been done better. I think people were too afraid of making other people mad, and making them upset when they ended up just making that worse in the long run. And they also lost the trust of pretty much everybody on either side by doing that. So yeah.

Ashley Tibollo 20:42
How did you handle the quarantine orders in self isolation?

Janine Brown 20:50
I followed them pretty strictly I was. So my mom's nurse, she does home care. And towards the beginning months of the pandemic, she was actually tasked with going into patients houses who were diagnosed with COVID. So she was going in there, like, you know, herself, and she had her her protective gear and everything. But I remember, she did not tell me that she was doing that until after it was done. And then there was always the concern of what what happens if you accidentally brought something cool. And now we are here. So we had the quarantine, then we quarantine for a little bit after coming back from Florida. It was just like wearing masks everywhere. I still have my hand sanitizer and in my bag that I carry with me everywhere I go. And if I touch doors, or tables or chairs, I use it. Even though I'm fully vaccinated, and I don't have to wear a mask or Taekwondo, I still do every class. The only time I take it off is if I'm in the office with nobody else in there. So I think I follow them pretty, pretty religiously, for lack of a better word. Was I perfect? No, I still went to stores because Surprise, surprise, I am a human that I need. And I can't I can't just get things delivered. At least I don't know how to do that. But so like, yeah, I took it fairly seriously. My whole family did a pretty good job, I think, especially towards the beginning of taking it very seriously. And just making sure that we did what we were supposed to do. So if anything happened, we knew at least we did the best that we could do. And if something happens, it happens. Sure. It could it could. But I I knew that I couldn't do anything more other than lock myself away for everything.

Janine Brown 22:59
So yeah.

Ashley Tibollo 23:01
And has COVID-19 in the quarantine and lockdown is, is any of that changed your relationship with family or friends or community? And if so, in what ways?

Janine Brown 23:14
Yeah. Yeah. Like I said, I learned a lot about people. I learned a lot more than I wanted to about people. My political views do not align with that with those of my parents. So there was a lot of clashing going on. And it was hard. It's very tense a lot of the time. Because, and again, like I said, my family did a pretty good job at self isolating and doing what what we're supposed to do. But that doesn't mean that they liked it. So every day I had to hear about how how stupid the masks are, how they wish they'd have to wear them anymore, how they don't think the virus is that bad. And that will probably be fine because we're healthy. And it's like okay, but it's not about us. You know, so that was a really big divider. And of course, politics got dragged into it. We are on I don't think we're on opposite ends of the political spectrum. But we are pretty close.

Janine Brown 24:20
So I had to hear a lot about, you know, our former president of the United States and how he said that it's not that big of a deal. So we should relax. When I knew that to not be true, based on what I have seen. So yeah, it was tense. It was not my favorite.

Ashley Tibollo 24:49
Did your grandmother's multiple battles with COVID-19 affects your family's views on it at all or not so much?

Janine Brown 24:56
If anything, it made it worse. In part because our family was not allowed into the nursing home. It's a secret. We were not allowed to visit. I think we got weekly video calls with her, where sometimes she would just be sleeping. So they said, Oh, we can't do it. And that was really hard, because her health was declining. Like I said she had to COVID twice. And the nursing home staff are the people who gave it to her. Because they're the ones they brought it into the nursing home. So they said, we're not allowed to visit her, because we might bring in COVID. But they are already bringing in COVID. So it's like, why are you keeping us out when you are already doing the things that you don't want us to? And it made things worse in that regard? Because it's like, well,

Ashley Tibollo 25:52

Janine Brown 25:53
Why can't we see our relatives? And I understand that pain very much because she was my relative to.

Ashley Tibollo 26:00
Yeah, that must have been difficult.

