Living in China in the time of COVID-19

We’ve been pretty terrible at keeping up this blog. The ease of sharing on social media means that we don’t often make time to share here. But, this seems like a time in our lives that we will want to look back on and might be of interest to others too.

Quick life update: We moved to Beijing in July 2018 after 6 years in Kuwait!

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As COVID-19 spreads to the rest of the world, we’ve been asked by some friends to share our experiences here in China. In no way is this meant to tell you how to live or think. Everyone reacts differently in times of crisis. This is purely meant to share what it has been like for us to be living in China during this pandemic. Turns out that summarizing the last 2 months of our lives during a pandemic takes more words than we thought it might so we’ve added a summary (too long, didn’t read) below. But, if you read it all you’ll be rewarded with some cute kitten photos 😻

Note: Many of the articles shared in this post are from the New York Times because we have a digital subscription but they are also offering free access to their COVID-19 coverage.


Don’t want to scroll? Click to just read about the month you’re interested in.

Summary

January

February

March

April


TLDR

After 8+ weeks, Beijing is beginning to go back to normal. Besides 4 nights in Taipei, we’ve been in Beijing since early January. Our school has been closed since our Chinese New Year break (February 3) with no known return date, and we’re adjusting to both of us working from home (here are a few strategies if you find yourself in suddenly working from home too!). Mentally, we have good days and bad days. We’re thankful for the government’s response to COVID-19 the last 2 months and continue to be impressed with our school community. We’re healthy and safe and able to get all the necessities we need to live (no shortages here). Our hands are pretty dry from the excessive washing and our masks are getting a lot of use, but we’re cherishing a slower pace and the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time in our adopted home. Spring is here! With no new local cases yesterday, we feel as though we might just be in the safest place in the world.

Take this seriously, but don’t panic. Do what health officials say to do, even when it’s inconvenient for you (closing schools is necessary). Trust science. Be compassionate. Seek out primary sources, don’t believe everything you read (factcheck.org & Snopes). Prioritize community wellness over personal desires. Protect others by acting like you already have COVID-19. Wash your hands often. Thank a healthcare worker and a teacher on the daily.

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“Unite as one to strengthen confidence in scientific prevention and control to defeat the epidemic.”

January

When we came back to Beijing after our winter break in the US, news about a mysterious illness started to crop up, but it seemed mostly contained to Wuhan and no one in Beijing was too worried.

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So, we proceeded with life. During our Chinese/Lunar New Year holiday, Lissa’s sister (Anna) met us in Taipei for her college graduation trip that we’d been planning for 6 months. After 4 days of exploring (and eating) together, we flew (back) to Beijing.

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We had been monitoring the situation, but our flight back to China on January 28 was a turning point. We landed to learn that the government had closed schools until further notice. We began having to wear masks in public and leaving the airport was a little more complicated than normal: we had to go through extra security and health screenings to ensure that we did not have fevers.

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Beijing, a city of over 20 million people, many of them Chinese migrants, is typically very quiet during CNY because it is a time that people return home to be with their families. Chinese schools give students a month off (their ‘winter’ break) and most local businesses close so their employees can travel home. We knew that Anna’s time in Beijing was going to be quiet, but it ended up being a bit quieter than we had anticipated. We were bummed that our school was closed and not allowing any visitors so we couldn’t give her the tour. Luckily, we had some great weather and were able to do some outdoor sightseeing!

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At the end of January, things really began ramping up, and we became a little apprehensive about Anna getting back home to the US. We tried our best to rely on data instead of panic. We continued to monitor the situation in China and received daily information about where cases had been identified in our area.

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Many of our colleagues were out of the country enjoying the CNY break. Others began thinking about leaving before things got too bad. With Anna in Beijing and thinking about who would take care of our 2 cats (our ayi/maid was still in her hometown), we decided we would wait it out in Beijing. Lissa even got interviewed for an AP article.

Some more media we consumed in January:

WHO Situation Dashboard

Op-Ed: International overreaction to the coronavirus is more dangerous than the virus itself

My travels through a China in lockdown


February

Before Anna had to leave, we were able to get out of the city a little to see the Great Wall.

