Where to start....
First off, let's start 6 weeks ago. I left Beijing, China on January 19th for Paris, France for the Lunar New Year holiday. The plan was to spend two weeks in Europe with H2 (my best friend) and my mom.
When I landed in Paris, there were 47 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, all in Wuhan, China. While in France, H2 and I kept a mild eye on the news (only because BBC was the only English language channel in our hotel) but we were obviously more focused on drinking as many cappuccinos as possible, Disneyland Paris and seeing SO MUCH amazing art.
When we left Paris on the train to Brussels five days later, there were almost 3,000 cases.
At this point, I was a little worried about going back to Beijing. We didn't know anything about the virus and I have crummy lungs (fun fact: I've had bronchitis five times in the last 10 years!). However, I again didn't think too much about it because I was heading to London to spend a week with my mom! There were now 6,000 cases, still mostly all in Wuhan.
Mom and I did every stereotypical tourist thing possible: cheap live theatre, visiting Stonehenge and doing the Harry Potter studio tour.
Just to make things even more surreal...
We were there at Westminster Abby during Brexit, entirely on accident, walking to our hotel from the theatre.
It is January 31st, there are now over 12,000 cases throughout China.
I was scheduled to fly back to Beijing but less than 48 hours before I was supposed to leave, my flight (and many others) was canceled. I was waiting for guidance from my school but they (again, like many others) were trying to figure out what to do about schools.
I made the decision (with help from my mom) to fly back to Washington state until there is a clear plan.
It is February 6, there are over 30,000 cases.
I'm home for less than a day, very jet lagged, trying to figure out how to live out of a carry-on suitcase that was packed with the intention of only being needed for two weeks...
..and I get a message from my principal: everyone not in China should go to Seoul, South Korea. So, February 12th, six days since getting to the US, I'm back on a plane to Seoul.
There are now 60,000 cases and cases are emerging in more and more countries. However, South Korea seemed to have everything under control.
My fellow teachers and I were taken to a leadership retreat place (I think, still not completely sure what is going on at this point) where we began teaching online and planning to try and have students arrive in person. About 100 or so of our students are from South Korea.
... and then Daegu's cases jump to hundreds in a day. With being able to travel internationally becoming questionable, realizing that we'd be online for the foreseeable future, I got permission to come back to the US, to my hometown.
It is now March 7th at this point and I've stopped counting the number of cases.
So now I'm in Washington again, the virus seems to have followed me here, I'm laying low, still living out of my carry-on suitcase and spending all my time teaching online and drawing on my new Wacom drawing display. I'm guessing I'll be here until the restrictions on foreigners entering China decreases but if I've learned anything during all this, its that life changes all the time and it changes quickly!
Stay safe and stay healthy everyone!