Janine Brown 26:02
Yeah, it was, it wasn't great. Like I said, stressful year. But I think everybody has their own version of that story. where, you know, somebody, pretty much everybody I know, know, somebody who caught it, who was okay, who caught it, and then was not okay. So it did make it a little bit worse in that regard, because it just was a bunch of pent up frustration over, we have to follow all these rules, we have to do so much, because you said so but then your own staff doesn't apparently have to do those things. And she wasn't being taken care of the best of her ability, there is going to be a lawsuit about it. I'm not going to get into that now. But the way that it was handled was not great. And it just exacerbated the issues that were there at the beginning. Because it started out with being

Janine Brown 27:00
Oh, it sounds so bad. We'll isolate we'll get masks will sanitize and everything will be okay. To now we cannot see our family who is dying? Because you are killing her. Like that. That's what happens in their support. Like they did not take care of her properly. And so I think it just I think everybody just snapped a little bit.

Ashley Tibollo 27:27
So to be clear, the the problems. I mean, there obviously are problems with your grandmother related to COVID-19. But as though the lawsuit isn't necessarily that she got into COVID-19, but how she was treated, leading up right or during that time,

Janine Brown 27:45
right. So the lawsuit itself isn't about COVID-19. Because again, things happen. It's a very slippery virus that you know, it's contagious. It gets around very quickly. So at least me personally, and I can't speak for anybody else in my family. But I can't blame one, one or multiple people in the nursing home who might have accidentally brought it in. Because I don't know what happened for that to happen. It could have just been they didn't. I don't want to say they didn't sanitize maybe I don't know. But somehow it got in. I don't know how it happened. So it just is what it is the lawsuits more about the time that she was there. She was neglected to the points that she required extensive hospitalization, because of health problems that arose because they were not taking care of her anymore. Like she had a bed sore on her back that went all the way serve her bone. Because they they didn't do anything. And she was in so much pain and they left her there. So it's not all about COVID-19. It's just like, honestly, a small piece of the puzzle of the they weren't doing everything they should have been doing.

Ashley Tibollo 29:07
I'm sure it exacerbated the whole situation.

Janine Brown 29:10
The pull Yeah, definitely would have made her health, not up to where it could have been. You know, if she wasn't fighting it off twice, then her immune system could have been doing something else instead of being occupied. Right. But yeah, that's, that's the big thing.

Ashley Tibollo 29:30
I'm sorry that you had that experience and lost your grandmother ultimately. My final question is for you is knowing what you know now, what do you think that individuals communities or governments need to keep in mind for the future?

Janine Brown 29:51
I think they just know that they're not going to please everybody. Like, no matter what decision they make, somebody is going to be upset about something Whether it's because they just don't like the person in charge, like dummies don't like them, they don't agree with them, or because there are legitimate reasons, no matter what calls are made, somebody is going to be upset. And they need to know that that's okay. It's okay, if people are upset for a little bit if it means that the whole is protected. Because I mean, politics is a popularity contest. And everybody's so concerned about their image that they're putting, you know, regular people's lives on the line. Like we talked a little bit about the former president. And he made his stances on the whole thing very clear, but he was one of the first people to get the vaccine came out. So it's very much the case of no matter what you do, somebody is going to be upset. So you need to just make a call stick to it. If it's the wrong one. It's the wrong one, you know, and that's, that's a price that you pay. It's one of the risk factors of being in charge. But I think people just need to understand that it's not all about it's not all about you. It's about everybody else. Which is what I think they could learn to my family, I think they could learn that. Again, it's not all about you. Just because you would be fine if you were sick, or because I would be fine if I was sick doesn't mean that our neighbor who is elderly is going to be fine. If she gets like, it's, I think it just is so selfish. So many people are so selfish, and I didn't realize how selfish they weren't until this happened. And it's like, oh, I don't want to be around you anymore. So I think that that's something everybody can learn. Everybody can take away is. You just have to you have to be there for people you don't know. You have to be willing to, to inconvenience yourself. If it means literally saving somebody else from going through that even if they don't die, even if they just get sick. Why do you want that to go through that? Like there's there's no reason for it. If all I have to do is wear a mask. I trained for hours at a time in a mask, and I was fine. Is it harder to breathe? Absolutely. But I was fine doing it. And I'll do it for as long as I have to if it means that I don't get anybody else sick. So that's, I don't know. Like I said humanity's not at like its peak right now. It's like a little bit. A little bit torn up.

