After returning to Shanghai at the end of March (a week before the borders closed to foreigners), I spent two weeks in a hotel being quarantined. Truth be told it wasn’t that bad and I felt lucky to have had the privilege of mandatory quarantine given the state of the world right now. Life has slowly transitioned back to a new “normal” in Shanghai with the opening of Kindergartens at the beginning of June. Other grades had resumed prior and they slowly phased in lower grades. So what does life in Shanghai look like now? When I look at the rest of the world, I know I’m one of the lucky ones who has returned to work and able to go out and about.
I have been hesitant to write a post about this with the fear I could jinx something and the city would shut down. 2020 has done some strange things to people and altered the way we think and go about our lives. China has still kept its borders closed to foreign citizens (unless you are a diplomat or have very rare clearance to return). There is no telling when borders will open again. China has done a remarkable job managing the virus and I don’t blame them for wanting to keep their borders closed. After the peak and Chinese New Year, the only cases being brought into the city were from international flights so it makes sense to shut that down. I don’t foresee China opening its borders until the world has a better handle on the virus and political relationships are mended.
1. So what is life in China like now? Yes people are still wearing masks, but it isn’t mandatory everywhere like before. It is required on the metro.
2. When you enter most restaurants there is usually a temperature check they do on you. Some ask for you to show your QR code to show that it’s green. When I first arrived in China, my QR code was red and became green after I did my 2 weeks of quarantine. A green code means you haven’t been in contact recently with someone whose been diagnosed with the virus and you don’t have the virus. China has remarkable tracking capacities.
3. So what does it look like in schools? After teaching online classes March-April, the kindergartens got the clear to open in June. The kids have their temperature checked by infrared and also by thermometer every day when they arrive at school. Their parents fill out information daily about the family members temperatures and any new travel history. The kids aren’t required to wear masks in schools. As teachers, we wear a mask that is clear and is more like what I would consider a food guard style. That way the kids can still see our faces. Two months of this and it has faded and we don’t wear masks all the time.
4. Yes there was social distancing, but I truly believe that China has this under control. My gym has been open since April. It started with limited people being allowed at a time with constant cleaning and then slowly that eased up. The “outbreak” in Beijing was quickly handled and they had hundreds of thousands (if not millions) tested within the week from the incident. Because China is not letting foreigners into the country, the numbers are remaining stable.
I have no idea how America is going to handle opening schools. Shanghai was cautious to open schools and did so in waves starting with the oldest grades. At first my school had no after school classes so classes wouldn’t mix and had protocols were out in place if any showed sign of even a fever. My amazing class is graduating today and I am off to celebrate with them!
I returned from the Philippines a few weeks ago, and have been crazy busy getting ready to go on my Chinese New Year Holiday. I know, not real life problems. The trip was not what I expected in any way, but I wanted to share some beautiful photos and some of the experiences I had. Pictures above is Kawasan Falls right outside of Cebu!
The Christmas season is here and I am on vacation in Philippines as I write! It was a crazy first two weeks of December that involved an unexpected move! I loved my past apartment, but after deliberation with my roommates and landlord we decided not to re-sign. It was an amazing place to call home for a little over a year and I’ll miss that place a lot! However, I am super excited and loving my new place. I have my own apartment in the Former French Concession. It is in a lane house with creaky stairs and only a block away from my yoga studio and gym! Amidst moving I also was working like an energizer bunny on work for the students while I’m on holiday and preparing for our Christmas party. The foreign teachers go on holiday in December and our school hosts Chinese science week! The kids love it. So here’s our super fun holiday party!
This past week, we took a class trip to an organic farm. Our school has a fall and spring outing and my coworkers warned me prior that it is one of the most tiring days of the year. Very accurate! This farm was about 40 minutes from the school on the Pudong side of Shanghai. We had a wonderful day and it reminded me of all the amazing field trips I had growing up!
Surprise I’m 25! On my birthday, my coworkers totally surprised and pranked me! They had a decoy cake on the morning followed by a prank in the afternoon where they told me our December holiday was canceled. I actually was fine and said I would be gone no matter what. Ha! Needless to say, I had a great day and wonderful dinners with friends. 25 feels so good and I’ve had an amazing year. Here are 25 memories that I have loved and will cherish forever. And I truly believe the best is yet to come! Cheers to 25.
Yes it is still raining rainbows and sunshine in Shanghai! It’s been a while since I’ve posted so there’s no time like the present going to work on the metro! I am still loving life here and so many exciting (and exhausting) things have been happening! This picture above is our class picture. Look how cute they all are in their white polos.
The school year is in motion and I am loving my class of 20 interesting, funny, smart, and energetic students! We are the Zebra class and are settling into our daily routines and having so much fun getting to know each other. Here we are at circle time playing a guess the word game with one kid acting it out. We have a lot to do everyday and these kids are just so amazing. They all know each other and have been coming to the school for 2-3 years since they were little babies! This really is such an incredible age.
I took an incredible three day trip to see the Rainbow Mountains which are a geological phenomenon! I planned this trip Sunday night and left Tuesday morning. I’ve had this past week off post-summer camp and pre-school year. My passport is currently at the bureau to transfer my work visas which means I can only travel within China! If I had my passport I would’ve left the country, but I’m so glad I had this opportunity to visit another corner of China! I stayed in a yurt for two nights, gazed at stars and decompressed from the insanity of city life in Shanghai. Currently I am in Xi’an for the day before I head back to Shanghai.