“Living” Through It

What do you do when you’re sick of reading about nCoV? When you’re bored, cooped up, and flooded with queries from loved ones I think the best thing you can do is… blog.

A lot has changed in the past few days. The constant barrage from my news feeds, first hand reports, and personal experiences have made for some angsty moments. But a daily family vote means that we’re seeing it through (for now). Let me catch you up.


School/Work

Schools are closed until further notice. Most international schools will begin online learning on Monday February 3rd. WAB has things in place and we’re ready to go. It won’t be perfect. But it’s all we can do.

Last weekend, our school gave the OK for teachers to leave Beijing. This option has caused another layer of stressful conversations in the Langlands’ home. But more on that later.

WAB is allowing the community to come on campus from 10-11 am to get supplies and tools they may need for online learning. You can only get on to campus under tight restrictions. Before walking in the security gate, we masked up, showed school ID, had our temperature checked, and completed documents that notified the ministry about our travel movements during the Chinese New Year holiday. This measure will permanently end on February 3rd and campus will be on complete lockdown.


Our Village/Life

Our village community is normally open with multiple entry points and small alleyways snaking throughout. All but two have now been barricaded. At the two that remain open sit a security team and the occasional guy in a hazmat suit. They are checking temps and IDs. This caught me off guard yesterday and all I wanted to do was pack a suitcase and get out. 

I’ve calmed down since then.

This is our lockdown

The village is doing a lot to keep people safe. If you show symptoms of the flu, you are encouraged (read: required) to self-quarantine. At that point, the village governance will provide food to your home for 14 days. On our way to school yesterday, my friend took a picture of us crossing the red carpet. If you read the picture details you can learn more about the protocols that are hiding in plain sight.

Today, the grocery stores and veggie market proprietors reopened as their anticipated Chinese New Years celebrations ended.


Our Life/Beyond the Wall

For the last few nights, we’ve been meeting friends for dinner or drinks at local establishments. Some restaurants are staying closed because of staffing issues as staff haven’t returned from their government mandated Chinese New Year extension. The ones that are open are taking extra precautions to keep everyone safe. A benefit to some restaurants being closed, you can often pick up some fabulous produce from those that have set up tables outside. They would rather sell off their stock than see it go to waste.

One of our favorite Craft Breweries is now adding security measures to their ads.

A Lesson/Don’t Always Believe the Hype

When you watch the news or read an article online, I’m not sure you’re getting the full truth. I don’t know what life is like in the epicenter of Wuhan, but here is my lesson on perspective.

When I went to the grocery store yesterday, there are some shelves that are completely empty and huge gaps where the hand sanitizer once stood. I took a picture of the empty freezer cases but if I chose to show you only that, I would change the narrative. Because turning the corner to the 2nd freezer case–there was an abundance of food. It was all strewn about and disorganized so I’m thinking, maybe the freezer cases are just broken for some reason. But I wanted to show you that it’s not as dire as it sounds on the news. In all honesty, there is an abundance of fresh breads, milk, fruit, and veg. We wont starve any time soon!


Our Choice/Conversation Topics

Every day, the group of “staying teachers” seems to get a bit smaller. Some will stay. Some will go. For each family, there are so many factors to consider. For ours, here are some things we discuss daily.

  1. When will we be coming back?
  2. Should we buy tickets for a few weeks in Bali to wait this out? Or do we go home and stay with friends and family for a few months? If you don’t know the answer to #1, you can’t answer #2.
  3. Where should we go if we need to be available to kids between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm, Beijing time?
  4. What will be open today, tomorrow, and long term?
  5. What does the next step of government protection/mandatory closures/quarantine look like?
  6. What if more airlines stop flying out of Beijing? Will we be able to get out?
  7. What do we with our dog?
  8. How do we stay mentally healthy?

Our Opinions/Life Decisions

We are healthy and confident that we are doing what needs to be done to stay safe. So, at present, we’re staying. We’re washing our hands, wearing masks, avoiding large crowds, going on walks, and being social. We’re going out with friends again tonight and planning on taking advantage of Beijing’s traffic desert by exploring on bike and foot.


Final Thoughts/Small Moments

For now, we’re using the tips that our school counselors sent out in an effort to avoid cabin fever.

An excerpt from a fabulous message WAB sent from the school counselors

That’s all we can do.

Laugh…

This is a picture our friend, Stephen Taylor, took to show some measures
people are taking to keep their kids safe. Look VERY closely!

… and blog!