Ashley Tibollo 32:46
Well, I thought that was a fantastic answer. I wish everyone could hear that message. Hopefully they will through this archive. Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to the archive. It is greatly appreciated.

Janine Brown 33:09
No problem.

Ashley Tibollo 00:01
Hey, this is Ashley Tibollo, it is July 26 2021. It is 9am. I am back with Janine Brown to continue our previous interview. Janine, is it okay, that this portion of the interview will also be included publicly in the archive?

Janine Brown 00:25

Ashley Tibollo 00:28
Okay, so we didn't get to finish all the questions we had hoped to get through last time. So we will just add this to the previous portion of your interview from July 24. And my first question is, were there, I guess, what was the biggest change for you during the pandemic?

Janine Brown 00:52
I think there were a lot of bigger changes. But definitely the biggest one is that I made the decision to move in with my boyfriend at the time.

Ashley Tibollo 01:03
Oh, that's very exciting. Did the pandemic sort of have anything to do with that?

Janine Brown 01:09
Pretty much everything to do with it. We had started dating in December of 2019. So we were still, you know, a very new relationship when the pandemic started. And we were both going through, you know, a hard time with it. And we couldn't see each other as much. And we figured it was either don't ever see each other with all the lock downs, or, you know, I'll take a chance and move in together. So we decided to try that out. And it worked great. We got along completely fine. And it's still there. So I guess it worked out.

Ashley Tibollo 01:52
Well, that's good. And so how do you feel that decision helped helped you during the pandemic?

Janine Brown 02:03
I mean, it definitely helped my mental health. It was nice to just have, you know, somebody there who I could talk to who we and we could like, no change ideas, figure out what's going on in the world. And, you know, we can just learn more about each other, it was a good distraction, I think from all of the negative that was happening. Because like I said, we were able to talk to each other about, like our respective views and stuff. But we were also able to bond over our, our shared hobbies and things like that, we were able to spend a lot of time together and get to know each other pretty well. In a short amount of time, because no, we were both not working at a time because everything was shut down. So we were just sort of always together. And I think that helped a lot to just sort of work through all of the negative things, but also to provide like that sort of positive distraction in there of like, we have things to do we have projects we can work on together, then so yeah, it was a it was a very nice, very nice change.

Ashley Tibollo 03:15
And how do you think your experience during a pandemic would have been different had you not decided to make that big change?

Janine Brown 03:27
That it would have been very hard, I think it would have been hard for me to find enjoyment in the day to day just because I you know, with lock downs, I couldn't really go anywhere. I couldn't really see anybody. So it was very lonely. Like I mentioned in the previous interview, like me, my parents are, you know, I love them, they're my family, but we don't have the same views on certain things. Which would have just made it a very tense situation for I mean, probably everybody but probably mostly me because you know, I'm, I'm the outlier. So I would have just felt very isolated, even being home with more than with more people, it still would have been a very isolating experience. So I definitely think it was the the best move I could have made for like my mental health. Honestly, my physical health too, because we did workouts together, we went on walks. I came up with my own workout routines that I did with my best friend, we challenged each other and it just became such a positive thing to just be in a new environment for me have other things to think about. And it just it honestly just gave me so much perspective on on like the real world I guess because instead of being locked in You know, instead of being locked in one box, I was technically locked in a different box. But it was, it was doing things that were new and interesting. And I was able to, like, expand my horizons a lot.

Ashley Tibollo 05:12
I'm glad it worked out so well for you. Um, did anyone like caution you against it?

Janine Brown 05:19
I mean, I cautioned me against it. Because I, surprisingly, my parents were not super vocal about it. I don't think that they like approved necessarily, but they they didn't tell me, this is a terrible idea. You shouldn't be doing it. They were fairly supportive in that, you know, they let me go they they said I could always, you know, come back or call them if there was anything that happened.

