Covid-19: Maria Trajtenberg

Recorded May 2, 2020 Archived May 2, 2020 27:09 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: APP2257657


Jackie Neale interviews her undergraduate photography student, Maria Trajtenberg while we are conducting interviews and taking photographs for our storytelling project, The Corona Collective. Maria is living in TriBeCa New York City through the pandemic, and talks about how she is coping and getting through times during the self-quarantine. "I am really scared of not being able to see the people I love again." "I have not stepped out the door in 26 days."


  • Maria Trajtenberg
  • jackiephoto

Interview By


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00:00 Clean out the window, on clap.

00:04 Definitely do it.

00:08 Don't you? Lean out the window and do it? Yes, rolling out the window.

00:26 Awesome.

00:30 Nike Sirens 2.

00:32 Really? That's awesome.

00:38 Research in here like old people driving, but I can't see anybody. I can barely hear you clapping to really? Yeah.

00:51 Probably cuz of the Wind.

00:56 Hi, this is Jackie Neal. I'm continuing my interviews for the corona Collective. I yet again and fortunate enough to be able to interview. One of my students who is also participating in the corona Collective. Hello. Hello, Jackie. I forgot to mention this. Hello stuff.

01:21 So, if you could, could you, please share your name with me or is. My name is Maria. And what is the date today? Today is April 22nd. 2020. And where are you currently? I'm currently in, New York.

01:44 Where in New York, I'm currently out of friends is staying at a friend's apartment in Tribeca and New York.

01:51 So, you're New York City. Where are you originally from?

01:56 So I was born in Argentina and I moved to your why when I was 2 years old and my mother is was born in your white. So I usually say I'm from your wife, but I was actually born in Argentina.

02:10 And how do we know each other?

02:14 We know each other because I'm currently a photography student at New York Film Academy and you are my teacher for shooting love and history of photography. Thank you. So, thanks for joining me today. Just to get a little bit of background for those who are listening. We are currently in the middle of a global epidemic where we have been given stay-at-home orders by our president, or president won, and governors to because Maria is in New York and I am in New Jersey. I also teach and work in New York City have to listen to both of them. But we're in the middle of this Global epidemic because of the novel coronavirus covid-19 has spread worldwide country. After country is shutting down and practicing quarantining and lockdowns, it traveled from China, through Reno to South Korea.

03:14 Italy, Iran, it's missing parts of Africa as well. South America.

03:25 United States east to west and south north. Every state has a case and obviously Canada Mexico, excetera excetera, New Zealand, Australia. And so that brings us to this project that our class has decided to do as a storytelling mechanism and is oral histories are going to be filed with the Library of Congress for history purposes. But also it's helping us express ourselves through photography. And through these interviews, learning more about how people are dealing with this time. So, I'm going to start by asking you. Do you happen to know anyone that has been diagnosed with covid-19?

04:12 So, I don't know anybody like from my clothes circle that has the virus, but I know I have friends in common with people that have it back in your why? I don't know anybody here in New York, but has it, but then again, I don't really know much people here in New York cuz I'm not from here. But there was cute. That there's four deaths in your way now. And last week, two other people that died. We're really close friends of my step dad. So, that's the closest connection. I have to someone that has had the virus.

04:56 Would you mind telling us about the story you mentioned today during class?

05:02 Shirt, so the Stars about how the virus got to your why? So there's this woman called.

05:13 Let this woman that was traveling through Europe. I think yeah, she was in Europe and she wasn't on Italy and she got the virus. She had a fever but she didn't get tested then and then she traveled to your why and when she got there she didn't have a fever anymore, but she had a really bad headache and there was a wedding on the next day and it was like a huge wedding in Montevideo, which is the capital city of Uruguay and she decided to go and that's when everyone got the virus and that's how it got your wife. And now every single person in your, what, Hey sir, and they've been cyber bullying her which is really bad, but at the same time she's been doing things. She did. She like she shouldn't be doing like going to the mall. She's not boring sitting at all. She lives in a building and the owner of the building took photos of her using the gym.

06:13 And,

06:17 So, yeah, and I think she needs somebody. I don't know if this is true, but somebody told me that there was an article published here in the United States about her, which is crazy. And so have they tested other people with covid-19. And I mean, I understand that there are four deaths because it does that. It must mean that there's other people that out there that have the sickness.

06:42 Yeah, so there are I think close to 300 cases in your what they are? All from that wedding or people that went to that wedding and then the next day met with other people.

06:58 But yeah, they've been tested. So, how is this affected you emotionally?

07:08 I mean, you talk about.

07:12 How it is to be quarantined in New York, but also knowing that there's people at home that are that are dying because of it.

07:20 So, how does this affect me? Emotionally first, when this all happened? I was, I was here in New York. I was leaving with one of my best friends. She was my roommate. And when this started, her parents bought a plane ticket, for her to go back to Argentina, and where she's from, and she had to leave, like, two days after that. And so, I was here alone. I didn't know much people. I have two other friends from Argentina. They both left like a week after that. And so, it's going to be yellow. And I didn't know what to do, and I was very, very stressing. Luckily. My mom came to the city that she was planning on coming for like a month or something to visit. And when she got here, everything like loaded and so she stayed and now I'm currently with her. So that was really, really stressing because I didn't know what to do. I didn't know if I should go back to your wife. That would be safe.