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However, the villagers were very protective of their communities and we were unable to do the full tour of the Wall that we would normally do. People were already beginning to protect their communities by blocking entrances and not allowing outsiders in. Public sections of the Wall had already been closed by the government and ‘wild’ sections were being patrolled and protected by the villagers.

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It was about this time that other countries began their travel bans on people coming from China. Anna’s scheduled flight happened to be the last Delta flight out of Beijing and it seemed like everyone was trying to get on it. Arriving 3+ hours early usually means a quick & easy check-in. Not this time. Additionally, instead of flying directly to Detroit, Anna was rerouted through Seattle so that she could undergo a “health check.” This ended up being a simple question: “How are you feeling?” And it doesn’t seem like screening has gotten any better in the US.

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Meanwhile, non-essential businesses that would normally re-open after CNY did not. The majority of restaurants closed to customers and began delivery-only service. The few restaurants that stayed open began implementing strict rules, typically only allowing 1-2 people per table, temperature checks to enter, and putting your information on a visitor list. Inner-country transportation was extremely limited, making it difficult for the millions of people who had traveled to come back to their residences & workplaces (like our ayi). Anyone traveling (domestically or arriving internationally) was required to self-monitor for 14 days. In some places, this meant 14 days of self-quarantine in your apartment/house.

We had to register with our apartment complex, telling them when we had last traveled. If we had arrived within the previous 14 days, we may have been required to quarantine inside our apartment complex. We received a little blue card that allows us to leave and enter. Each time we enter, we have to have our temperature taken.

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Housing complexes stopped allowing guests to enter so we were no longer able to hang out with friends outside of or inside our apartments, and we resorted to using Zoom to watch shows with friends who lived just a few minutes away.

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Deliveries can no longer able be delivered to our apartment door, instead they must be dropped off outside the gates of your community (to pick up anything & come back in a few seconds later, you, of course, need to wear a mask, show your blue card, and get your temp taken).

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Grocery stores stayed open but we are required to wear masks and get our temperature taken to enter (instead of a run on toilet paper, stores have been extra stocked with hand sanitizers and cleaning products). This is a pretty accurate list of what grocery shopping has become. We began washing our hands every time we came back home and tried to develop the new habit of NOT touching our faces, especially when we are outside of our apartment.

While we’ve stayed mostly in our area of Beijing and usually walk or bike when we do leave the apartment, Didi (our version of Uber/Lyft) is taking precautions to protect their drivers and passengers. We have to wear masks (and so do the drivers) and they have installed plastic sheets between the front seats & back seat.

After a great beginning to February, we had a rough couple of weeks when regulations became more strict. We felt pretty trapped: the list of countries that allowed visitors from China became pretty small, we couldn’t see friends, we were both working from home for the first time, and there was no end in sight to eLearning. We watched as people in the US began taking “precautions” by hoarding masks.

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One positive that has come from all of this is that we have experienced lots of blue, sunny, clear air days. Most factories have been closed for months, good for the air, not so great for the economy. And, there is speculation that as the factories re-open, the environmental rules will be shifted to make up for the months of low output.

Some more media we consumed in February:

Emergency School Closure Resources (podcast episodes w/ educators, compiled support material & blog posts)

NPR’s Planet Money & The Indicator podcasts

COVID-19 Cases Tracking

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Daily Briefing (Feb. 3)

Who Says It’s Not Safe to Travel to China?

The Urgent Questions Scientists Are Asking About Coronavirus

Coronavirus ‘Hits All the Hot Buttons’ for How We Misjudge Risk

Here Comes the Coronavirus Pandemic

CDC + Song Lyric Convos (hilarious Twitter thread)

Facebook Group: Educator Temporary School Closure for Online Learning


March

For a little while, it seemed like this was going to be China problem. Turns out, viruses like COVID-19 don’t care about borders. When everything first began, there was a lot being reported about xenophobia towards Asians/people who looked Chinese. Now, we’re watching as the cases continue to decline here while they blow up everywhere else with cases in every state in the US.

