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Essays

Our Pandemic Time At Home Was WILD. So We Created A Podcast About Our Experiences

A screenshot of a Zoom call shows a three by three grid of faces with the names of those on the call. From top left Marina Peña, Megan Tan, Eduardo Perez, Shaka Mali, Lushik Wahba, Victoria Alejandro, Jessica Pilot, Erick Galindo and Antonia Cereijido
WILD Host Erick Galindo, bottom middle, with the team who worked with him to create the podcast.
(Zoom screenshot)
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This is going to sound wild, but I believe everyone has an origin story. And yeah, I’m talking like some super hero moment that made you fight evil, reverse time, or heal at an incredibly rapid pace.

Listen: Introducing our WILD podcast

That’s what my new podcast WILD is all about. It’s a show about origin stories. It’s about those moments that feel too big to overcome but somehow we manage, like when comedian Chris Garcia decided to perform a show on the worst day of his life. Or like when Linda Yvette Chavez was about to pitch Gentefied to FX while trying to leap over a life-long struggle with imposter syndrome.

And it’s also about those ones that seem small but will change the trajectory of our lives forever. Like when Sarah “La Morena” Palafox tweeted out a video. Or when Jenny Yang was playing Animal Crossing and Megan Tan signed up for a dating app.

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The wild part about the first season of, well, WILD is that it’s made up of 10 of these types of stories that all happened during the year and half we spent stuck at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because even though our surroundings have stayed the same — so much life has happened within them.

Letting Go Of Trauma

For me, this year at home, having to relearn how to make a living, cope with boredom, and let go of trauma was probably the closest experience I will have to my parents’ immigrant journey.

My mom fleeing the war zone that was Sinaloa in the early ‘80s is probably the biggest reason I’m here today. My dad choosing to quit working with a criminal syndicate here in Los Angeles when my mother got pregnant with me is another one.

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Elementary school-aged Erick Galindo (middle) with his older brother, Paul (top) and younger brother, Manuel, on the driveway of their family home. (Courtesy Erick Galindo)

My parents getting amnesty in 1986 allowed them to come out of the shadows and find stable work. It also took a lot of mental stress off their children. When my parents bought their first home in Downey, it was to give their kids a better life than they ever had. And when they finally became citizens of their new home, a populist xenophobe threatened to take it away.

All of that has parallels to how I experienced the pandemic.

COVID seemed to come at a time when I, as a first-generation millennial from Southeast Los Angeles, was just starting to come into my own. It ripped me from the life I knew and forced me to become resourceful in a world I didn’t quite get yet.

But I quickly realized that even though it was difficult, there were triumphs and beauty mixed in. And part of the reason I was able to do that was because I wasn’t really alone. There were stories I was hearing from all over about life moving on and persevering. Suddenly, through shared experiences, Zoom windows would open up to vast worlds and deep experiences.

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And I really needed that.

So I wanted to recreate that feeling for everyone out there that needs it, too. I also wanted to capture this moment in time through a lens that was less about the many ills of the pandemic and more about the metaphorical cures to it all.

Cuz damn …

Pandemic. Recession. Debt. Social unrest. Being a young person in this country can sometimes seem like a bad video game where you lose automatically upon respawning. But WILD is an ongoing conversation about how people, especially my generation, are always finding new ways to cope.

Because our lowest moments can also be our biggest triumphs.

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Plus there’s a ton of things to be positive about.

Coping With The Darkness

Our generation is the most educated and most diverse in history. Young people also are way more self-aware than most people that came before us. And most importantly, for the purposes of this show, we are great storytellers and great listeners.

And maybe that’s all we need to cope with the heavy darkness of this unprecedented epoch … each other.

Someone to hear us. Cry with us. Someone to laugh with, even when it seems too heavy to carry.

And so I hope that if nothing else, WILD is a dose of weightlessness.

Because no matter how heavy life gets, we can carry it together.

Season 1 of WILD is a time capsule of these kinds of moments during a global pandemic that transformed us and our views of home. About what it was like to grow up during this period.

It’s also about what it felt like right as the pandemic was ending and the world was about to open again. And it’s about who we were, who we had to be, and who we’ve become.

This is our origin story.

This is WILD.

Season 1.

Home Forever.

Brought to you by me — Erick Galindo and LAist Studios.

Check out our full podcast page and the episodes already released below.