Freedom! Yay!!

Having just completed week#9 of what is one of the longest and strictest mass incarcerations in history we are hopeful that the end is near. Word on the street is that all of Shanghai will open up 1st June (Wednesday). Some people are already out in districts with no covid whatsoever, they are largely on the other side of the river.

Last week we had 2 ‘freedom’ passes which allowed one person per household out for 3 hours. It was all carefully monitored and we had to take an antigen test at the gate which needed to be negative to get back in!!

I went to school on the Wednesday and it was sad to see what happens when a campus is untended for over 2 months.

Weeds are so tough and resilient

Grass is also getting very long. it means that the insect life has thrived and we have seen way more butterflies than normal. The kids in our compound have had great fun trying to catch them.

Theses are our normally well manicured lawns

On Saturday I went to Carrefour and met up with my good friend Leping. It was so nice to see her after all this time but more importantly she was able to help me with shopping. Largely we struggle to know what is what inside packages. Or which yoghurt is with/without sugar etc. I now know a lot more. it was a rush though as we had to queue up for about 40 minutes to get in, shop and be back within our time slots. We also had to wear plastic gloves inside the shop which became extremely hot but I’m not complaining. It was great to be able to choose our own food again.

And look what we can now buy (if we so desire)

I am reading to 4 little girls in our compound every day. They are loving it and it is nice for me to be with children again and not just seeing them on a screen.

Story time

The parents wanted to pay me, like a private tutor but our contracts forbid that. I would be in breach of the Chinese visa regulations. I can however accept gifts of food at this time.

The parents have been SO generous and I am now extremely well stocked with fresh veg. So much so that I can’t fit any else in the fridge!

An example of the parents’ generosity

One of the little girls is not a Concordia student. She and her family were visiting Shanghai from Shenzhen when the lockdown happened. Our compound also has hotel suites. The poor family has been trapped here all this time. Dora’s school is meeting in person so she cannot attend online learning as our kids do. Her father is so grateful that she is at least getting something.

With all the fresh veg we have been having some unusual but healthy meals (which is good because the lack of decent exercise has resulted is a few lockdown pounds). Here are some of the dishes we have had.

Stir fried cucumber and sausage meat
Garlic chives, peppers and pork

It is also asparagus season so I have made some lovely soup.

The packaging does annoy me though. So much plastic. I though Thailand was bad but this is worse

All that just for a courgette!!!!

I was gifted these this week

Waxberries apparently. A new one on me!

After over 9 weeks confinement, many in extremely cramped accommodation people are in one of two places. Either like tightly coiled springs just waiting to burst forth and get some exercise. Or they have become fearful of the outside world. They are scared of getting covid and reluctant to return to normal life. This mental scarring will have repercussions long into the future.

I heard of one 70 year old lady who got covid (asymptomatic) but nevertheless she was taken to a quarantine facility. She lives alone with her beloved pet dog. In this case they let her take the dog and he was a great comfort to her during the two weeks of boredom. Then they were released home. Everyone who has had covid is subjected to ‘disinfecting’. Basically they come in and spray everything in your apartment, inside your wardrobes. Everything. 20 minutes later the dog was dead. Whatever chemicals they used were too strong for his little lungs.

This afternoon we got confirmation that a new testing system will be in place. We need to have a NAT test every 72 hours. We all have a Health code on our phones which must be shown to travel or get into places

Now the code counts down the hours since the last NAT test

Testing booths have been established all over the city. 9000 I believe and each one has 2 persons inside and 2 guards to manage the queues. Every one is within 15 minutes walk of a testing point. So as our codes only had 4 hours left on them we went out to find our local one.

We only had to queue for about 20 minutes.

Going forwards I can see this becoming part of our daily life.

On our little walk we saw a few places opening up. One was a hair salon. Obviously they are going to be in great demand. Kevin is lucky that I cut his hair and we have clippers at home. Some people had to resort to more creative solutions…

Still we were happy to be out together. Yay.

Of course, what happens if covid cases surge again remains to be seen. Watch this space. 

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