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#COVIDCatLady, Day 1148

Today is the 1-year anniversary of the Shanghai Lockdown in Puxi (Pudong, across the Huangpu river, started 4 days before). I'm sitting in the middle of boxes and trash bags, trying to unpack 9 years of my life into a lovely apartment in New York, surrounded by my 4 cats. They've settled into the city much better than I have, and they don't even need visa's to stick around.

This anniversary is weighing me down with guilt and shame. And I'm trying to move through it to genuinely appreciate life in New York with this new chapter. I had dreamed about living in the US, especially New York, since I was a kid. I just didn't imagine that I'd be running *from* a former life.

The lockdown upended my whole life. I lived out of a suitcase for nearly 6 months. My mental health was in the gutter. I'm lucky to have gotten the support I needed, yet I feel guilty about having left Shanghai when some of my friends have no means to (or no intention to). Leaving Shanghai is not something I celebrate.

I wish there was a "Shanghai Exodus" support group, because what so many of us must be going through is not just relocation or repatriation, but a very privileged kind of escape. I can't be the only one feeling completely unmoored and internalizing the instability and financial struggles as personal failures somehow, right?

And even this feels like a very spoiled thing to say, when there are young feminists currently imprisoned in Shanghai for a protest they didn't organize that liberated millions from Zero Covid.

I will forever miss Shanghai, and miss the person I was when I lived there. And while the government is actively suppressing any mention of lockdown in Shanghai, I'll be wearing this illegal, commemorative t-shirt around in New York in solidarity.


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