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#CovidCatLady Day 913

It’s been a week since we left “post-lockdown” Shanghai, and I finally feel like my nervous system has calmed down… I mean, as calm as a nervous system can be while China is dropping bombs all around Taiwan. The plan is to hang out in Detroit for a couple of weeks and then visit friends and family around the US. A month or so? No, we’re not leaving Shanghai permanently, but we are exploring the idea of relocating stateside. I will appreciate all job leads and referrals but please refrain from telling me “yeah f**k China GTFO already.” Shanghai’s been home for 9 years, the decision to leave will not be an easy one. Saying I’m leaving China in the midst of lockdown is akin to saying I’m dumping my boyfriend in the middle of a fight. I probably don’t mean it, and it’s probably not the best way to make a life-changing decision. I want to actually spend some time in the US and make an informed decision with the privilege of travel (for the first time in 3 years) and free time… In the month since lockdown “lifted,” I managed to move my 3 cats into a 2-bedroom apartment with my boyfriend and his cat. Don’t even get me started on what it was like to apartment hunt and move with all the “post-lockdown” complexities. 4 cats is a lot of cats. But after being forcefully separated for 2 months, it was necessary.

We had both endured blatant discrimination and xenophobia (yes, xenophobia from Mainland Chinese towards Taiwanese. It’s more of a thing when things are hard) in our previous apartments and wanted out as soon as possible. We did another (very triggering but not unbearable) 48-hour lockdown after the move. It’s fun waking up to a hazmat-clad tester at your door on a random Tuesday morning… The lockdown was traumatic, and we were thrusted back into “normal” with no time to process any of it. We’re expected to be functional and productive like none of it ever happened… All while testing every other day and dreading the next lockdown. There were some good moments post-lockdown. The new apartment had space enough to invite friends over for a board game night. Every in-person conversation for the past month started with, “so how was lockdown for you?” A question too big to really answer without turning into a group therapy session, but quietly, that’s what we’ve all taken to doing for one another. The other common question is “are you leaving?” That’s the one I’m trying to tackle now.


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