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During the first month or so of the outbreak, we paid attention to the daily data about cases in China and Beijing (we live in Dongcheng district). Now that things are calming down, we’re not obsessing like we were in the beginning. Daily updates are still published, but we’re more concerned with what’s happening outside of China.

The uncertainty of this continues to be the most difficult aspect for us. How will this all end? Will it? Can it? How will life be changed by this? When will we (humans, individuals, governments, etc.) begin doing what’s best for society instead of turning this into a competition? What will happen to the world economy and how might that impact our lives? What might be the long-term ramifications of the disruption of learning of hundreds of millions of students? We don’t have answers to these big questions…nor usually the smaller ones.

One thing that has been slightly frustrating is the news coverage that praises some countries but doesn’t recognize how China has contained the spread outside of Hubei province (where the city of Wuhan is located). In Beijing (a city with over twice the population of Michigan), there have been less than 500 confirmed cases and some of those are people recently coming back into China from overseas. It’s also frustrating to watch the unpreparedness of other countries. Italy now has more deaths than China. With months to prepare, why didn’t governments do more to prepare for COVID-19? And, why aren’t they doing more now? We hope that individuals will do everything in their power to help their communities while also protecting themselves. For yourself and the greater good, stay home as much as possible, wash your hands all the time, support health care workers and educators (and your neighbors!). Pretend you live in a ‘tight’ culture instead of a ‘loose’ one.

The biggest concern in China now is cases being imported from outside the country. Although it may have taken China a month to take this outbreak seriously, the last 6 weeks have proven that they have changed their tune. As more people who have been exposed to COVID19 outside of China come back, they are implementing increased screening & mandatory quarantine in government facilities (in Beijing but probably elsewhere soon). And, they’re also beginning to help other countries who have been hit hard.

Although we know that public education faces different obstacles than our private school, please reach out to us if you are an educator or parent and need any support. We’re happy to share our experiences to support student learning!

Students at ISB have been learning online since February 3 using our already existing platforms. All of our season 2 and 3 sports & activities have been canceled. ISB has added additional tools (like Zoom & Screencast-o-matic) as necessary to support high-quality eLearning. We’ve had weekly, optional staff meetings with our head of school, and our counselors have begun hosting open sessions each week for staff. We entertain ourselves during department virtual happy hours with things like this (go try it out!). We’re currently enjoying part 1 of spring break as it has been slipt into two 4-day weekends plus 2 more days TBD. ISB generously provided all staff with the equivalent to an extra flight-stipend to soften the blow of any economic hardship (many of our colleagues are outside of China, paying for their accommodation). Since the government closed schools, it is also up to them when (if?) and under what circumstances we will re-open.

Beijing is slowly coming back to life. But traffic is still pretty thin, air is great, and some businesses are beginning to re-open (although not our favorite noodle places). Communities are starting to leave their apartments again and return to their habits of spending lots of time outside with their families and neighbors. People still wear masks all the time outside of their homes, but the National Health Commission has changed its guidelines so it will be interesting to see how behavior shifts.

We’ve developed workout routines: Jeff is biking & doing at-home cross-fit workouts, Lissa is on a pilates streak, and we’ve both been trying to find our running groove. Instead of big, weekly trips (i.e. short walks) to the grocery store, we intentionally buy just what we need for the day so that we have a reason to leave the apartment. We go out with friends once or twice a week to the restaurants that have re-opened (but have to function way under capacity), following the social distancing rules of 1-3 people per table.

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One of the things that has been occupying much of our mental space is if we’re going to be able to go home this summer. From our vantage point, China is about the best place to be right now, and we are grateful every day that we decided to stay (and enjoy bonus kitten time!). But, we also cherish our time home with family in the summers. We’re not sure what summer will look like if we have to quarantine when we get to the US and then quarantine again (in a government facility on our own dime) when we come back to Beijing. We’re hoping the US will be able to do what is necessary for the greater good to contain the spread. When we get too stressed, we unplug and cuddle with these two. Wherever you are, in whichever stage of this pandemic you’re in, we wish you sanity, health, and compassion!

