I grew up in Leicester, but my family are Persian and Turkish. I have a little brother and I feel like family has helped through Lockdown. In March when the lockdown was announced I was still in London but travelled to Leicester to stay with family because my grandma had flown in from Iran and I wanted to make sure I spent as much time with her as I could. That was nice. When I experienced lockdown alone, I found it so depressing. Suddenly being alone becomes intense. I am in a house share now and although there are people around, we all stick to our own areas, so I preferred it when I was in Leicester. It is strange for me to say that as growing up all I wanted was to get away from Leicester and move to London.

I love London so much. I love how busy everyone is and how easy it is to get around the city. Everyone knows everyone in Leicester but in London there is a comforting anonymity. During my first year at University of East London I lived on campus but then moved out of halls for the second year. Whilst I was looking for somewhere to stay, agencies in London were just taking the piss (excuse the language). So there was a period when I had to travel from Leicester to come to uni. My early morning lectures meant getting up at 3am so I could make it for 9am at Docklands campus. I did it from September until January when I finally found somewhere suitable to live. I was also working two jobs at the same time – I was part of the Aquatics team at the American School in London and then working with National Express on the weekend. I only got the job with National Express because it meant free travel. It was a crazy time and so strange after all that travelling to now be mainly based in my house share in East London.

Growing up I did a lot of extra curriculars. As well as loads of sports, I had violin lessons and played in the orchestra. My mum loves the violin, so she wanted me to go into music, but I always preferred sports. I gave up playing the violin years ago but in lockdown I picked up my violin and played... I didn't even know if I could play anymore but I can. I played one of Adele's songs, it felt appropriate.

Kimia is in her second year at University of East London studying Sports Therapy.

Kimia Hasimi portrait photo