Janine Brown 05:53
So, like I said, they were very supportive. It was mostly me cautioning myself, because, you know, it's still a very new relationship. It was, we were four months in when the lockdowns really started cracking down. And, you know, that's is objectively very early to think about moving in with somebody. But I figured, if, because, I mean, our goal was a long term thing. So I figured I might as well figure out now if we're compatible, in in that respect of like, living together and actually sharing a space and a life. So I figured, even though it's early, it'll tell me right away, like, is this something that, that we could pursue that that you know, will grow into something much, much more, or, you know, if we had some really severe incompatibilities in different areas, then I would no early without, you know, spending years, and then moving in, and then, you know, finding out that there's an irreconcilable issue. But like I said, everything, just sort of like, I don't know, he was great, everything worked out great. And we get along, we don't really fight. And if we do have disagreements there, they don't last very long. It was a process of learning to communicate things because I am, how I would call emotionally unintelligent. I'm not good at figuring out why I'm feeling a certain way, because something will happen. And then you know, I'll be sad about it or upset about it. But I won't always know why I feel that way. Or why I feel so much that way. And it takes me a while to sort of like, do some introspection, deconstruct, like, Okay, I'm feeling sad about whatever issue what about that issue is making me feel sad. And just sort of figuring out how I can, you know, move on from it and grow from it. So that was a lot of what I was doing towards the start of the lockdown when I moved in on was how, how can I emotionally grow and figure out that whole thing, which is still a process, I think I'm thinking I'm better at it, which is good. I don't think I'm good at it yet. But he, he's done a great job of helping me work through it, talking with me about things, and just making it not like not super stressful. We there's I don't feel a pressure. Like I don't feel like I have to, you know, like something happens that I'm upset, I don't feel like I have to figure this out right now. Or he's gonna be mad, or something. He's very understanding about, you know, I'm working on stuff, working on my own things. He's working on his own things. And it's just, you know, a very peaceful thing, even if I don't feel at peace at the time, like even if I'm upset. It's a very much just communication thing. I can just communicate and I don't feel bad doing that. I don't feel rushed. They don't feel pressured. It's just very pleasant.

Ashley Tibollo 09:19
Oh, that sounds really wonderful. I'm very happy for you that you found that in the midst of a terrible pandemic. And I know you've mentioned outside of the interview that things have gone so well that you are house hunting. How has that process been during a pandemic?

Janine Brown 09:45
Oh, the market is not agreeable right now. Yeah, we we started seriously looking at houses. Not too long ago. I don't remember exactly when but his mom had sent him a text with listing from Zillow on it for us to checkout. And so we looked at it and stuff and we're like, oh, well, the app was open, we ended up Oh, well, what's around there. And we started looking at all the different places. And then we were like, I don't know how it happened exactly. But it turned into like a casual search to like, this is something that we could do. Like, this is something that is possible for us to do. I think that we decided that the market isn't great right now. So we're gonna, we're gonna wait to buy one. But we've looked at many houses together, we figured out what we want, what we don't want. What are things that like are essentials, and what are just wants that we can live without, we even decided that we're going to get when we do when the market comes down a starter home, so that it doesn't have to have everything that we want in it. But it's a it's an upgrade from where we are right now. And it will give us space to do what we'd like for however long, and then we'll eventually buy some land and end up building, whatever forever home that we want. Because then we can, we can decide what it looks like and what we want, where and how the rooms will be set up and the floor layout plan. All of that will be up to us, which is probably the best way to handle like a forever home because I don't think we're going to find like something that is perfect for what we're going for. And we don't want to just sort of be like constantly looking for that one house that will be perfect, because that's not really ideal either. So that's gonna take a long time. Yeah. So we figure we'll, we'll pick one that is good that we like a lot that will provide everything that that we want to do for right now. But then the goal is for both of us eventually to just to build our own and to, you know, get some land and make that happen.

Ashley Tibollo 12:06
And you mentioned that you're seeing problems, or Well, there's problems in the market for buyers, what what are you encountering? What's the market looking like?

