Mariana Barrón

Written by Canmore Museum

What does an average day look like for you right now?

“Well now with the COVID, basically just taking care of my family – my husband, my daughter and my dog, Since I’m not working, everything is just taking care of my family. It’s just the regular things we have to do every day to take care of each other, like cooking, and taking my dog for a walk. I feel really lucky in this small community. Since the beginning I haven’t missed a day, and just walk along the river, living in this beautiful place where I can walk to so many different beautiful places. The summer was really fun, we did a lot of hiking and biking.”

How are you getting along with your close relationships? 

“For us I think the positive thing about being at home is that we become closer to each other. Like before, it was tough not having anyone else around you. In Canada, it’s just the three of us, so we don’t have anybody else to rely on. My daughter is 13 so I still have to keep an eye on her, but before I had to work evenings, and my husband mornings. I was always working on the weekends and the holidays, and I feel like since I’m not working now, we are closer to each other. Before I didn’t see my husband or daughter very much. For Christmas Day I wasn’t at home, and you know, I think I feel really lucky that the Government is giving insurance like EI [Employment Insurance], otherwise I wouldn’t be able to support our family.

I feel it was very beneficial for us because our daughter wasn’t alone anymore. My husband can be more relaxed as he doesn’t need to finish work, run, and come home because my daughter was alone. When my daughter was coming home from school she was alone, but now I’m at home and I’m able to cook a healthy meal, and we can be with each other. Even for my relationship with my husband as well, it’s been great for us to have this time.

Before we couldn’t even enjoy this time because I was working all the time. Now we can try new things, like paddle boarding. We didn’t try it before and this was our first year to experiment, to do something different.

It’s very tough when you don’t have anyone else to rely on. We don’t have grandma, or aunties, or anyone else. My family is back in Mexico and my husband’s family is as well. It’s very different. We have a great community, but its not the same, especially when your kids are really young.

What’s been the hardest part of this for you?

“The hardest part is just the socializing. Not being able to meet your friends or have a social event. Yeah, I feel like we are very social people, and the hardest part is just being at home. All the events were canceled. Our family is really small, and our social life was all community events, like Canada Day and all that. Even Halloween is cancelled. So that’s the toughest part, all the social distancing. “

Is there something that turned out to be a secret blessing from this experience?

“Well I think its just to be at home with my family. They say the most precious thing in the world is time. It’s not the same when you’re working all the time and you don’t have time to be together with your family. It’s a blessing to be at home with family. It’s tough enough, so just to be together is good!“

Is there anything you are afraid of?

“If it keeps getting worse, like already everything is cancelled; a lot of businesses are closed. We are a small town, and we rely on hospitality. I was working in hospitality. The tourists are not coming like they used to be, especially international travelers. It’s very scary if the virus will keep going. What are we going do? I dunno if we can support it. We are a hospitality town, is it going to be a ghost town?”

What do you think you will remember from this time?

“I think what I will remember the most is to be more appreciative. I can appreciate everything more and not just take it for granted.”

We were so blessed to be in this beautiful place with the mountains, the rivers, the lakes. I will remember for sure that it’s a time that I can appreciate everything. The food, the water, the shelter, and also the community in general. As soon as this thing started, everyone supported each other the best that everyone could.

If you could speak directly to somebody in the future, what would you want them to know about this time period in your life?

“I think the relationship to each other, either your family, your friends, your co-workers – it’s one of the most precious things you have. We are social human beings. We need each other. We cannot survive in a cave. We need real people to be close to each other, we need to see smiles and hear voices face-to-face, not on the camera, not on the cellphone – it’s not the same. We need to touch people and be in contact, to hug people.”

Has this impacted you financially?

It’s been very hard for sure. We are blessed that my husband is still working, but it’s not the same with me being off work. We have to measure our expenses more because we don’t know how long it’s going to last. We don’t even know if my husband is going keep his work, or for how long. Everything is very uncertain.

Anything else?

“I think this time is very important to keep yourself positive. Your mind – you have to keep your mind healthy and try to see everything as positive as possible. Yeah, nothing is more important than just to be with your family, your friends, and to take care of each other. But you have to start taking care of yourself first. It can be very difficult, but we have to keep hoping that everything is going to be okay. Maybe not back to the same way that it was, but hopefully it will get better. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the economy.

Let’s keep the magic going! I was always working in hospitality since I came to Banff in Canada. Banff is very special. People come here for special events or vacations and they are happy. I think the tourists bring us positive energy, and it’s like magic for locals. The energy people brought to our town is very special, and we have to give it back to the tourists so they keep coming.”

The Stories of Resilience project offers deeply personal insights into the lives of Bow Valley residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. They each share their unique challenges, fears, hopes, and lessons learnt during this unique time in history. This project was brought to life by a collaboration of local organizations: Bow Valley Immigration Partnership (BVIP), artsPlace Canmore, Kristy Wolfe Photography, Canmore Museum. With special thanks to Community Connections in the Bow Valley.

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Canmore Museum