Some more media we consumed in March:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 2 March 2020

Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction podcast

Two-Step Guide to COVID-19

Surfaces? Sneezes? Sex? How the Coronavirus Can and Cannot Spread

What It’s Like to Come Home to the Stigma of Coronavirus

The Ingraham Angle Coronavirus Cold Open – SNL

Humans of New York

Flattening the Coronavirus Curve

There’s a Giant Hole in Pelosi’s Coronavirus Bill

Stop Saying That Everything Is Under Control. It Isn’t.

Why Telling People They Don’t Need Masks Backfired

Economists assess COVID-19 lessons from China and South Korea, impact on state economy

How Long Will Coronavirus Live on Surfaces or in the Air Around You?

Coronavirus Is Hiding in Plain Sight

Goldman sees China’s economy shrinking 9% in 1st quarter amid coronavirus outbreak

Unemployment spike in China

Coronavirus Could End China’s Decades-Long Economic Growth Streak

Can our economy handle this? Slate’s What Next podcast

Bill Gates COVID-19 Ask Me Anything

Advice from Wu Tang Clan

Roman Mars Describes Things As They Are (99% Invisible Podcast)

Helping Your Dog Survive During a Quarantine

Cute Penguins at Shedd Aquarium

How Korea trounced U.S. in race to test people for coronavirus

The Best-Case Outcome for the Coronavirus, and the Worst

How to Avoid Complete Economic Destruction

Home With Your Kids? Writers Want to Help

I Spent a Year in Space, and I Have Tips on Isolation to Share

How the Virus Got Out (a beautiful way to look at the data of how it spread)

Chinese Doctors and Supplies Arrive in Italy

All Your Urgent Coronavirus-Related Grocery Shopping Questions, Answered

How Has Your State Reacted to Social Distancing?

A Different Way to Chart the Spread of Coronavirus

That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief

Grieving the Losses of Coronavirus

For short, informed content, we’ve been reading the NYTimes Morning Briefings, Asia & Australia Edition. We have particularly enjoyed the information in these two editions. Pro tip: Always read the back story!

What can we do next?

It’s basically urgent that America imitates what China did. China had a massive outbreak in Wuhan, spreading all over the country, and they’ve almost stopped it. We can shut off the roads, flights, buses and trains. I don’t think we’ll ever succeed at doing exactly what China did. It’s going to cause massive social disruption because Americans don’t like being told what to do.

We’ve got to realize that we’re all in this together and save each other’s lives. That has not penetrated yet and it needs to penetrate because we all have to cooperate.

March 18 Briefing

The Back Story on California’s ‘shelter in place’ order

The U.S. is a very individualistic society, built on the idea of these individual rights. So, this is a big test not only for the San Francisco Bay Area, but for America — the question being: Will people in America sacrifice their own individual liberty for the greater good of the community?

Asian societies are more based on the community, the group, the collective. Which is why these kinds of measures are more accepted there.

March 19 Briefing


April

Spring is here and we’re trying to cherish every minute of it! Since we haven’t left Beijing since January, we’ve been able to witness the complete transformation from winter to spring, and it has been marvelous! While we do have tickets home for the summer, we still have no idea if we’ll actually be able to go. There is still a mandatory quarantine for anyone coming into China (in a government chosen hotel, at your expense) but an additional complication is that only Chinese citizens are currently allowed into the country. Additionally, flights have been even more restricted. Even if we could leave right now, we wouldn’t be able to come back. So, the beautiful spring weather is keeping us sane!

Some more media we consumed in April:

Does My County Have an Epidemic? Estimates Show Hidden Transmission

Cities That Went All In on Social Distancing in 1918 Emerged Stronger for It

Social Distancing Is a Privilege

U.S. Is Nowhere Close to Reopening the Economy, Experts Say

Lockdown Can’t Last Forever. Here’s How to Lift It.

