About this project

Life in Michigan has changed very quickly for many people over the past few weeks. The MI-COVID-diaries project aims to document what life is like in Michigan during the Coronavirus lockdown and afterwards, as we move back into normal life. We are interested in all aspects of how life is changing for Michiganders, from their daily routines to their language. We are looking for Michiganders who are interested in submitting periodic oral history recordings during this time. The MI-COVID-diaries project is run by the Sociolinguistics Lab at Michigan State University. To hear from some of our participants this week, click "Listen to our participants" below. To hear stories from previous weeks, you can check out the archive.

Listen to our participants' stories
I'm an owner-operator of a Veterinary Clinic here. I am considered an essential worker, so I'm still going to work every day. But, at the clinic we're only allowed to do sick animals or chronically ill, injured. Nothing that's routine. And we're doing everything curbside off, so clients stay outside the building, we get a history on the phone. Then we go out and get the animal, with the mask on and the people are supposed to be wearing a mask. And then we bring animals into the clinic, do whatever we need to do, and then I talk to them on the phone again, and we take them back out. It's very inefficient and a little cumbersome. So we're actually working a fair number of hours, but doing about half the amount of work that we typically do. But it's getting a little bit easier every week.

I feel like as the owner, it's my place to to look calm and like everything's under control and like we're all going to be fine and try to be the cheerleader, but it was particularly difficult. I wasn't sleeping very well at night and just getting different headaches at the beginning but it's hard to stay in crisis mode for a long time. So as each week has gone by and this is starting to feel a little more, the phrase is "The new normal". We're getting more comfortable with it.

I'm almost to the point now where I think even if the governor were to say things can open back up again, I would be reluctant to do that. I think we'll probably let other people try that first and then stay with the curbside telemedicine and sick things only, for a little bit longer and just see how it goes.

Have you or anyone close to you had to change or cancel any big plans because of this?

I'm going to say that's a real big Yes. I proposed to my then-girlfriend, now-fiancee last March and our wedding date we decided on was May 9th. So clearly some changes were in order there.

When things first started to lock down around mid-March, we had a discussion at the time and we -- we rolled it over for a few days and talked about it. The idea of what we might do what we might need to postpone or change or cancel whether we wanted to to limit the number of people, or what might be the best way. And as things kept progressing and getting worse that we we came to the decision that rather than try to keep crunching down our plans smaller and smaller and end up with something that was really half-baked or or not even, you know, not not even worth doing at all.

We just decided that we were going to do two things. The first of them was keep the same wedding date. All of the associated, you know, the friends the family the party all of that is all secondary to the actual purpose of the day, which is being married you know, joining ourselves together. We're going to have a a church wedding and and you know, if the priest is there and two people are there to sign the marriage license that's that's really the minimum. So rather than cancel. We are delaying our reception to next May. Hopefully knock on wood next May everything's able to happen.

We were able to push everything back to next May. we're going to do up d the whole thing right. Right down to the party bus, you know, my my now fiance and and by then she'll be my wife will be in her wedding dress again. We're going to have all the bridesmaids and groomsmen we push back our our rentals for our tuxes and we'll all be in in the full shebang, the party bus to get pictures taken. We're going to try and get back to the church. Unless someone else is having a wedding that weekend. Try and get back into the church and do some pictures in our full with everyone there in the church that on campus and places like that.

You know my sister was already going to be my best man? We're real close. So she was able to come and they got permission from the the church to bring someone who wasn't immediate family. So she actually has a maid of honor instead of pressing her grandmother into serve in the role. So yeah, we'll be doing that, just a little some some takeout food and and champagne and the church basement and and back home.

You know, it's it's one of those things where it's it's certainly disappointing. It's it's not what any of us wanted for the day, but you can't really say it ruined the day. I mean, you know, as far as the party goes, well, we still intend to have that eventually it's not a lost thing and and it sounds kind of cheesy or trite to say it but the wedding is the -- the marriage is the important thing the actual you know, core of the wedding, not all the extras around it.

We also are able to -- we're going to livestream the ceremony and maybe some things at the small reception. We're going to live stream of those on a Facebook group, which is foreign to us. Because neither of us to kind of people that have to live stream every moment of our lives, but it's the you know, if if people could come we wouldn't be sitting there going "but how will we live stream it for everyone else"", but it's this case where since no one gets to come we're going to go ahead and do that, so the family and the friends and people can can be there and share the day with us.

Sign up to participate & get Audio Diary prompts from us

Sign up using the form below to register your interest in participating in this project! We are looking to hear from as many Michiganders as possible.


How does this work?
Our research team will send you an email every week (or as often as you designate that you would like to participate) with a list of prompts to get you thinking, and a link for uploading your diary file. You can talk about these prompts, or about anything else that is on your mind. We especially want to hear stories of what your life is like - what you did during the day or the week, things that brought you joy or struggles you are having.
We are looking for as much of your story as you would like to tell, whether it's a 5 minute recording or an hour long recording.

What do I need to use to record myself?
You can use any recording software that you like - we recommend downloading and using the free software Audacity and recording yourself using a pair of earbud headphones that have a microphone, such as Apple EarPods. You can also use the built in recording program in your phone, such as Apple's Voice Memos or Sound Recorder for an Android phone. If you are using an iPhone, you will need to first save your Voice Memo ("save to file") - then you'll be able to upload it to our secure server.

Do I need to be a Michigander to participate?
Right now we are only collecting stories from Michigan residents. If you are currently living in Michigan, we would love to hear from you.

How do I submit an entry?
Your email will include a link to securely upload your audio diary. Or you can upload your file directly through this website, below!

Can I submit a diary entry more often than once a week?
Yes! You may use your link as often as you would like to submit a new entry. We would love to hear from you as often as you would like to participate.

Submit an entry here

If you like, you can submit an entry directly here. Please begin your Audio Diary with your name and today's date. If you would like to sign up to be a regular contributor, please fill out the Google Form under "Sign Up" above.