An Unexpected 2 years

Another entry in our pandemic reflections competition. This time by Ellen K who has also experienced life in Hong Kong and Sweden.

Everyone knows that the last year and a half haven’t been what we all expected but for me even 9 months before that was weird. I’m Swedish but before coming back here I lived in Hong Kong and as some people might know there were a lot of protests and political unrest for about 9 months. At one point the protests got so bad that we needed to stay home for over a week since the protests were blocking our way to school. Several of my classmates were teargassed trying to get home and if you went into the city there were police everywhere. At this point, it’s gone so far where China is trying to take over Hong Kong by implementing the new national security law. But the part that made the change into covid life the weirdest was that we were in Thailand on vacation when we got the news that schools would be closing.

 Right before leaving Hong Kong, we started hearing rumors about needing to do online again and we thought it would be easier to do that from Sweden so we packed our laptops and about 2 sets of warm clothes and left for Thailand. After a few days in Thailand, we got the official news that online was back on so we went to Sweden. We were supposed to stay here for 2 weeks and then return to Hong Kong, unfortunately, these were the two weeks when my grandparents were out of town and we were very disappointed. But the time we needed to stay kept being extended and extended to the point where we gave up hope of being able to go back to say goodbye to our friends and pack up the apartment. It was so sad to wrap up a 5-year journey with so many memories and not be able to get any type of closure. 

The online during the protests made the transition into online learning a bit easier for both me and my sister since we had practice. Even though instead of being one week it was four months (beginning of February to end of May) and we were in Sweden with a 7 hour time difference. The time difference made it very difficult to have contact with teachers for getting help, which means I needed to do almost everything by myself or send an email and wait until the next day to get a response. 

Covid also made a huge impact on our social life, because of the time difference I couldn’t talk to my friends in Hong Kong, everyone was terrified of me and my family for the first month of being back in Sweden because no one really knew what covid was, how infectious it was or after how long a person could transmit it. After that, we couldn’t even make plans for after school since we didn’t know our workload until the day of. 

The only positive thing that came out of this whole experience was for someone like my dad who for years has been traveling every day got to be home more. When we lived in Hong Kong my dad would be gone six out of seven days a week working and now he has been home almost every day so we got to spend more time together. 

Covid is such a horrible thing and so many people were affected so badly, me and my family were so lucky that no one got sick and that we had somewhere to go when covid got bad. I’m so thankful that we live in a country where we have access to modern and reliable healthcare.