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Not Quite Right

Ruth writes from China

One year and one month later, I sit in Starbucks and enjoy a cuppa, grading and lesson planning, as I listen to the coming and going of people around me. It feels completely normal.

Festival of Lights in China, by Ruth

Last night, we attended the “Lantern Festival” in a nearby town and I remember thinking, there’s certainly no social distancing going on here (though 99% of people were wearing masks).

My everyday life is as it ever has been, except for the ubiquitous masks and occasional health code check at stores and metro entrances.

And then, the thin wall cracks and I see glimpses of what’s “not quite right”.

The friends we’ve celebrated almost every recent Chinese New Year with decided not to come. Heightened New Year restrictions mean any travel outside your province requires Covid checks and has a strong threat of quarantine if anything goes wrong. We completely understand their decision and likewise, decided not to travel to them.

Planning events is risky. In the fall, I had planned a mom and baby convention, only to cancel two weeks before as an outbreak (12 cases) in our city instigated city wide testing and event closures. We had planned to try again this spring, yet I feel so hesitant to do so.

And bigger than any of that are our numerous friends that are STILL stuck around the world, waiting…..waiting, a whole year later, for borders to open enough to be able to come back to their homes and jobs and lives here.

Then I think about how the opposite is true for us. If we leave China, it would be next to permanent. Even with valid visas (which they are basically not giving out to anyone currently outside of China anymore) entry back to China would require a miraculous and expensive combination of numerous Covid tests, available flights, embassy approvals, 4 week quarantine, and pixie dust.

When I experience the day to day, all is fine.
When I think about the future, I begin to feel claustrophobic and fearful.

All any of us have is today, right? So we will make the best of that. And trust Father with our futures.

Some days it’s easy. Other days…. oh, so hard.

May your New Year be filled with abundant blessings!

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