Looking up from my computer, I noticed Manfriend staring out the window.
“… What are you doing?”
“There’s people coming out!” he said, excitedly.
“Out of …”
“Of Wedome (a local bakery)!” he said. “I wonder if they have garlic bread. Let’s go check and see if they have garlic bread!”
“… So you want to get changed, gear up with masks and coats and gloves, and head outside, all for garlic bread?”
So went Day 6 of what’s been almost 12 days (as of this posting) of our self-imposed quarantine.
Now, I can’t imagine any of you have avoided China’s latest news. As of December 2019, a new virus appeared: the 2019-nCoV, or novel coronavirus. This virus first appeared in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, and is suspected to have stemmed from an unregulated wildlife market. Since its appearance, the virus has infected (or is suspected to have infected) tens of thousands, and has killed hundreds. (The numbers change daily, though, so you’ll need to check the latest news yourselves.)
Largely, the recent surges in the numbers of those affected have occurred throughout Spring Festival, one of the most important holidays in China. During this lunar new year celebration, businesses close and millions travel, often returning home to their family’s hometowns. As of now, this holiday has been extended twice, to help slow the movement of those millions, and further gain control of the virus.
Now, to be clear, Manfriend and I live in Beijing, about 655 miles from Wuhan. We’re not exactly next door.
But we’re living and working in a city with millions of others, in one of the biggest travel hubs in the country. That’s millions of reasons to still play it safe.
Take, for example, my note above about our quarantine being “self-imposed”. As of now, there has been no official directive to stay inside.
We’ve also donned masks when we go out for food, and cooked nearly everything ourselves. We’ve disinfected everything we bring home and obsessively washed our hands.
But hey, thanks to the holiday, we haven’t missed any work while living reclusively.
That’s something, though this has hardly been a relaxing little staycation.
Restlessness got the best of Manfriend. He’s used to being on the go, whirring through hectic workdays. And as our apartment is just the one room, he has lost his cool a bit.
I, a natural homebody, hadn’t really noticed.
For me, the hard part has been keeping calm.
I am, by nature, an anxious and emotional woman. I worry myself to bits over incredibly small things. So being constantly bombarded by pretty scary (though oftentimes completely inaccurate) articles, group chat conversations, and updates have taken their tolls on me.
*Cue yoga, meditation, and a whole lot of Netflix*
But through it all, Manfriend and I agree: This would have been so much worse alone.
So even though we’ve had heated discussions about the aforementioned garlic bread, and who gets to sit on the couch, we always come back to immense gratitude to have one another through it all.
Stay healthy, folks. We’ll be doing the same.
Follow Alexandra’s adventures overseas: coloradodaily.com/columnists. Stalk her: wildeyedandwandering.com.