East vs West

Mad Chaos: February 5, 2020 – Working From Home During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Today, is our fourteenth consecutive day of self-quarantine in Guangzhou (广州市) due to the coronavirus (冠状病毒).

I woke up this morning to a loud noise outside our apartment complex.  Peering out the window, I saw a police car with a mounted loudspeaker blaring announcements in Chinese.

I asked my wife, “What are they saying?”

She said, “They are telling people to wear their face masks when going outside.  It is dangerous outside.  There is a novel coronavirus outbreak.”

Government reports indicated new cases of people infected with coronavirus were recently found in Haizhu district (海珠区) where we live.

Teaching Mandarin Classes Online During Quarantine

As my wife prepared to begin the first of two online Mandarin classes with her Chinese students, I ducked downstairs to the convenience store to stock up on potato chips.

Soon, my wife started her two-hour Mandarin class in the study room.  I took our son to the living room, where we played for an hour.  I unfolded the quilt to keep us warm, turned Peta Pig on TV, and placed chips into his small hand one by one, which he slowly ate.

He began to tire as he ran around the house.  When he cried I quietly sat him in my arms, sang him a song, and rocked him for ten minutes until he closed his eyes and drifted to sleep.  Relieved to have a break, we napped together in the bedroom for the next few hours.

Soon, my wife finished her online Mandarin classes.  In her two-hour break before her second Mandarin class I faintly heard her busy herself in the living room.  When our baby woke up, she took him into the living room, allowing me to build on the 3.5 hours sleep I had last night.

Relatives Make An International Call From Australia

A call on my mobile phone soon woke me up.  I was surprised to see it was an international call from my mother in Australia.  This is the first time she has ever called me overseas while in China.

I picked up the phone.

Concerned, she asked, “How is everything?  Is everything okay?  We are worrying about you here.  We see everything on the news.  It looks very bad.”

I began to explain the whole coronavirus outbreak situation in China, “Security check our temperatures on the street.  If someone is sick they will be taken to hospital.  It is very serious over here in China.  We are self-quarantined and we have not been out of the house for two weeks now.”

I mentioned my plan to book new airplane tickets for my family of three to return to Australia on March 1, 2020.

My mom offered, “If you ever need the money just let us know and we will send the money to you straight away.”

I asked how the situation in Australia is.  She spoke to me on this overseas number for ten minutes.  Then we hung up the phone.

Teaching A Second Mandarin Class Online

The online Mandarin classes provided our family with some routine today.  Despite the coronavirus outbreak, my wife was still able to pick up work as a Mandarin teacher, as I played househusband for the time she closed the study room door to do her job.

For the next two hours until 4:30pm my wife taught Mandarin to her high school student.  I played with our son in the living room and ate the food and drink my wife had prepared while I napped.  Both of us were exhausted however.

Face Mask Replenishment For All The Relatives

When she finished her second and final class, she mentioned, “My brother has brought some face masks for us.  He drove all the way to our hometown today to pick them up.”

I was dumbfounded by the lengths that people are going to in order to obtain face masks in China.

She added, “My fourth auntie paid thousands of dollars to order masks.  They want to give some face masks to us and the baby.  My brother drove over to pick them up, and then he will drive back to deliver them to us and our relatives.”

I said, “That is really nice of him to do.”

Optimistically, she asked, “Do you want to have dinner with him tonight?”

Slightly frowning, I said, “But it is the middle of the coronavirus outbreak.”

She gave me a blank look.

I continued, “Alright, we can go out for an hour, have dinner together, and then come home.”

Diary Of A Mad Chaos: Coronavirus In China
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