Hi everyone, I’ve been receiving quite a lot of messages recently about life in China during the coronavirus epidemic, so I thought I’d post a little update now that it’s March (!!) and around 6 weeks since the whole situation blew up.
For those who don’t know, I moved to China at the beginning of 2020 to teach English with EF English First. A few weeks into my training, during the Chinese New Year holiday, the country was put on high alert for the COVID-19 virus which had begun sweeping through the country. As a result, the holiday was extended by a week, then another week and another as the situation got increasingly worse. If you haven’t already, I wrote about life at the beginning of the epidemic which you can find here: https://livsadventures.travel.blog/2020/02/06/coronavirus-living-in-china-during-an-epidemic/
Since writing that first blog post a month ago, not much has changed for me personally. Most restaurants and shops in my city, Shunde, have reopened, but restaurants are mostly just doing take out and all shops are scanning people’s temperatures before they enter. Temperatures are even being read before entering Shunfengshan Park, which is slightly baffling as it’s a big green open space! As far as I know, tourist spots are also still closed to the public.
My apartment building is keeping track of who lives in each apartment and who is visiting, and access to the building has been restricted from one side of the street. In general, movement is being closely monitored and hygiene is being taken very seriously.
I have been working and completing training online, making pretty slow progress compared to if I had been at my school getting practical experience. The company (EF) have been really supportive, updating us all with vital information, sending us care packages and masks, and having weekly calls with all the staff to check how we are all coping. Two people that I know of (probably many more country-wide) have left China and the job to go home to relative safety.
However, the statistics are now showing that China is recovering rapidly from the epidemic, while the rest of world appears to be getting worse.
Over half the cases (almost 90,000) have recovered, and the number of deaths have been decreasing and have only just hit 3,000. Most of these are still people who are over 60 and have a history of medical (specifically lung/chest) problems. While this is still a significant number, the attitude in China is becoming much more positive and hopeful.
I still don’t know when I will be back to work properly, but I hope it’s soon as I am desperate to get into the classroom and starting gaining real experience as an EFL teacher.
Being cooped up inside my apartment for so long has been very difficult at times, but I have tried to keep a really positive attitude and socialise with other foreigners whenever I can. I’ve been out hiking, taught myself origami, read many many books, binge watched 4 seasons of Outlander, and become a plant mom.
It has certainly given me a fresh outlook on life and my career; it has made me consider a Plan B, C, D etc and I have realised that there are so many things wildly out of my control, and that is OK. I just have to learn to go with the flow, take good care of myself, and keep a smile on my face. I know that I will look back on this experience in 50 years time and be really proud of myself for sticking it out and learning from it.
For everyone reading who is worried about it all, just keep plodding on and stay safe!
Lots of love xxx