During the Chines New Year, the sudden outbreak of Coronavirus “stuck” everyone inside the house! If you are thinking about staying at home means doing nothing, you are totally wrong! We asked few questions to our current au pairs in China and let's find out how their life looked like during this special time!
Q1: How did you spend the "self-quarantine" month with your host family? Is there any unforgettable story?
I spent about a month entirely on my own as my host family went on vacation and ended up getting stuck outside the country because of the virus. It was stressful at first but I learnt to appreciate the time by myself and now that they’re back, I definitely enjoy and appreciate their company so much more.
I spend the time just at home with my hostfamily. But it is still fun because I play a lot with the hostkids. For example we draw something or we read a lot and most of the time we just play. My hostmother showed me how to make dumplings.
This is one experience I will not forget because I love dumplings so much and it was so kind of her to show me and it was also a lot of fun. The dumplings tasted delicious. Since we can’t go out I couldn’t see a lot of Shanghai yet but last week my hostmother drove around Shanghai with me and showed me a lot of nice places and it was safe because we were sitting in a car. It was just like a touristbus tour. We also go outside in our compound and walk around or drive the bike. Since I just stay inside and hear everybody in the family talking Chinese I could even improve my Chinese. My hostmother also told me a lot of story’s about the Chinese history and that was really interesting.
Q2:Did you encount any difficulties during this period? If yes, How did you overcome that?
It was hard being on my own and having to do everything, from the laundry to dishes to cooking my own food. The whole experience made me very self reliant and I’m glad I went through it because it definitely pushed me out if my comfort zone and that’s exactly what I came to China for. I’ve also started to appreciate the little things like going outdoors and spending time with other people.
The only difficulty is that I can’t go out and just stay inside the whole time and play with the kid. And can get exhausting and boring but my hostmother always tries to help me and make me feel comfortable and not exhausted. I have a break everyday so I don’t have to work all the time and I just take care of one of the two kids and that’s much easier. My hostmother also showed me around Shanghai in the car so that i could go out and already see a bit of Shanghai. Last weekend she also took a walk with me in our district and showed me a lot of historic places and told me the story behind it. That was really interesting and nice. My hostfamily is really kind and nice to me so that I feel very comfortable and not too bored!
(My birthday cake made by my host family!)
It’s been pretty hard not being able to go outside for the past month but keeping my self busy with other things inside has helped. And I have been able to spend a lot more time with my host family and eat lots of delicious Chinese food and improve on my chopsticks skills.
Q3: What do you want to do most after the virus is under control?
As I just moved to Chongqing before the outbreak started, I haven’t got the chance to explore much. I can’t wait to go out and see the city, especially because it’s so beautiful during spring and eat a big bowl of xiaomien that Chongqing is famous for!
I promised a friend of mine to go shopping with her, and I want to take lots of walks once I can go outside again!
If I had more time here once the virus is under control I would go to a big grocery store first to get cheese since I haven’t had cheese in about a month and I miss it! 🤣
Q4: How do you see China/Chinese culture differently during this time?
I have a special appreciation for the people of China now, having seen them deal with this outbreak with so much strength and fortitude. It makes me proud to be able to call this country home for the little time that I'm here.
(I took this one on the first day I went out after being in the apartment for so long)
Not all that different tbh. Though I'm impressed by the swiftness of action.
Thank you all for sharing your experience with us. We see that the spring is not far away any more and we can all go outside and embrace the people, food, culture, and activities we love! To our friends all around the world, please stay well and we look forward to seeing you in the coming summer!