By Jingwei “Jerome” Wu
It’s almost back to normal now in Hefei, my hometown in China. They’re nice words to say, and to hear. They’re words that feel good. Our spring is blossoming with a special beauty this year.
Most restaurants and shops have already opened. They’ve been open for a few weeks now. More crowded venues, such as cinemas, are still not allowed to open. But we’re getting a taste of normal again. You will, too.
In January, when I was ready to enjoy my winter break, everything was going well. Exams at my university in Yantai were over. It was a time to be free, a time to return to my hometown. It was a time to just sleep, as many of us think. This is a time in China to meet up with friends back home, to reunite with our families, and enjoy home-made meals. And the Chinese New Year, a very special holiday for us, was approaching.
Nobody knew about the disaster that was coming. At the end of January, I just heard some news about a virus. To be honest, I didn’t pay too much attention to the news. I thought it was far away from me. You probably thought the same thing. There were video games. There was WeChat, our popular app. There was our usual fun on social media, and now a winter break to enjoy it a little more. A killer virus was not on our thoughts.
Everything changed. In time, I became aware that this virus broke out very fast. It was already around us. But, to my surprise, everyone stayed calm and followed the government directives. In February, we were going through the worst period. It was probably something like what you are experiencing now.
Our world suddenly came to a stop. We like to go out for hot pot (when you come to visit China, hot pot is a must for you to experience!), or for other kinds of great Chinese food, or hanging out at KFC, or some other kind of American-style place. That all shut down. We were not allowed to hang out. Instead, we stayed at home.
The government closed all the main roads. If you had to go somewhere, your temperature was taken everywhere. All the shops, restaurants, cinemas, and all other forms of public entertainment were closed. There were hardly any cars on the road. The whole country became strangely silent and lifeless. Yes, we can all identify with this picture now.
Luckily, there were many warriors in my country, ready to fight this virus. As I’m sure you know, Wuhan is the origin of the coronavirus in China. It was the most dangerous place in our country. Many medical experts and nurses volunteered to go to Wuhan. How brave they are! It was reported these volunteers got little or no sleep, and fought on, every day. Some of them were thankful to be able to have one decent meal. When I heard the news, I began to understand what true heroism is. I have great respect for them. This isn’t the stuff of a video game. This is real battle. Thanks to their tireless efforts and service, many patients were cured. Thank your Polish doctors and nurses. They are warriors.
We also controlled the number of people infected with the virus, just as you’re trying to do, so that we can get through the epidemic with as few casualties as possible. We were told that we must wear a face mask when we need to go outside. We were also instructed to wash our hands and sterilize our clothes as soon as we came back in. Everyone obeyed the rules. This is another reason we were able to get through this crisis as quickly as possible. Listen to the medical experts and take their words seriously.
There were reports other countries came to assist us. This was also a key factor. Different countries were helping us in different ways. I’m touched. In the face of this virus, we are all in this together. We humans are united. We have to be. Now my country is assisting other countries. We will beat this together.
As a student, I cannot make much of a difference. But, there are little things that can be done. I want to say thank you to everyone who helped and saved my country. I am proud of my country. You should be proud of your country. We will survive this disaster.
I’m in a regular routine in my studies. Our classes, as in most places, are online right now. We still do not know when we can physically return to our university. But, there is life again in our city. Spring is feeling a little more special this year.
Jingwei “Jerome” Wu is a student at Shandong Technology and Business University in Yantai, China. He is studying international economics and trade.