08:20 Stay here at the know what would happen with the program at school and everything? So I decided to stay but it was very, very stressing and then

08:33 But now I'm better. I'm now I decided to go back to your wife since the school decided to close the campus for a while, and I'm happy to go back. I'm happy to see you. Be able to see my little sister and my dad, my brother and my friends. Once I'm done friends and you there.

08:54 It's been hard to be trapped, inside an apartment. That's something I've never been through. I haven't gone out. Now, in 26 days. Not at all. Haven't even open the door.

09:09 We've been ordering groceries and stuff. Haven't even gone out at all. So that's

09:16 Weird and hard. I said, I need so much to go on a walk, but I can't now.

09:25 Maria and I'm happy. I'm going back to your while and I think and hope I'm going to be able to go outside there. Two questions 1. Do you have like a balcony at the place? You're staying or a rooftop? I don't have a balcony. I don't have a rooftop.

09:44 Oh my God, and I

09:49 When are you leaving for Uruguay?

09:52 I'm leaving for your why on March 1st.

09:58 March 1st is like about 2 months ago. I mean May 1st.

10:14 Movers Movers.

10:20 That's classic waiting for you to be late. So I'm going back to your way on May 1st.

10:48 Okay, and then you're going to quarantine for like I'm going to be partying for 15 to 20 days with my mom there.

10:57 And then hopefully I'll be able to go to my dad's or wheat my friends and I are actually planning. So there's this neighborhood and there's this small neighborhood Coco's Ignacio. That is by the beach. And my mom owns a house there that she usually runs it in summer, but nobody is renting it now. So my friends are and I are planning to go there altogether to quarantine until the whole thing is over, but that has to be after I'm done grunting with my mom.

11:36 Essay, and then so your your mom and your father live in separate places. Yes, and then you so, like, once you're done quarantining, you're going to go to your dad's and see your brother and then you're going to quarantine on the beach. Yes. That's what I'm okay.

11:55 Just wanted to clarify that. I got that, right.

11:59 So, how is speaking of which, how is this affecting your familial relationships like with your partner? Your parents?

12:09 Your partner, Jamie Fraser.

12:20 How is this affecting my familiar relationships? So I'm grunting with my Mom. This is the first time we've ever spent this much time together.

12:37 I've been crying saying with my mom and this is the first time we've been together for this long. If you were to tell me before that, I had to live for this long time with only my mom and not being able to see anybody else. But hair everyday, I would like go crazy and say like I would never be able to do that. But like we were we're pretty good where

13:17 We're happy. We're not fighting at all, which is nice.

13:23 I think that all my online classes are helping with that because I like most of the time doing things for school and like doing things.

13:33 We item is not fighting. We have like discussions are like because we're both very like, organized, kind of people and she is a freak. I'm a freak too, but she's even worse and so

13:47 Yeah, we had we have those kind of discussions but we're fine. And then with my dad, I miss him a lot, but I'm excited to see him now, like, 120 days, but we're FaceTiming. I do everyday, which is nice and my brother. I haven't talked with him in a while, but I am not really close to my brother, but I'm excited to see him cuz I haven't talked to him in so long. I don't know what he's doing or where he is or whatever. He's two years older than me, but he's living on my mom's. So I'm going to see him. The moment. I got to your way.

14:30 I think he's going to go have to go to my dad's, cuz we're going to be quieting at my mom's. And then I'm also really excited to see my baby sister who just turned two, and I haven't seen her in a while, but they're said, my dad is sending me videos every day. So that's nice.

14:49 What's her name, Allegra?

14:54 So, how do you keep yourself entertained in a do you ever get bored considering you haven't walked out the front door.

15:03 So, how do I keep myself entertained? I watch a lot. I've been binge-watching. Outlander.

15:13 Which I'm obsessed with I'm all. I've been also binge-watching like backstage videos and thousands of interviews from the cast of the show while you're really what's farther into it. To me. I've been also FaceTiming, my friends every day. There's one of my best friend's she's from your why? Her name is Fiona and yeah, I FaceTime with her every day after dinner and we stayed for hours. We sometimes, do don't even speak to each other, but we know that the other one is there in case, like someone wants to say something or so, we've also downloaded this app called house party, which we join every every Friday and sometimes Saturday where you can like meet with different people and like different people can join the video chat and you don't have to even know them, but you have to

16:13 At least friends in common, and we like our deal together, and it's really fun place. Drinking games through the app, which is really cool. Go to house party. And with my mom has been playing lots of card games and board games with been painting. We've been trying to stay creative. Honestly. I've been reading a lot.

16:41 And doing homework in school.

16:47 What kind of card games are you playing?

