Almost a month has passed since the previous post and J and I have since returned to Wuhan. And well, life has been slow and quiet, but we are enjoying this serendipitous serenity while working at home. The lockdown in Wuhan is gradually coming to an end – we arrived at the end of it – but as a foreigner in China, I face slightly greater restriction than Chinese citizens, which is completely understandable. As a result, I spent quite a bit of time at home after coming back to Wuhan, and the rare times that I went out were to take a stroll in our residential complex, which feels like a rejuvenated garden during the spring. Totally don’t mind that at all!
From the beginning of February to almost the end of March, J and I were “stranded” in Dalian, a city by the sea in northeastern China. We took a chance to go around the city and I may have fallen in love with the seas and hills in the vicinity of Dalian. Top photo is the majestic Xinghai (Star Sea) Bay Bridge taken at the top of a hill at the Dalian Forest Zoo, and bottom one is the sea by Haizhiyun (Melody of the Sea) Park, with some small islands in the distance.
High-speed train on the way back to Wuhan! We first flew from Dalian to Zhengzhou then took a train back to Wuhan, passing countryside and villages between the Henan and Hubei provinces along the way. Excited to be finally allowed to head home despite that Wuhan was the epicenter of COVID-19 in China.
View of our residential complex from my window – so green!!! I actually gasped when I saw this because I don’t remember it being THIS GREEN and pretty last year. I first thought that maybe the decline in human activities led to the rapid recovery of nature, but J and one of my colleagues suggested that we just didn’t take the time to observe these carefully last year. While there may be some truth the the former theory, the latter is more likely. Last year, day time was spent mostly at work and there weren’t many opportunities to look out the window at home in full daylight. Now that we’re still mostly stuck at home, this is almost a surprising discovery even though I’ve lived here for close to two years. The things you realize during quarantine…!
Of course we had to take the chance to go for a walk in our neighbourhood (only within the residential complex) and seriously I never thought it was this beautiful. The greenness felt surreal and it was as if our surroundings transformed into a zen garden of some sort. The trees and plants were full of life and I couldn’t help to think that our lockdown gave nature a long-awaited chance to breathe again.
I mean seriously, this pond was never this clean before and now it seems like an area from the botanic garden or something. I’m rather glad to have had the chance to experience this place at its best before we move, which is in about two months. I will miss this area!
Another small pond in the residential complex, this one looking sort of like a well-maintained Japanese garden, said J. I could have sat there all day with a book if the weather were nice, but it was still a bit chilly in late March 😦 And I was (and still am) working from home…
These flowers sprung up everywhere in our neighbourhood – saw them last year around my work campus as well – and apparently they’re a breed of cherry blossoms :O I previously mentioned that I thought I might miss spring in Wuhan entirely this year but it seems like we came back just at the right time. No cherry blossom festival at Wuhan University of East Lake this year but hey, we got them in our own backyard 😉
More flowers around the area – top left: wisteria; top right: camellia; bottom left: azalea; bottom right: cherry blossom. Shine on, nature, the stage is yours!
Having eaten take-out food for almost two months in Dalian, being back in Wuhan brought us to the opposite end of the spectrum – home-cooked meals every day! I am beyond thankful to have a husband who not only is a great chef, but also is WILLING to cook most of the time. Here is one of our typical meals – tomato and eggs, cabbage slices, and green beans with beef.
At the end of the February 2020 post, I said that I was hoping that the March 2020 post would be written in Wuhan. Well that wish came true! Working from home for the past few weeks has certainly brought many changes to my lifestyle, some for the worse unfortunately, but there’s a long way to go before life will be back to “normal” as we knew it. And it might never go back to what we think is normal, for all we know, but I’ve learned to see the beauties of life even during volatile and unpredictable times. So, onward, 2020, let’s see what you have in store next!