Janine Brown 12:19
Oh, it is extremely expensive, when compared to previous years. We know that like houses really like if you want even like two bathrooms. But houses are at least like 161 70, even if it's like a smaller house. So the the value of the houses are sort of like at a peak right now I feel. And when we looked at like previous years of like, what have they sold for, and even some of our relatives who have bought houses a couple years ago, and what those same houses are worth today. It's kind of staggering, because I mean, his brother bought a house a couple years ago for I don't remember the exact number, but for however many dollars and when we looked at it a couple weeks ago on like what it would be worth in this market, it was pretty much like double the price, like if he wanted Oh, that is insane. So I really feel like it's just not a good time like that was really the nail in the coffin like this is not a good time to buy. Because once we do buy it and then the market comes down, then all of a sudden, we're out a lot of money that we didn't have to be out. So yeah, we decided we're going to wait until it comes down and prices have started coming down a little bit more recently, which is good. We expect that they'll keep doing that. And I mean, that's the hope it's a market. So it can really go anywhere at wants to but following trends is probably going to go down and we'll be more comfortable. We won't have land that depreciates in a couple months after we buy it, which is what we're hoping for. We don't want to get a house and then six months later, it's not even worth what we paid for it anymore.

Ashley Tibollo 14:15
Well, it sounds like a good decision that I hope it comes down for you pretty soon. So going back to sort of your experience moving in with someone new house new surroundings. Did you face sort of any challenges?

Janine Brown 14:38
Um, so by challenges do you do you mean like, like things that are like obstacles to that or like, just like if it was hard in certain areas?

Ashley Tibollo 14:51
Yeah, I was like, I assume there was some sort of adjustment period. So like, I guess what, what were things that you found difficult, or…

Janine Brown 15:07
So I don't know if it is particularly difficult, but he does have a cat named Wendy, who was amazing. And I learned very quickly that when Wendy wants food, she is prone to screaming. Oh, yeah, like not like a normal like how cat's meow like, it doesn't sound like that it sounds like, like screaming Oh my. So she, at least when I was teaching remotely because I did that all, you know, from from his apartment, it was really just me contending with Wendy in the corner, screaming at me to give her food to give her lunch. And a lot of times I had to, like I would sometimes like pause the class and just to feed her and then come back and be like, sorry, guys, my my cat is, uh, she's hungry. So if you don't want to hear her yelling anymore, I had to I had to go handle that really quick. But she's great. She she's a bundle of joy, and anger and other personalities. She's just when I first started, like staying there, she was a little bit hesitant. But it really didn't take long for her to open up until like, lay on my lap and let me pet her. And I even got to the point where, and she never let us do it before but like kissing her on the head. Like she never used to let that happen. But she started being a lot more accepting of, of touch and stuff. So it's been it's been a good journey for her to I think this pandemic because we were there a lot. So she was able to, you know, rely on us and open up a little bit more. Because she came a long way from when she you know, like before the pandemic?

Ashley Tibollo 17:06
Is she having any difficulties now that you guys are both sort of returning to school and work?

Janine Brown 17:15
it's hard to say, because she's a cat and they don't really like emote super well. I mean, other than like, it's hard to tell like what she's thinking. I know, she does enjoy the snuggles, and the pets. So I would say that she's probably probably missing some of that when we're not there to do that all the time. But it's like I said, it's hard to tell because she's, she's pretty independent. She still does her own thing. She's still, you know, just sleeps wherever she feels like sleeping. And I don't know what else she does in a day, because that seems to sum it up. So, yeah, I wouldn't say that it's particularly easy for her because again, I can't really tell. I just know that she appreciates when we spend time with her. And when we, you know, give her attention. And she'll you know, she'll do a lot to make sure we give her that attention. So I do think that maybe it's something that she's missing a little bit more now that that we're not home all the time. But she seems to be she used to be okay, she seems to be happy anyway.

Ashley Tibollo 18:33
And were there any pets that you sort of left behind with your parents when you moved out?

Janine Brown 18:40
Yeah, we had a yellow lab named buddy. And he's he's pretty great. He's less loud. He doesn't really like bark. But he still likes food probably the same amount as Wendy does.

Ashley Tibollo 18:55
So did how did he handle you moving out? Was he sort of unfazed by it? Or do you think you was a bit affected?

