Luckily I wasn’t as affected as others, because I was in Thailand and Cambodia for about seven weeks during the most difficult time in China. But as China began to win the battle, I headed back in case the students were asked to return to university. Cambodia had less than 100 cases at the time, so I was confident I would not be a danger to others.
I booked a flight for March 26. However, this flight was cancelled, so I booked another for the following day. The price was higher than usual, with a one-way flight costing 1600RMB. However, as more and more flights were being cancelled the price rose to over 9000rmb, so I was very happy with my very cheap ticket! I was very worried this flight would also be cancelled, or that I wouldn’t be allowed on to the plane. However, everything was fine. But I was told that instead of changing flights in Xiamen to return to Nanjing, I would need to quarantine for 14 days in Xiamen. They were very honest and clear about what will happen, and said I could stay in Cambodia if I preferred. But I wanted to come back, so was willing to accept whatever was required.
The flight landed at 4pm in Xiamen. The airport was empty, so everything was done quickly. There were temperature checks, and a DNA sample was taken, and there were many forms to fill in detailing information such as where I had come from to the seat number on the flight. I and the other passengers were then driven to a hotel near the airport, and our health codes were checked. We were then told which hotels we would stay in for the next 14 days, and I would have to pay by myself . That was more than I thought it would be, but I had no choice.
And so the 14 day quarantine began. To be honest, it wasn’t a bad experience. I had online classes to teach to students I still have never met. But I enjoyed the experience and the classes are still going well. Luckily the hotel allowed me to order food from outside. I would order enough food for 2 days. The hotel didn’t want to help me reheat the food when I needed it, so I got creative, took the lid off the kettle, and steamed the food in coffee cups! It worked very well, and I had hot food whenever I wanted it.
The 14 days passed pretty quickly, but the last 2 days were the longest, as I was getting excited about being free again. The only thing I had seen of Xiamen was the view of an apartment building and a construction site from my window. I was told I could leave at 9pm on Friday April 10th, and I left exactly on time. Everything went smoothly and was very fast. I paid for the room, and received my green code of freedom. I stayed in Xiamen for 4 more days just to taste the sea air and have at least a few days of going outside. I didn’t know if I would have to quarantine again in Nanjing when I arrived.
But I arrived in Nanjing this evening, Tuesday April the 14th, and to my surprise, after the flight attendant helped me to put my information onto Alipay, and I received another green code, I walked out of the airport without any more checks. Now I’m back in my apartment and after cooking myself a meal for the first time in two months, I’m enjoying a bottle of red wine.
I’m worried about my mother in England, as there has been a slow response to the pandemic there. I call her very often, but she is doing really well, and keeping to the rules. I think my experience in China helped her become confident that there was little danger as long as you are considerate and follow the rules. I just wish everyone else would realize this is the only way to win this war. If country the size of China can do it, I think everyone can do it.
(作者：南广学院国际学院教师、原英国文化教育协会雅思考官 戴维.莫里（英国） 翻译：吴杨、朱怡雯（南广国际学)