East vs West

Mad Chaos: January 24, 2020 – Chinese Spring Festival In Quarantine

I poured soy sauce over steamed rice rolls and ate immediately.  My wife took care of our son at that time.

To make life more palatable while self-quarantined at home, I used WeChat Wallet (微信支付宝)to pay 25元 for access to the VIP channels on TV.  This allowed us to watch any premium movies we liked.

Knowing we would not be able to celebrate New Years with her relatives, instead, we sat down on the couch and watched the Spring Festival gala TV show together eating watermelon.  I appreciated that our family is at home and safe.

During the show, I came down onto the floor and played with my son.  I was laying down like a turtle spinning around.  He froze as he stared, and then laughed at me.

Celebrating Chinese Spring Festival As A New Family

Soon, my WeChat became flooded with wishes of Happy New Year.  It was a surreal moment because I knew most of these people would also be stuck at home too.

While my wife was wishing everyone Happy New Year on her phone, I asked, “Did you get money for New Years from anybody?”

Grimly, she stopped feverishly typing, to reveal, “No, I didn’t.”

I sent a red envelope (红包) to her WeChat to cheer her up.

“Check mine.  I sent you maybe a dollar,” I grinned.

She checked, to see she had received 88.88元.

Developing A Cold Sweat

We enjoyed ourselves watching the gala and talking to relatives and friends online.  After I had eaten I started to get cold sweats.  The back of my head was cold and wet.

I went to have a shower.  I changed my shirt because it had sweat on it.

When I came back from the shower I ate the second steamed rice roll (斋肠).  I started to feel a bit dizzy.  I got worried.

I thought, “Maybe I have contracted some virus.”  My wife also worried.

My second shirt began to get sweaty in a short period of time as well, so I was paranoid maybe I caught a cold.

“Hey, I am sweating,” I raised the alarm.

She said, “Yeah, our son is sweating too.”

With some urgency I started to panic , thinking, “Do I have coronavirus or a flu that I contracted outside?”

I checked my temperature, surprised it came back low, around 35.3 degrees.

My wife mentioned, “Maybe it is from the food you just ate?”

I said, “Our son could be sick because we took him out yesterday too.”

She said, “It does not matter where it comes from.  You could have a virus.  We need to keep us protected, so you should wear a mask.  Go have another rest.”

Isolation Around Family Members

I went into the study room and put on my mask.  I had a Panadol.

I isolated myself from my son for a while to check whether my symptoms got worse.

My wife soon came into the study room and gave me cold and flu medicine from China.

She watched a premium movie, and then had to get our son to sleep.

I rested for a while in the study room.  The symptoms died down.  They since have not come back but a small, nagging problem in the left side of my throat remains.  Whether this turns into something more serious only time will tell.

The Coronavirus Epidemic Affecting Chinese Hometown Reunions

Some time later my wife became seated on the couch to watch a second movie, The Upside with Nicole Kidman.  I decided to join her.

As our night wound down, we lightly discussed the events around the coronavirus epidemic.

I asked, “Who ended up going to your hometown?”

In a dry tone, similar to how Nicole Kidman acted in the movie, she replied, “Nobody went.”


“Yeah, everyone stayed home because of the virus.”

I pressed, “No, seriously, who went?”

“My mom didn’t go.  She stayed in Hong Kong.  But my auntie and my grandmother went.”

When I heard that I felt better.  I did not feel like I would get blamed for the coronavirus stopping our trip to her hometown, and my wife and her whole family took this coronavirus epidemic seriously.

Scenes In China During The Coronavirus

Soon, she mentioned, “I am hungry.  I feel like eating ice cream.”

To make her happy, I donned a mask and walked in the bitter cold down lonely streets searching for a convenience store.

I passed a scatter of people coming out of late night restaurants (宵夜).

One girl was crouched down alone on the sidewalk near the zebra crossing, playing a game on her mobile phone while frosty winds blew all around.

A few kids were running around on the street, seemingly intoxicated and festive as they celebrated the New Year.

It made me feel bad to see festive people at 3am knowing my wife missed out on many of the same festivities and time together with her relatives and friends.

I arrived to a lone 7/11 convenience store a few blocks up the road.  Nothing else was open tonight.

On the return walk home I noticed a cat perched on a roof by itself.  I smirked, thinking, “This cat knows how to isolate itself from other cats.”

I soon returned home with ice-cream to a happy wife.  We contently watched the movie.  We soon began to hear our son cry in the bedroom.

I told her, “I am going to sleep in the study room because I am sick.”

She huffed, “Alright then.”  Then she went to breastfeed our son.

Diary Of A Mad Chaos: Coronavirus In China
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