April 29, 2020

Sources of Comfort in the Time of Corona

By Christine Trotter

We asked the members of our ELI community–students, teachers and staff–to send us photos of the things they look to for comfort in difficult times.  Here is what we received.

A woman in silhouette holding a ceramic silhouette in front of her own silhouetted face

Photo by Kasia Kowalik

I was always amazed by the sculpture named Grandmother, produced by my friend. It remained with my grandmother to whom I was very close. Just before my move out to New York, Izabela offered me this piece of art. She said that it is her way of looking after me when I am far away. Now we are four ladies in New York: two friends and two beloved grandmothers. 
Kasia Kowalik, student in ELI’s Comprehensive English Program

Feel the City Breakin' and Everybody Shakin' and We're Staying Alive AH AH AH AH Stayin' Alive sign hanging from redbrick Brooklyn building

Photo by Gary Winter

This photo reminds me of all the weird and funny things Brooklynites hang out their windows.   
Gary Winter, Assistant to ELI’s Comprehensive English Program

postcard of Statue of Liberty with $1 price tag on safety pin

Photo by Dinara Baird

Every moment counts! I got the Statue of Liberty retro postcard in New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, for $1 in 2018. Every dollar counts! So I was looking back, wondering if someone was watching me while I’m exchanging my values wisely enough. Soon after visiting a vintage shop in quiet Los Alamos, I was celebrating my wedding in the Center of the Universe! I put the card on the wall in our first house in Brooklyn to remind me of my dreams and goals. I cherished the house with big hopes. The house burnt down five days after our first wedding anniversary. My life transformed into a new reality. I keep the picture of the card in my digital archives and it warms my heart at any time!    
Dinara Baird, Student in ELI’s Professional English Program

Man's face lying down with black and white cat surrounded by old children's books

Photo by Mark-Ameen Johnson

When my cat Roscoe and I are in need of comfort, we cuddle with one of the books I loved as a boy. In the photo you see Charlotte’s Web, African Folktales, Key to the Treasure, and Little House on the Prairie. I also love to reread children’s series, including the rest of the Little House books, Oz, the Hardy Boys, and Mary Poppins. Although J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Nnedi Okorofor’s Akata Witch were not around when I was a boy, they bring me so much comfort that rereading them makes me feel as if I grew up with them.   
Mark-Ameen Johnson, instructor in various programs at the ELI

Group of dogs meeting outside

Photo by Seohee Lee

Here is my comfort photo. This is my apartment rooftop. There are a lot of sweet dogs that visit with my wonderful neighbors. I feel fine when I’m with the dogs.
Seohee Lee, student in ELI’s Comprehensive English Program

Dog tag on leather cord

Photo by Tara Tarpey

My grandfather passed away in 2005. After his funeral, I found this dog tag in a cigar box in his drawer. Tippy was my father’s beloved childhood dog, a loyal and loving pet whose adventures had been a part of my own childhood canon of bedtime stories. I was moved that my grandfather had saved Tippy’s dog tag, tucked away right next to the Purple Heart he had received in World War II. I wear this dog tag around my neck on days when I need a little extra strength and comfort. I’ve been wearing it a lot lately.   
Tara Tarpey, ELI instructor and Coordinator of the Comprehensive English Program

Two dogs on leashes

Photo by Angie Gamradt

“Happiness is a warm puppy”–quote by Charles Schultz, creator of the comic strip Peanuts.   
Angie Gamradt, Assistant to ELI’s Professional English Program

Crucifix with candle and flowers

Photo by Liliana Lopez

Liliana Lopez, student in ELI’s Comprehensive English Program

Woman in garden showing typed pages

Photo/Priscilla Karant

My Dad, a feminist, an animal lover, a thinker, a reader, a writer, a gourmet cook. a coffee and tea expert, a fighter for the underdog, a fencer, a horseman and a speaker of nine languages, typed hundreds and hundreds of love letters to my Mom on a black Remington typewriter. A talented writer, his letters reflect more than 40 years of his life and reflect what an extraordinary man he was. I have read and reread all his letters, which inspire me to this day on how to live my life. 
Priscilla Karant, instructor in ELI’s Comprehensive English Program and Professional English Program

Spectacles case with pair of glasses on top

Photo by Mohammad Hamad

These are my first pair of prescription glasses, which have remained with me throughout my travels. They remind me never to take my vision for granted, for some have never had the privilege of sight, and to always explore new perspectives to better understand others and the world around me. 
Mohammad Hamad, ELI’s Assistant Director, Administration

Young woman showing greeting cards and bracelet

Photo by Sun Yuexia

My favorite object is my ex-boyfriend’s greeting cards. He’s an entrepreneur, an artist, a thinker, a gourmet cook, a sports enthusiast, a good listener. He is helpful and a very hard worker. He would accompany me while I finished my homework, and patiently explain American culture to me, so I learned a lot from him. Whenever I encounter setbacks, he always encourages me and makes me feel better. He is also a romantic, so he never forgets to give me presents during special holidays. I think he is close to perfection. I am thankful for having him in my life, so I have kept everything that he has given me and am still touched by those memories.   
Sun Yuexia, student in ELI’s Comprehensive English Program

Young woman showing orange notebook

Photo/Juyoun Han

This is my first English diary. Last spring semester, Professor John Dumicich gave it to all his students. At that time, we were studying video scripts and, for one, we wrote about the sotry of the main character Rebecca. But now I am writing my own story. I write about everyday minor or special things and include pictures or messages from friends. This diary has been a great help in improving my English skills. Thank you. Also I thank all NYU ELI teachers and staff. They try to help and care for all students. I believe we will overcome this difficulty successfully!   
Juyoun Han, student in ELI’s Comprehensive English Program 

City Hall Park with trees and buildings in background

Photo by So Joung Kim

Walking in the park outside Woolworth gives me comfort.   
So Joung Kim, student in ELI’s Comprehensive English Program

Woman playing guitar in front of books

Photo /C Trotter

My guitar and I have known each other since I was twelve. Our conversations are, for the most part, restorative, comforting. When my fingers make her sing, I’m entirely in the present moment—nowhere else—so there are no worries, no fears, no projections as to what might happen in the future. I’m simply grateful to be here—right now—with my dear old friend. 
Christine Trotter, Instructor at the ELI

What gives you comfort?

Share with a friend:    

Related Articles