Do Re Mi – Covid 19 version

BUY ONE DONATE ONE, ORGANIC COTTON FACE MASKS

‘The Wuhan I Know’: A Comic About The City Behind The Coronavirus Headlines

The Indicator from Planet Money Podcast

Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting*

The American We Need

Some Good News w/ John Krasinski

President of Taiwan: How My Country Prevented a Major Outbreak of COVID-19

International School Closures Info

The Michigan I know doesn’t lose its head in a pandemic (More from Mitch Albom)

Gretchen Whitmer Isn’t Backing Down

Gretchen Whitmer on the Daily Show

I Have Made Gut-Wrenching Choices to Keep People Safe (Op-Ed by Governor Whitmer)

Israeli Hospitals Let Relatives Say Goodbye Up Close

40+ employees lived at their plant for 28 days to make material for PPE

Your Only Goal Is to Arrive

The Next Year (or Two) of the Pandemic (The Daily Podcast)

The Latest in Beijing School News

What Will Our New Normal Feel Like? Hints Are Beginning to Emerge

We Need Great Leadership Now, and Here’s What It Looks Like

Apartment Improvements

We’re already over a month into year 5! We got back August 9, spent a couple weeks helping orient the new staff, prepping for the new school year and getting settled. Jeff had 2.5 weeks with students and we had 4 days of U14 Girls’ Soccer tryouts before Eid Al Adha. Today is our last day of a 9-day staycation (our longest ever) before we head back to school tomorrow.

During the break we’ve been able to get some things done around our apartment. We’ve slowing been improving our apartment since we moved to the 15th floor after our 1st year so this break we did a few more updates: two pendant lights, curtains in the bedrooms and a honeycomb shelf. Our apartment definitely feels like home 😍 Come visit anytime!

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Food opposites

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Some food in Kuwait is cheaper than you could even imagine. This deliciousness from a random, hidden but incredibly busy “restaurant” in Kuwait City was incredibly cheap. So cheap that when I asked Jeff just now if he remembers how much it cost (we went over a month ago), his reply was “nothing.” According to Saud (who introduced us to this place), the shawarma were about 300 fils each. That’s $1. Throw in the samosas and we paid a couple cents over $1 per person.

On the other hand, there are items that are unbelievably expensive in Kuwait. This week we decided to treat ourselves to some fresh US strawberries. 

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1.790KD = $5.96. For strawberries. But every once in a while you just gotta have some juicy, beautiful strawberries. And other times you find cheap shawarma that satisfies other taste buds. It’s all about balance.

The family that coaches together, stays together

Last year Jeff took on coaching U14 Girls’ Soccer and Forensics & Debate. Still a little overwhelmed by my MEd, I opted not to coach for the 4th year in a row. By the end of the year I was hopeful that this year would give me a little more flexibility to start coaching again. Unfortunately there were no spots open for the Track & Field team. Then Jeff got the crazy idea that we should coach together. Unfortunately again, his assistant had already been chosen.

Fast forward to August – the U14 boys’ coach got injured and had to give up coaching. Jeff’s assistant (a man) was moved to the boys’ team…which left an opening for me! After having 2 male coaches for the girls’ team last year, it seemed perfect that this year we could have some female influence. Fortunately, I got the job 🙂

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Our first practice; also Jeff’s 31st birthday!

We’ve had a lot of fun. It’s been nice to spend time together in a new way. And on super busy weeks it gives us the chance to actually be together. Last week we had our 1st game (our 2nd was canceled because of storms). Our girls won 8-0 🙂

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Saudi bound

Jeff and I were excited when we were asked to present at a GAFE Summit in Saudi Arabia…we’re only 1.5 hours from the border and not many people are able to actually set foot in the country.

It’s been a bit of a process to get visas since it is one of the most difficult countries to travel to. We ended up going with transit visas which means we are allowed to be in Saudi in transit to Bahrain. With Saud as our chauffeur, we’ll leave early morning and aim to be at the border by sunrise (we’ve been advised that the road from Kuwait to Dhahran is curvy not not well lit). We’ll present 1.5 days (we have to miss the 1st morning) with a trip to Bahrain for dinner & drinks before heading back to Kuwait (again early am to be back at school for the afternoon).

