It’s vaccination day! Well, almost…sort of…kind of….possibly. We received an email saying we needed to sign up-for which one? Who knows? We know it’s local and it could be one of two. We know we pretty much have to have it because the government says so. Other than that…it’s anyone’s guess. Here’s what we do know: on Thursday morning, we will head out to get the vaccine. Three weeks later, we’ll go for the final dose.
It’s been a long year-for everyone, I know. I remember heading off to Chinese New Year break and the nurse at school running up with a bag of masks and hand sanitizer. I laughed and he said, “No, really. Wear these on the plane. Change them frequently. There’s a virus in Wuhan and it’s serious.” See, this is the place where SARS shut down the country years ago. Here in China, we don’t mess around with viruses. Masks are handed out and 100% of people wear them. We are told to stay home and everyone stays home. So off we went, armed, as we walked into the airport.
Once we landed in Dubai, off came the masks. Upon arriving in Oman, it was as if we were in a different world. No masks, no hand sanitizers, no fear. I’d like to say we forgot about the virus, but the situation was rapidly escalating in China and so we were glued to our phones throughout our trip. It was the final few days in Oman where we received the message that school would begin online in just a few days. Teachers were fleeing Beijing and we were contemplating whether we take our flight back the next day, or stay away as so many had suggested. Ultimately, we flew to France and had a few lovely days with family. Three days of online learning keeping Beijing hours wore us down and we hopped back on the plane to return to Beijing.
Arriving in Beijing, the city seemed to be at rest. Everything was closed, no one was out on the streets, the cars were parked. I remember feeling hopeful that in a few weeks, all would be back to normal. Here we are over a year later, conducting conferences online. But in two days, things will begin to turn around again. It’s almost vaccination day!