Stay-at-Home Diaries | Eugene Kim, Event Coordinator

On Thursday March, 19, Los Angeles residents were asked to stay in their residences and limit all activities outside of their homes beyond what is necessary for essential tasks. Days later, PCM adapted its lessons and programs and launched a “distance learning” spring quarter.

For this series, we’re checking in with students, instructors, and staff members to see how they’re managing and how distance learning (and teaching) is working for them.

PCM: Where are you right now and who are you with?
EK: My wife and I are staying safe at home in Pasadena.

PCM: How are you feeling and how have you adjusted to life at home?
EK: I’ve been fine these days. The beginning was tough, as it surely was for everyone. There were so many new things to adjust to. Whether volatile household logistics or new pressures from work and extended family—who could honestly say they planned for any of this? In spite of the challenges, my wife and I have remained resilient, informed, and optimistic about the situation. And call us crazy, but we’re actually loving the “being together 24/7” part of it! I also wanted to start a chain: we’re eating more avocados than we have ever before—has anyone else introduced a new and unexpected protagonist to their household diet?

PCM: What does a typical day look like for you right now?
EK: I wake up a bit later (don’t judge) and eat a slow breakfast. Then I get started with work, making sure PCM’s online learning systems are running smoothly. This involves sitting in on classes, supporting faculty, writing new policy, and thinking about the many ways that our community can continue to thrive. Aside from work, we’re cooking and noshing aplenty. The day usually ends with practicing, reading, catching up with friends and volunteer activities, and/or dog videos.

PCM: In what ways (large and small) has the current situation impacted your staff role at the Conservatory?
EK: Since “Safer At Home,” my role as the school’s Event Coordinator disintegrated immediately. It became impossible to put on our usual events, whether Student Recitals, master classes, or Jazz On Hill. Much, if not all of my work was devoted to these gatherings. Nevertheless, when they disappeared, I moved quickly to solve new problems that appeared in their place. Early on, I worked closely with others on safety and hygiene. Now that we’re all sheltered apart, it’s my top priority to make sure that students, staff, and faculty can stick together using the technology available to them—way different from my usual work. If I had to note a small change, I’m definitely not getting as many steps in LOL! I was always on my feet at PCM. One thing that hasn’t changed at all is our community’s mind-blowing commitment to music. Without it, I would not have had the will to overcome.

PCM: What are you most looking forward to when everyone returns to campus? What, if anything, will you miss?
EK: I just want to see a smile that isn’t pixelated or underexposed and hear a laugh or sweet melody that isn’t all glitchy. I want to listen to our stellar chamber musicians and play together with my fellow cats in the Adult Jazz Combo. I’m looking forward to taking in the beauty of our campus again. As for anything I’ll miss about the quarantine (if I understood the question correctly): maybe it’s too bittersweet, but I’ll miss the collective feeling that we’re never, ever going to take each other for granted. I imagine we’re all going to get swept up into our daily busy-ness soon after this is over. I just hope, for myself at least, that the distance has deepened our appreciation for others, for good.