Expats Surviving the China Virus

Being on self imposed quarantine/lockdown is quite boring but several of us who remained here for the holiday are making the best of it!


The air quality has been in the “very unhealthy” zone, I guess due to the factories firing back up to mass produce much needed masks, so in addition to the virus, that adds to the frustration and confusion of people (mostly westerners) living here. We are able to see internet reports of what’s going on in the rest of the world, and I can see Good Morning America on Hulu but it is two days behind.

I’m on the 15th floor of building 36, my friend Heather is on the 18th floor.  We spend


locals stocking up on vegetables

 a lot of time going up and down in the elevator, some times in our pajamas.  She has a one year old little boy and I get to watch and play with him while she goes and walks her dogs.  I know they are on their way to my apartment when I hear loud music in the hallway because he likes to push the buttons on his little red riding truck.  Often we will go down to the lower level and push him back and forth on his little red truck until he becomes bored and lays his head on the steering wheel. Even one year olds are bored here.

empty shelves at the market

Beyond that, I have been baking and cooking, both of which have been disastrous.  It is  difficult to convert ounces to milliliters , teaspoons to grams, etc. not having the proper measuring utensils and trying to bake in the little toaster oven makes it a challenge.

Other than that, I’ve walked to the grocery store(s) mostly out of curiosity. I have picked up a few things (to stock up) just in case.  Fresh produce is flying off the shelves quickly.  I could not find chicken today but beef was plentiful.  I must be careful of refrigerated items, as my fridge is a tiny little thing and I can not buy too much, or it won’t fit inside.

I had considered purchasing some veggies but didn’t want to wait in the line that was snaking around the produce department and was getting longer by the moment. (see video below)

The fruit line wasn’t as long so I got bananas and blueberries.  I filled my bag with other items as well.  Again, being careful because whatever I buy, I have to carry home and it is about a mile walk.

I ran into other friends who were scoping the area and trying to escape the boredom of being cooped up inside.  Our faces were covered with our masks which looked like it could be a memorable “kodak moment.”  I gave my phone to Steve for a selfie. 

expat selfie at the market

A nice Chinese couple walked by and gestured if we would like them to take the photo.  Steve started to hand the phone over and the rest of us were waving our hands back and forth saying, “NO, NO, NO, NO.” 

They stood there staring at us for a bit and said, “Ok, ok, ”  and walked off.  Normally, I would have wanted someone to take the photo. But not with the virus.

Who knows when they washed their hands last? What if they sneezed on my phone?  Anyway, we got the photo without their help but it was a nice offer.

Getting back into our compound is becoming more of a challenge as only two entrances are unlocked now. They are limiting access to delivery people and are taking the body temperature  of everybody who comes to the building. My temperature registered 24.8’c as opposed to the normal 37’c so I wonder if the thermometers are even working?

Once inside, I immediately wash my hands and put all of my clothes, including my coat into the wash.  Shoes stay out in the hall. Then I settle into some Netflix or Hulu and just wait until I hear the little red truck outside my door.  Until next time, be healthy and happy, life sucks if you let it, so don’t let it!  If you have any updates on the virus, please feel free to share with me.


About cessley

I am a bereaved parent. I write to give hope to other bereaved parents who are fresh in their grief. I want them to know life begins again. It (life) is forever changed, as are you, but one day, you will smile again. You may travel, you will make new friends, your heart will mend, though never heal and it will be a painful ride. It is one step at a time....sometimes, even one breath to the next is all we can seem to live through each day. But each day will be a new beginning, a different beginning, a different you. I have two surviving children: Amy, who is married to Brandon, and they have one daughter, Avery, and one son, Dylan. and Eric who is a doctor and is Clifton's twin brother. Clifton passed away when he was nearly two years old. As any bereaved parent knows, it is tough, REALLY tough trying to live after the death of a child. I lived in Shanghai, China for three years after the death of my son, and then lived in Beijing for two years. I am discovering life again, one step at a time. I returned to Oklahoma in February , 2020 due to the uncertainty of the virus. Little did I know the uncertainty would follow me across the ocean. This is nothing compared to the death of a child. I will survive! View all posts by cessley

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