The year of the rat is far from smooth. All families are filled with frustrations of e-learning, concerns of quarantine, daily personal safety and non-stop feed of COVID-19 news. Although our days are bombarded with negativity, on the contrary, my biggest take away point from all this was more positive than negative. This period tested and taught me to be patient, to adapt, to be open minded and to be empathetic.
Since January, my family and I have stayed put in Hong Kong till we flew back to Shanghai in March. My journey from Hong Kong back to Shanghai with my three children was certainly a roller-coaster ride.
E-learning has not been easy, and our bilingual school made three dramatic changes to fine-tune online learning. In the beginning, parents were asked to prep, teach and correct our kids' classwork and homework. Then we adapted to using the Chinese government's nationwide education TV (created in less than two weeks) and using multiple media platforms to do home learning. Finally, we progressed to live online sessions with subject teachers, paralleled with day to day assignments.
During this turbulent time, not only did we as parents adopted a new lifestyle at home, we saw how the schools and many businesses continuously adjusting. I was very impressed with how everyone in the Shanghai community adopted the new mode of living. From the security guard helping to deliver packages to my home during my quarantine, to daily temperature readings by healthcare workers, everyone was very compliant and helpful.
These days we live by using Health Color Coding App（隨申碼） to determine whether we are "healthy" to enter a facility, delivery services that can assist with all your errands from buying vegetables in the wet market（叮咚買菜）, to buying stationery and online musical/tutoring classes（小魚聯網）. The community has overnight shifted to a full online culture, not to say it wasn't already quite sophisticated to begin with. Even a 14-day home quarantine was enjoyable, with all the simple pleasures such as bubble tea, and flowers all delivered to my doorstep.
These months, not only did I get to spend more time with my family both in Hong Kong and Shanghai, we also got to appreciate a slower pace of life where there are less commitments socially, academically and professionally. This pace allowed us to really enjoy each other, spend more time on relationship building, reading or just having down time for them to be "bored". Despite all the hardships that is happening everywhere, we are so blessed that at least as a family we flourished together.