Shanghai, Covid-19 and Returning to “Normal.”

Checking into my quarantine hotel.

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.

With some of my coworkers at a bbq before schools opened

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.

Biking the next day after my 14 day hotel quarantine!

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.

Individual QR code.

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.

What online teaching for 2 months looked like! Different sessions with about 4-6 kids for each. They had a chinese and English class. We also sent other enriching videos for exercise, phonics, and based on our theme.

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.

The clear face mask the teachers used.

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.

Celebrating birthdays with my students on an outing before in-person teaching and schools resumed.

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!

Just my latest thoughts 🙂

Kaila

Christmas Season Abroad

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!

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25 Memories for Turning 25

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.

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Zebra Class: Life in Shanghai

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.

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The Rainbow Mountains of China in Zhangye, Gansu Province (and Xi’an)

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.

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Summer Camp Creativity!

Whew! Our six weeks of summer camp is over and I am on vacation mode for a week before we have some preparation before the school year starts! I’ve had so much fun getting to know amazing kids. Some of them will be in my class next year which I am so excited for. Summer camp sessions were in 2 week increments. Some students were there for the whole 6 weeks while others came for 2 weeks. I did the theme “Travel Agency” twice and “School Cafe” once. The best and difficult part of summer camp is that the curriculum is so flexible and you can be really creative! I thought I would share some of my ideas for other teachers out there or families who want to craft with their kids!

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A Day in The Life

I always enjoy reading other people’s posts going through what their day looks like so I thought I would do my own! The summer schedule won’t be too different from the fall, but there are changes in the logistical parts of the school day and curriculum. Summer is much more laid back and less focused on specific primary preparation curriculums. For summer camp we also welcome kids from other schools around Shanghai.

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Zhangjiajie: 48 Hours and The Avatar Mountains

When I say 48 hours I really mean it! It was a blitz creek trip to one of the most amazing and beautiful places I have ever been. I had just completed my first week of my new job and was exhausted, but had planned this trip before I signed my new contract. I decided to go with a group as I wanted to take a break from planning and let someone else do it! There are pros and cons to group travel, but overall I am happy I decided to this time as the park is massive and I was able to make the most of my time with a guide. Not to mention the group I went with was a laugh and a half and we had a good time!

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