16:49 There's this card game that my, my family from my mom's side, used to play all the time. And I grew up playing that game goes, that would literally translates to Basket in English. I don't know if you have a card game, like, with that name, but I, I grow up, I grew up playing that game, and it's like a tradition of ours, every single night when I used to go to like high school and primary school. We used to like late every single night with my mom and my grandma. Everyone. Well, that sounds like fun. We used to play card games down at my beach house.

17:33 Call Lake every summer and we played rummy 500 though. That was the game we play. So actually I'm kind of curious before I get into the other questions. I can you describe where the apartment didn't? Can you visually or like can you describe so that we can visually imagine the apartment that you're living in right now? Visually describe. Yes, like I think I have to say this but it's part of how like why I'm feeling so good to hear that. So my mom is an interior designer, and she

18:18 She did like this whole apartment last year. I came with her to work on it, which was really nice. And so, it feels like I'm in my house, but in an apartment cuz it's like your style in every single house and it's real it looks like my house but on a building.

18:37 How big is it? How big is it? How big is it is? I think it's 500 square meters, but I don't know if you know, how much is that? It's something like that.

18:51 And that how many rooms are in there? So there's the living room.

18:58 There's the kitchen. There's this like middle room, which is like, kind of a movie theater.

19:06 Which is amazing. And then there's 1 2 3 1 2 3. 4 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

19:18 Wow, so I'm I'm very, very happy that you had the opportunity to move out of your apartment and into a space like that. I am honestly really happy and so grateful that I'm able to like be here at this time. Yeah, I'm happy for you to do. You find it easier to fulfill your shooting assignments in there. A hundred percent is much is your have like too many rooms and different things? Do you like I was the other day. I was thinking if I were in my apartment like half of the assignments, I would be like freaking out, don't knowing what to do.

19:53 I know what that feels like.

19:59 So what is your greatest fear about the coronavirus? And what's happening right now? What's your greatest fear?

20:07 My greatest fear about all of this is actually something that I wrote in my journal the other day. That is I'm really scared of like

20:17 I don't even know if this is possible, but I'm scared of not being able to see the people that I love again. So, like these becoming something that is forever, and I have to stay forever inside with my mom and not being able to like, see my father again, or like hug my friends again, because my little sister again. See my brother again.

20:40 And see people that I love. I think that's my biggest fear of this and then of course, like someone in my family or friend someone that I love gets the virus or something bad happens. I'm really scared of that, too.

21:01 And just like a, a little going on to the more positive side of things. Have you found that you would have even doing? Like, did you say what you were doing to stay entertained? Okay, you watch Outlander, you connect with your friend after dinner. Go to house party. Have you been listening to any new and interesting music?

21:29 Yes, I actually did. I created a playlist the other day, which was really fun that I love doing that. I've been listening a lot of Erykah Badu. My God, I love Erica begin. Fast with Erykah Badu. My God, you got to listen to the song called Annie. Annie have never heard of it. I love cherish the day. So I must have been this is going to be the hardest. But I've also been listening to do, you know her?

22:09 Okay. So cherish the day is like a song that I've been listening. The lot lately. What else have you checked out Sade Sade? I say it kind of wrong. But what I was saying for Saturday, Saturday Saturday, it's okay. I was excited when she was big, but she is older than I love them. Both are amazing.

22:59 I've been listening lately.

23:04 Oh my God, I have a start a song going through my head, your mother change. You know that one Your Love Is Your Love Is King it goes. Your love is King. I can't remember. Oh my God. It's it's the best. I love No, Ordinary Love.

23:30 I'm putting on your love is King.

23:35 Itsy bitsy.

23:41 HD video.

24:20 I need to save the video of the sun. Usually, I don't.

24:25 Usually, I just use the audio but this is just okay, so you envisioned a silver lining?

24:40 To this and what would it be a silver lining to this? I do and I think that that for me would be

24:59 I think we would be about.

25:02 Is there some way this would?

25:06 Help when the inequality in the world, talking about sexism and

25:13 Specifically that honestly an inequality around Society like in all different kinds of way cuz I feel like people will, hopefully people will kind of realize that

25:28 Things as tragic as this affects all of us in the same way and it doesn't matter where you are, or what you have or who you are. You're still affected by this. And you still have to quarantine, and you still have to do what you're supposed to do.

25:43 So, I think that would be a silver lining for me.

25:46 Nothing. Is there anything else that you want to talk about? I mean I've asked all my questions and as you know, this is going to go up on storycorps part of the Library of Congress and it's an oral history that many people will listen to in the future. So is there something you want the whole world to know? Make sure they know?

26:14 Oh my God. So much pressure. I feel like I want every I want the world to know something but I don't know what yet. Is there something you want me to know that? I know you don't think I'll ever know unless you tell me right now.

26:31 We're going to get through this.

26:37 That is true that will that is absolutely true. Marcher word. What do you say? Okay. Okay. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. But I have a lot of gratitude for your enthusiasm and your participation and your vision. So thank you. Thank you, Jackie. I'm just going to stop by real quick.