A tabby and a tortoiseshell in a cardboard box, symbolizing a comfortable trapped-ness.
A tabby and a tortoiseshell in a cardboard box, symbolizing a comfortable trapped-ness.
My cats, just as comfortable trapped and done as me.

515. This is how many days it’s been since I’ve been home. What used to be a 5-hour door-to-door commute is now a complicated calculation of vaccine, caseload, remote work, and quarantine. I had resigned to “resilience” at the beginning, and that held for about a full year. The homesickness didn’t really punch me in the gut until another Chinese New Year came with little silver lining in sight. I had a full-on foot-stomping, pillow-punching tantrum cry, yelling to no one, “I just want to go HOME!”

I got vaccinated 3 months ago. Shanghai Disney Resort had set up vaccinations…

Today is my birthday. It feels appropriate to share the story of my birth, starring my mother, me, and… Well actually my dad was mostly asleep outside on a gurney so my mom was the star of the show 😂

I was born on March 26th, 1986, at around 8pm. For my mother, the process started 26 hours prior, and ended with a C-section. The doctor’s first words when I was out was “oh, what a big head!”

To clarify, 48 marks the days I’ve been back in Shanghai. It’s been 65 days since Wuhan, the epicenter of COVID-19, went into lockdown, which is expected to be lifted April 8th.

Shanghai is allllllllmost back to normal. Almost. I actually got into the restaurant for my birthday dinner without anyone checking my temperature. We didn’t have to all sit on one side. Movie theaters are opening this Saturday, re-screening old movies like Pixar’s Coco or Wandering Earth. My gym is finally open (yay!). Delivery guys are being let through the neighborhood gates, where many of the signs and posters have been removed. The only ones left are the multilingual posters informing people that they need to quarantine after returning to Shanghai.

A non-issue now, seeing as China has banned everyone who…

Morning cuddles with Tigger.

A little bit more normal everyday. After a couple of warm days, Shanghai is suddenly rainy and cold. Had to pull out my parka today before heading to a clinic for a routine checkup. That’s about how normal it feels now, normal enough for me to consider going to the hospital for something not at all urgent or mandatory. Still had to have my temperature checked and write down my ID number and contact info to enter the building.

I was having trouble pulling up that QR code on my phone (the green one that guarantees that I haven’t left…

Al’s Diner’s mug game strong.

Celebrated the end of a friend’s quarantine with some American style pancakes, fried chicken, and chorizo gravy. We ended up spending 4 hours in the diner, and only spent maybe 27% of the time discussing the virus and its impact.

We celebrated birthdays on the team today. I wore a paper crown. Because of recent events, what’s usually a big monthly team dinner is now a January-March birthdays’ cake day. The cake was fantastic and it felt great to be joking around with my colleagues again, even if we were still wearing surgical masks in the meeting room.

There are setbacks, of course. It’s going to be a challenging year ahead. But today was just a Tuesday in the office, with meetings and “what should we eat for lunch?” and some banter. It felt incredibly average. …

Last week, I felt like I was living two alternative realities. The one of today’s Shanghai city, slowly returning to “a new normal.” Temperature checks everywhere I go, masks on every face, but everything up and running again. Except my gym.

The other reality is traveling back in time two months to the same anxieties and uncertainties of late January, except now worldwide. Flights being cancelled. Travel restrictions changing day to day. Scary numbers. Everything shutting down.

It is weirdly validating to see the world handle quarantine as poorly as you did. But I can’t lie, it hasn’t been pleasant…

I posted this graphic on WeChat back on February 1st. Just a line jumping up and down and up and down, marking the emotional state of social media. The top says “That’s so touching! How wonderful!” The bottom says “Goddammit, what a monster!”

This is the global internet today, this past week. Heroes. Assholes. Heroes. Assholes.

I had a lot of practice living with illness and death at my doorstep. My Dad was dying for a good 15 years. Every year, my mother would sign some intense paperwork, acknowledging that we understood that this time, he might die. …

Here is what started as the “Self Quarantine” diary, which later became #COVID19 Cat Lady Chronicles.

March 1st, #COVID19 Cat Lady Chronicles, Day 23:

New things spotted today… Since the roll out of a digital health declaration app, restaurants have started posting their staff’s green QR codes, along with the usual notices requiring masks and explaining services offered (online delivery and take-out in this case).

I myself haven’t gotten a 🚦QR code, as I’m a little put off by the facial recognition aspect of it… Cue panicked police state questions in the comments.

And the last photo… Behold, the classic…

Tigger Wang-Martinez. And me.

As a Taiwanese person who’s lived and worked in Shanghai for over six years, the decision to return to Shanghai in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic was an easy one. My entire life is here in Shanghai, a city that took me 4 years to love. I have a great job here working for Shanghai Disney Resort as a digital copywriter, and I share a lovely one-bedroom apartment with two rescue cats. Of course I’m coming home.

My company required that everyone coming back to Shanghai complete 14 days of home stay/self quarantine/self isolation, for the safety of all…

Yu-ping Vickie Wang

Recovering writer. Made in Taiwan; based in Shanghai. www.vickiew.com

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