Besides obtaining visas (which are safely in our passports) and prepping our sessions, there are other things we’ve had to take into consideration for this trip: I need to be wearing an abaya & hijab when not at the school. As we approach the Kuwait – Saudi border I’ll have to don my cover. We saw this as an opportunity: Abby and I have wanted an excuse to go abaya shopping!

Yesterday after our monthly pedicures, we headed to the old souq with Jeff & Saud.

1st stop: tasty snacks.

This entire bag of goodies cost us 1.2KD (~$4). Our ‘snack’ ended up being dinner for 4.

2nd stop: when you find chips Oman in Kuwait, you must buy them up. 

Then it was time to start perusing the shops for our favorite abayas. If you think an abaya is just a simple black cloak, think again. There are as many varieties (if not more) of abayas as jeans.   

We wondered in & out of shops, trying on different abayas and deciding what features we were looking for. I fell in love in an abaya (not shown) that had a unique cinched waist & v-neck but between the price tag (20KD) and extra fabric, it wasn’t as flattering on me as the mannequin.
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Abby's face has been cropped because she wasn't posing.

Abby’s face has been cropped because she wasn’t posing.

After much deliberation, Abby and I both ended up with front opening abayas with lace details. Both hijabs are mine (because of course I needed a summer and winter one). My abaya was 12KD + 2KD summer hijab & 3KD winter hijab. Abby’s abaya was 10KD. [The exchange rate is currently 1KD = $3.30.] Not bad for gorgeous new clothes! I’m ready for Saudi & Abby has her textile from Kuwait. We’re open to ideas for where else we should wear our new outfits 😉

Just realized this is our 100th post. How fun 🙂

An epic day of thunderstorms

We don’t post much. I’m going to blame it on the fact that we’re too busy living & enjoying life. We had a wonderful summer – visited France with my grandpa and then soaked up family & friend time in the US. Since we arrived in August, we’ve been to Bahrain for Eid and Sri Lanka 2 weeks ago for a spur of the moment trip (seriously, we booked it 1 week before we went #risktakers).

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This morning I woke up at 4:40am to some crazy sounds. And then realized it was lightning. I was going to go back to bed but was mesmerized for 2 hours by the storms. Turns out watching from the 15th floor is pretty dang great. {This is probably only the 2nd time we’ve had thunderstorms like this in our 3+ years here.} 99% of the time our radar is completely clear. Not last week!

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Kuwait when it rains is a lot like South Carolina when it snows – chaos. To be fair the flooding in other areas was significant. However it has been difficult to hear people talking about the flooding here after the extreme damage that happened in South Carolina after an actual hurricane.

We can’t complain about the sound of thunder & rain, a rare occurrence in our lives here.

The ministry ended up cancelling school after many of our staff & students had arrived. School continued with about half of our students present (that might be high). Wednesday night, after we went to bed, the ministry cancelled school for Thursday. This time we had a (very productive) teacher work day. It has continued to rain on and off. Maybe this means we’ll have a green winter!

 

Frankfurt to Cologne: 320€ & 3km

We made it. To our beautiful AirBnb in Cologne.

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I’m sitting atop the private rooftop balcony writing this with blue skies, puffy white clouds and sun that doesn’t make me run inside. But it’s a miracle we’re here.

