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Xiaoyi Cui ’14

Xiaoyi CuiBeijing started to open again around four to five weeks ago. This lively city has never seen this degree of emptiness and silence. I sat on my balcony that overlooked the street, and I saw the city get better over time. Many places have a limitation on the number of visitors and have required reservations.

During the five-day International Labor Day holiday, many places are getting crowded, especially parks and gardens. Many places have a limitation on the number of visitors and have required reservations. But — we have traffic! I’m so happy about it. Thinking back through this tough time, when we have fought the COVID-19, I canceled two travel plans. I disliked cooking every day. I bothered by neighbor’s kids, who could not go to school and ran crazy at home. However, at this point, when we almost have a victory in battling this virus, I realize I’ve enjoyed living my life in voluntary quarantine inside my apartment.

I was a psychology major at Clark, and I work in the education industry creating online fun courses for high school students. It’s a job I can do online (I’m very familiar with Zoom), so it’s not something I worry about. A simple daily schedule in quarantine makes me happy — I work out, eat healthier, sleep better, contact family and friends more, and do my work. I save a lot of energy by talking less. The most I have to say on some days when I go out, is “Thank you” to the grocery delivery guy and person who checks my temperature.

I always think on my own — I don’t want all my information coming from different media. Therefore, I research COVID-19. The studies of SARS helped me to understand how important social distancing and wearing masks are. I read several books, such as “AIDS and Its Metaphors” by Susan Sontag and “Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond to help me understand how and why people react to a new virus or disease.

There is so much misunderstanding, discrimination, and violence going on with this crisis around the world. I choose to look at things in a positive, scientific way, and keep hope. We have had pandemics of different viruses in human history and will have more in the future. Learning as much as we can now is a positive and accountable response.

Remember, for the people in China, this unknown and new virus started in winter. By March the virus spread overseas. I have close friends and dear professors in the U.S., and I do worry about them. What others are experiencing, we’ve already gone through. At the end of March, I was a little bit sick of talking about the virus. However, whenever my friends from overseas asked me about my experiences in fighting COVID-19, I answered them in detail. I hope they can protect themselves and their families and stay healthy.

I still believe we can fight and win this battle together and get back to normal life soon.