Hard quarantine was unlike anything I have experienced during this pandemic, and it is not something I would like to do again. While the fourteen days were a nice chance to relax and reflect and is certainly essential for mitigating imported COVID cases, it was irritating to arrive in a new country with new people and have to watch it from inside a hotel room. Each day went by so slowly and I remember thinking it would never end, but eventually I received my green health codes and was able to leave my quarantine hotel on the morning of day 15. Overall, the food was by far my least favorite part, but fortunately I packed a ton of snacks and treats to get through my fourteen days. I was so glad for my first meal outside of hard quarantine, a class-but-fantastic beef noodle soup.
The next step now is seven more days of medical observation in Shanghai before I can move onto Beijing, my final destination. Thankfully, I can meet other scholars who are also doing medical observation in Shanghai. Some of the first scholars who arrived here several weeks before I did find a particular hotel in Shanghai and have turned it into the hotspot for scholars to spend their week of medical observation while in Shanghai. When I arrived, I was greeted by the other 7 scholars staying in the hotel and there were 5 more arriving the day after me, so it is quickly becoming the place to be for us to meet each other.
I was incredibly fortunate to be released from my hard quarantine on September 3rd, one day before my 23rd birthday. We were able to visit the Bund, the riverwalk with amazing views, at night. I spent my 23rd birthday by absorbing in my freedom in a new city. I spent the day walking around the area around my hotel in Shanghai and then in the evening we went out to the French Concession to have dinner and have a chance for everyone to meet each other. I've met so many amazing and fascinating people and I cannot wait to get to know them and more throughout this next year.