Sunday, March 8, 2020

Out of China: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and Me

My husband was very concerned about the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the very beginning. I didn't want to talk about it! That was back in January. We had ordered visa's for a trip to China and we were to leave next week...March 19th. Tickets were purchased and we were making plans from a side trip to Bali. Needless to say, we changed our plans. As we all know, this disease is about to change more and more lives. It certainly has had an effect on ours. And the beat goes on.

My son and his wife plus our grandchildren live and work in China. Thankfully they are back in the states now.

We are grateful that they are out of Shenzhen and living temporarily in their condo in the Portland, Oregon. But the battle they had getting here was not easy. Getting out of the China without contracting the Coronavirus disease was the big victory. It was very much a worry for all of us.
Chinese back street. by b

I cannot tell you the full story because I honestly do not know it all. But from our end, this is what we saw.

When Chinese New Year came around, one of the
granddaughters went away with a group of her classmates to go skiing. The rest of the family went to Thailand for a break. It seemed as normal as their life can actually seem to us.

They were all good and then all "hell" broke loose. The Coronavirus reared its ugly head in Guangzhou to spread across China and the family was spread to the four winds.

My son flew to New York City on a job related trip.

My daughter-in-law and our oldest granddaughter went back to China. But the youngest was still in Switzerland.

And China shut down...period.

A couple of days later he youngest granddaughter got off the plane from her trip and was held in quarantine because she had caught a cold on the trip. Even though her mother was at the airport to meet her, they could not connect immediately. The experience scared the child half to death.

They live in very large city that bustles as only China can and suddenly the streets were totally empty. My daughter-in-law who was alone in China with the girls said it felt like Chernobyl must have felt after the nuclear accident there. Total isolation and all that entails with the two girls was mind bending.

Fast forward a week or so. After hunting down plane tickets, they caught the "last plane out". They left the dogs with an ayi (Chinese "auntie") and came to us in Arizona. My son came here from NYC so he met them at the airport. We just hugged the stuffing out of each one of them and breathed a sigh of relief. In spite of colds and exhaustion from stress, they were fine-ish. Sorta! We were elated at the miracle of having them all under our roof. It was wonderful. They were with us a few days before they returned to Portland.

Then reality began to sink in as it continues to do to this day. The girls continued with online learning because they had already begun in China when their school did not reconvene after their bread.  Teachers teach at a distance and the girls are spending endless hours learning on the computer discovering what would have taken a short time to learn in the classroom.

With each news cast we are beginning to wonder if this is the new reality of life for the foreseeable future.

It is not apparent yet if they will ever go back to their home in China. Eventually someone will have to go to to Shenzhen to direct the move to their next job. (Yes, there is a next job.)

The reality is the girls may never connect with their friends again. In the meantime, my son who is school head for Avenues of New York Shenzhen school and my daughter-in-law who is working for an international school in Shenzhen are now working from home. All day, 5 or 6 days a week.

After the shock wore off, we are all back in step with what is real now. They have gone back to Portland where they own a condo. We remain in Arizona doing what we do. All is well...almost.

My daughter-in-law broke her knee skiing on Mt. Hood but other than that....sigh. We are beginning to be a little jumpy as you can well imagine!

But, life goes on and what is, is! I feel very grateful at this particular point in our life. They are healing and we are fine. Life is good!

Enough already! Any drama in your life?



  1. Oh, my word! There's enough drama in your life for both of us. So glad they are out and safe! This is getting more and more terrifying every day!

    1. Yes, it truly is. We always fly home in the spring but this year....I don't know. We may drive and stay in small communities. We will see.

  2. I am so sorry your family is going through this.

  3. Thank you. We are fine and if you knew us you would know that this sort of thing is not unusual. We are pretty fearless in most cases. However, this virus has taken the concern to a whole new level. Thank heavens we have family! I am so grateful for that.

  4. oh I'm so glad. I wanted to ask you if they were here. I can't imagine how you feel.

    My niece, who teaches at Avenues/NY, was going to go to Paris and Roumania next week. Her mother was fine with Paris not so fine with Roumania. She and my brother in law basically forbade her from going though she lives a completely independent life and paid for the trip on her own. Sadly she also learned another lesson--never pay for anything over whatever with a debit card! I know she's only 25 but I had assumed. However if that's the worst that can happen....


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