Janine Brown 19:05
So again, it's hard to tell because I can't ask him. I like to believe he didn't just, you know, be like, okay, she's gone. Whatever. I'd like to believe we had a little bit of a stronger bond on that. I still see him because we didn't, it's not like I moved super far away. Right. Um, and he still knows who I am and stuff and will, like will play and I'll pat him and, you know, give him attention to it helps that he also has, you know, like my brother and my mom and my dad. It's not like, it's not like half of the group left,

Ashley Tibollo 19:40

Janine Brown 19:41
It's really just just me, so I think he's okay. He seems okay. He seems happy seems healthy. He's an anxious dog. So there was always that, that layer to the where he does get anxious very easily, but He's telling us that he seems to be doing okay.

Ashley Tibollo 20:03
At the beginning of the pandemic, when you were still living at home? Did buddy enjoy having I know your mom is an essential worker? But did she enjoy having the rest of you? Or he did he enjoy having the rest of you around more?

Janine Brown 20:24
I think so. He He's a people that he doesn't interact with other animals all that much. Like other dogs, and then he just sort of like ignores any other animal. But he, he does really gravitate towards people. And if there's, if there's a person, he wants to be right next to them, or be under their feet, or always be in the same room. So like, if I would like move from the living room to the kitchen, he'd be there too. If I move back, he would follow me, you just wherever you go, he just sort of follows. So I think that I think he does miss a little bit maybe of the personal connections now that you know, because my mom's an essential worker, so she was never home that much. But my dad went back to work and my brother went to school. So I think he does miss a little bit of that, you know, having somebody there to just, you know, exist there with him. But like I said, I think I think he's okay, because he he had most of his life, pre pandemic, to where he was used to us being gone all day. Yeah, so he got more attention during the pandemic, which, which is really good. But I don't think that it's too much of a shock, because like, my dad didn't really have a whole lot of like quarantine time, like his work is also considered essential. So he went back pretty quickly. So I don't think that he got super used to Oh, somebody is always here to pet me or play with me. I think that it happened for like a couple of weeks. But then you know, things went back to a more normal.

Ashley Tibollo 22:12
So here's the essential question, you switched from dog ownership to cat ownership. So are you a dog person, or the cat person?

Janine Brown 22:23
I love both. I will say now that cats are definitely less maintenance. They're, they're more independent. And I would love to someday have like, I love Golden Retrievers are my favorite. That's the kind of dog I had growing up as a kid. I love them. I think they're great. However, for right now for the space that we have, and for the time that we have, because we're really not home all that much. We really couldn't have anything other than a cat who can you know, they just sort of do their own thing. So I think I am, I think I'm more of a cat person. But again, that sort of fits with my circumstances right now. So like, that's the best fit for me. But I can't I can't say that I wouldn't have a dog again. Because I definitely, I could definitely have a dog.

Ashley Tibollo 23:25
What a diplomatic answer.

Janine Brown 23:28
Oh, they're so great, though. I don't know, how do you how do people just choose one? When I can have both

Ashley Tibollo 23:34
True, Very true. That's usually my answers to animals sample. Um, so Was there anything else that you wanted to include in the archives and interview that we didn't have a chance to speak about?

Janine Brown 23:55
I mean, that covers pretty much the like, the the main events that happen, you know, I got, you know, I graduated, got new jobs, switched to remote learning moved in with my boyfriend. Looking for houses like that's, I can't really think of anything that's bigger than that.

Ashley Tibollo 24:18
Yeah, those are pretty big events.

Janine Brown 24:20
It's been a crazy year and a half.

Ashley Tibollo 24:22
Yeah. Well, thank you again for your contribution to the archive. and have a wonderful day.

Janine Brown 24:31
You too.

Ashley Tibollo 24:32

Item sets

This item was submitted on July 25, 2021 by [anonymous user] using the form “Upload” on the site “Oral Histories”:

Click here to view the collected data.

New Tags

I recognize that my tagging suggestions may be rejected by site curators. I agree with terms of use and I accept to free my contribution under the licence CC BY-SA