  • We arrived at the Kuwait airport 2.5 hours before our flight, said our (temporary) goodbyes to Saud and sailed through security.
  • We hung out in the airport lounge (only booze would make it better).
  • We slept almost the entire flight on a new plane with gorgeous personal entertainment screens BUT we had to walk through first and business classes to see the luxury we were missing. That cuts deep.
  • We said our see-you-laters to many more friends.
  • Our luggage was waiting for us on the belt BUT one of our wheels was missing.
  • We weren’t able to find a place to buy a SIM card nor an ATM with euros.
  • We arrived at our train platform for Cologne early BUT we missed the train because our car was at the other end of the platform and the conductor waved us on (as we were sprinting…yes my toe is fractured) instead of waving us onto the train.
  • We were able to secure seats on the next train (an hour later) BUT had to pay more than the original price of our 1st class tickets for 2nd class tickets.
  • We made it to Cologne BUT arrived at the train station that was across the river from our AirBnB instead of across the street.
  • Maps did us wrong and we ended up walking 3km (with luggage in toe) to this beautiful apartment.
  • I realized I forgot both my running shoes (I was deciding which pair to bring home and ended up not bringing either).
  • Jeff & Abby had to carry 4 huge suitcases up lots and lots of stairs.

It’s so interesting to think about all the little what-ifs that could make life quite different. We can’t be mad at anyone that we missed the train. It sucked a whole lot. But there is no point in being angry. However – what if I had just let us continue down to the end of platform that our car ended up being at (instead of making us turn around because I was too cold)? What if we Jeff had heard me when I told him to just get on the train when the conductors held up their orange signs? What if I had grabbed a pair of running shoes when I said I was going to or Jeff had seen my shoes and thought to ask when he put the box in the extra room? Sometimes life intrigues me. And I’m not sure how to deal with all the what-ifs and could-have-beens. Except this.

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Enjoying this (Kolsch & pork) feast together in the sun on a street in Cologne in June may have made the entire ordeal worth it. When we’re all sore and exhausted tomorrow…we’ll have to think of this meal and the many more to come. Oh…and the US Men’s National Soccer game against Germany tomorrow. We’ll cheer loud but I think we deserve a win!

Arrived with a headache, left with a fractured toe

Short story: I went to the International Clinic to get my headache checked out. Two hours later I left with a headache and a fractured toe.

Long story: Last Saturday, while doing push-ups during Body Pump at the Corniche,  a sudden & excruciating headache started above my right eye. It continued for the duration of my lifting session. With some water and meds it dissipated throughout the day. Megan (friend, colleague & Body Pump instructor) wasn’t sure what it was but thought maybe I wasn’t breathing correctly during my workout. I took a couple days off lifting, ran and it mostly went away (except when I touched the spot).

Tuesday morning (graduation day – we aren’t allowed in the school) I tried Body Pump again. My headache started almost immediately. I made it through the hour and asked the instructor what she thought. She’d never heard of anything and suggested I get it checked out since I was flying in the next week. While lying by the pool, I decided to head to the International Clinic with Megan (who already had an appointment). I don’t go to the doctor often because it seems like they usually tell me something I already know or can’t find anything. I decided not to risk it this time and go.

The doctor thought maybe it was my sinuses (umm…no). So I went downstairs for a head x-ray and blood work. After my x-ray, I went into the adjoining bathroom to put my hair back into a ponytail. And smashed my pinky toe against the door. I immediately fell to the ground. Then hobbled to the other side of the building to get my blood drawn. By the time I left the small room, I was balling. My toe freakin’ HURT! Luckily Megan was there to console me. She helped me walk back over to x-ray and ask for a foot x-ray. Sure enough – I had fractured my pinky toe WHILE GETTING AN X-RAY OF MY HEAD. WTF. Who does that?! The doctor helped me get to the ortho department (outside & across the parking lot – what a cruel joke) for a consult. They wanted to tape it up and cast it. Thanks but no thanks. He predicted my fracture would take about three weeks to heal. No running, no working out and minimal walking. ARG. I have already registered for a 5k and 10k in the next month 😦

After getting it taped and the supplies to do it myself, I (finally) headed back up to my original doctor to get the results of my x-ray and blood work. Clear (of course). After a 2-hour visit, I left the International Clinic with a headache and a fractured toe. THIS is why I don’t go to doctors. You never realize how much you want to work out until someone tells you that you can’t. Times like these are when I want to ask “Why?” But these are also the times when there really isn’t a good answer for that question.

At least my pedicure looks good!

At least my pedicure looks good!