RESIDENT BLOG: I’ve made new friends and lasting relationships
My children are scattered all over the world so I try to enjoy my life with friends as much as I can. Social activities are really important to me, and if there’s an activity going on, my friends would say; “Esperanza is always there!”
I’ve made new friends and lasting relationships from C&C’s activities. We exercise together, take breaks, tell stories, laugh, joke and I enjoy the camaraderie between us.
Over the years, I’ve most enjoyed the art classes. There are lots of residents’ photos and drawings on the walls around Ada Court. There are charcoal portraits of the residents – outside the laundry room you can see my face on the wall! We made a big picture frame for our coffee shop too with lots of coffee beans stuck together. I have also really enjoyed our dance classes with Justyna. We did seated exercises during the session, but then at the end, we all got up and danced around to pop music – I really enjoyed this.
Keeping up social contact online during the pandemic
The first thing I noticed when lockdown started was that I was getting anxious. As I couldn’t see Covid-19, I didn’t know who my ‘enemy’ was. I started to feel depressed, but I fought these feelings by phoning my children. I have one in Canada, two in America and another in the Philippines, and they organised a weekly conference call so they could all talk to me, and we’re still doing this. I enjoy this as it’s really important for me to have social contact and it has kept me going and made me really happy. I’ve read a lot of books too – a whole book every day!
Although I prefer seeing people face to face, I do enjoy the online activities that C&C puts on. I find them helpful as they force you to do something, and it’s fun! I really Iike the Zumba classes because the teacher Andrea dances beautifully, without effort. For the rest of us it’s more difficult, but we have a great time trying!
I like the online art classes because I love to draw and I enjoy the online choir because I really love following the teacher’s vocalisations. I can sing and shout to my heart’s content as the microphone is muted so people can’t hear me – I love that! Some of the songs are ones that I hadn’t heard before in my home country, the Philippines.
Before lockdown, I took part in a taster session for the Royal Albert Hall’s (RAH) Open Stages project. Then, of course, we couldn’t meet up again, so the organisers sent us a postal version of the project contained in five packages, each with a set of instructions we had to follow in date order. I found it really enjoyable and completed each package in a day, although each one was supposed to last a week! I also learnt about mudlarking, a popular pastime in the 1800s – I had to look it up as it was the first time I’d heard the word, I would have enjoyed doing that as a small girl.
As part of the RAH project, we also had to share real life stories. I told them about the time my grandson, a trumpeter, came to London and bought a trumpet in Soho. The same day we had tickets to the Royal Albert Hall’s Summer Prom. He was so excited to be there that he left the trumpet behind! We couldn’t collect it the following day as we had a flight to catch, so we decided to collect it after the trip, as we were only away for three days. But when we went to the lost property office, they didn’t believe it was his trumpet as there was no name inside the bag. They questioned my grandson and asked if he could really play the trumpet, so he played them the Canadian National Anthem (he’s from Vancouver) and then they agreed to give him his bag back!
When the outdoor exercise classes started in the summer, I was really excited about the first class. I got even more excited when I saw Chuk (the teacher) for the first time. He has a great rapport with people. It was wonderful to be out in the fresh air and to meet up with people again. We are lucky to have a spacious garden so if it rains, we’ve been able to shelter under the tree.
I really enjoy all the activities that C&C offer. Life goes on, so you do have to laugh out loud and keep yourself happy!
Esperanza Buenavista, resident, Ada Court
C&C is offering a number of virtual activities along with a limited number of COVID-safe outdoor activities. Find out what’s going on near you with our new Activity Calendar.