Komal Limbu

I have officially moved into my new place and today marks the 3rd week I have been released from Quarantine. Although for me quarantine was an easy-going ride, freedom at last is truly a great feeling. I know it must sound shocking that I quite enjoyed quarantine but if you’re the type of person who enjoys one’s own solitude, like myself quarantine will go by like a gentle breeze.

My quarantine journey began at Pudong airport in Shanghai. For those that do not know once you arrive here in China, you will be randomly allocated a quarantine hotel. You will personally be driven to you designated hotel; in my case me and 10 other EF teachers from the same flight were put onto a large bus and taken 40 minutes away to a hotel in Pudong. There seems to be a common misconception that quarantine hotels are a bit run down and dreary but honestly that is far from the case. The majority of the hotels are above satisfactory, with the worst part simply being the horrible view of the hotel carpark in my case. Funnily enough, since I was on the ground floor I would make awkward direct eye-contact with the security guard patrolling around, each morning.

(A very bad photo of my hotel room; it was much better looking than what is shown here.) 

When you reach your new two-week home ensure you contact your recruiter and EF city representative. You need to contact them as soon as you are at the hotel so they can immediately pay for your stay. Thankfully we had a Chinese speaking EF teacher with us so the whole process of signing into the hotel was made 100 times easier. I strongly suggest to make sure you have installed a really good translation app as I’m not certain all will be as lucky as to have a human translator at hand at all times. Once you are checked in make sure to hug your fellow colleagues if you are travelling in a group because that will be your last physical contact with another human being! Just kidding!  Upon our arrival we were given a jug with some disinfectant tablets, handwash and some plastic bags which comes in handy throughout the oncoming weeks. 

During your stay you will have to take multiple PCR covid tests every couple of days and everyday a hotel staff member will come to your door to check your temperature. The staff doing these were all very nice and considerate, with each test taking less than 2 minutes. There is a set schedule for these tests so make sure you are awake at the correct time; mine was usually around 8:00 am.  

One of the two most important things for me was the FOOD! Food is served 3 times a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). They give very large portions so you will not be hungry unless you do not like Chinese food because that is all they will give. Initially, the food was very nice and delicious but after maybe the first 5 days it can get a bit repetitive and most likely your stomach will have a hard time adjusting to the new food. So, take my advice and bring lots of snacks, both sweet and savoury.  

(An example of lunch in the hotel.) 

The second most important thing was the WIFI. In all honesty I was warned that some hotels have really bad WIFI but I didn’t expect it to be this bad. It worked for at least 60% of the time so I guess I shouldn’t complain. As you should already know VPN is your number one best friend so choose a good one. I did not have a VPN for my first day in China. Why? Because the one I bought ‘NORD VPN’ would not work. The frustration of not being able to properly contact your family back at home because not all of them have WeChat is horrible (another pro-tip is to make sure all your loved ones you want to keep in contact with get WeChat so if something does go wrong at least you can still talk to them). I luckily was able to get Express VPN so all is well. 

On my second day of quarantine, I started my regional induction training so from then on, every Monday to Friday I would be working from 10:00 am until 18:00 pm. This was very fun as I got to talk to other EF teachers who were in the same boat as me whilst learning more about being part of EF. So, you will not be bored out of your mind as you will be receiving a lot of work and before you know it the weekend would have arrived. 

On the topic of the rubbish, no hotel staff is going to come in and clean your room during those two weeks so I suggest bringing a change of duvet covers if you do not want to sleep in the same sheets for 2 weeks. Every day, they would come and collect the rubbish (yes including the dirty toilet paper) and I would have to collect all the rubbish bags and plop them outside the door. Living in a dirty room will not help you enjoy your two weeks in quarantine so it is vital to keep a nice clean room yourself. 

Some other top tips from me are to bring some entertainment that you will actually enjoy, I bought some paint by numbers kits that held my attention for a good couple of hours. I had also bought multiple books too which I had forgotten to read in the end. Also, if you are someone who loves being social and hates the idea of being alone voice or video call frequently to anyone back home. Make some friends from your regional induction class and keep talking to someone. It’s very easy to feel lonely so always stay in contact with someone! 

Quarantine flew by for me and before I knew it, I was getting ready to start looking for my own apartment. If you are feeling scared about quarantine just know that it will end and that the journey you will have afterwards is going to be one of your best memories. Plus, it is going to get super busy once you get out so maybe make the most of quarantine and relax. Relaxation and enjoying time with oneself is a key way to get through quarantine with your sanity intact! 

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