Shrewsbury School

My Journey Home

Thursday 30 April 2020

A first-hand account from a Third Form pupil traveling home to China in March.

At least I am safe now. It’s just a matter of not going outside. I can deal with that. It does not matter, compared to what I have been through for a whole month.

On March 20th, I got a plane ticket to fly home to China. I was fully equipped with masks, gloves, and goggles. My parents told me not to eat or drink anything on the plane and that masks and gloves should be changed frequently which made me even more nervous and anxious. I did not want to catch it, but it was going to be so hard for me not to eat for 12 hours.

When I got to the ticket collection place, I realised that the ticket had been changed to UK- Dubai – China Beijing. This messed up all my plans. This made the journey even more dangerous because being in transit and having hundreds of people walking past you are not a great thing in this special period.

When I arrived in Dubai, I was hungry, hungry enough to break my fear of the virus and I finally had some food in the airport. I hoped it was fine anyways, just an overreaction.

I got onto the next plane, the last one, to Beijing. The environment became much more silent and serious: everyone was doing the same self-protecting as me. This made me feel comfortable and I went to sleep. When I woke up, there was a form on my table. I filled in what I felt and when I got to the airport I was sent to check if I had anything wrong with my body, same as everyone else. I personally thought it was not a good idea to get everyone in a packed place because it just makes the virus spread faster, but I had to deal with it.

After the health check everyone was sent to a hospital to check blood, CT, and nucleic acid in our bodies. These are the three elements of testing for corona virus. Although I do not like blood tests, what I most hated was the time taken for me to get the test done. There were 103 people in front of me which was not pleasant, and it was already 0:30 so I had to sleep in the hospital somehow.

There was no bed, so I had to sit on a chair to sleep. I did not want anyone else to sit on my seat so every time I went to the toilet, I put my stuff on my seat so that everyone would know I would be back. Time went on until the next day, at about 9pm. I had my tests done and I was sent to the airport to wait to fly home.

The boring 14 days of quarantine started but it was not just that. On the fourth day, I was told that there was a guy on my plane who had got Covid-19 and I had been sitting near him, so I had to move from my hotel to another place. At first, I accepted it because I knew I did not want the virus, but when I got to the place, I collapsed. The bed was messy, the floor was covered with paper mats. The toilet and bathroom were connected together: whenever I showered, I could smell a very unpleasant smell which really got me down.

The 14 days finished, and I’m finally home. This journey taught me a lot. I learned how to cope with difficult things. I realised that no place is safe enough to stay in for 14 days except for our own home, and I recognised the importance of family. The virus can change our lifestyles, and our feelings towards this chaotic world, but what the virus can’t change is the fact that we always have something to lift us up, and that is our family.

Leo (III, SH)

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