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  • Shanghai Expat Assoc

Life in the time of COVID-19

This is part one in a series of articles about how our members, both in Shanghai and abroad, are coping with life in Shanghai during COVID-19.

Jiayou, Wuhan! Jiayou, China!

Some personal thoughts in an unknown situation

by Margrit Amelunxen

We finally returned to Shanghai ten days ago after a slightly extended holiday, and it immediately struck me at the airport - there was literally no one. Later, on the record-breaking fast trip home - no one in the streets. It was the same when we braved our first trip to the supermarket next door - no one on the usually vivid square.

To me it seemed that our wonderful, lively, often pushy, chaotic, crowded, but always colorful Shanghai was holding its breath and had come to a sudden standstill.

And, so have we. I don’t want to go out right now. Maybe it is because I have only been back for a week and do not feel any cabin fever yet – a weird expression to use in times like these, right?

My home is my castle” has never felt truer than these days. I am even glad that my ayi is still unable to leave her province, so I do not need to decide if I am willing to let an “intruder” breach my castle walls after the required home quarantine. Our clinics are closed, as are all private clinics, so I am working from home. But no real need exists for promoting services that are unavailable and probably, nobody would want to ask for them right now.

I can’t say I’m bored, though. It is a whole mad circle of washing, ironing, cleaning, cooking, trying to get all the things you need online, which makes me feel like the mythological Sisyphus - once I have finished my chores, it is time to start all over again.

I work out at home every day, post on my blog, chat with friends and colleagues, try to not be too addicted to following every single news feed and updated statistics. Home is cozy, there is no shortage of food and wine. So far, I’m still good. Yet, I dearly wish I would wake up from this nightmare and my old Shanghai was back, even if it meant commuting in packed rush hour metros where no one shares my personal concept of private space. Because this would mean, it is no longer dangerous to be among people, and we could start to pick up our lives again.

Margrit Amlunxen has been living in Shanghai for over five years. She is the mother of two young men who are abroad and is responsible for PR and Marketing for DDS Dental Care in Shanghai. Margrit is also an SEA General Board Member and chairs the Newcomers committee.

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