Walking through the Sun Yat Sen park one morning, my daughter notices the birds chirping and remarks. “Social distancing is good for us and the environment; Greta Thunberg must be smiling…but Quarantine is a whole different story isn’t it? Even when international travel resumes, I imagine Quarantining will be required. Are any of the quarantined, happy about being stuck up at home?” She asks.
The only answer she was obviously expecting was absolutely not!
I was not sure of what to say so over the next week or so, I reached out to a few people who could share their quarantine experience to let us know what they went through.
David, a HK born American entrepreneur resident of Mid-levels was the 1st who we asked. He was in quarantine with his entire family of 4!! They understood the seriousness of the pandemic and the quarantine regulation in force in HK so were mentally prepared before travelling back home from the US.
At the airport, David got the tracking device synched with apps on his iPhone. Thankfully, he got to pass his quarantine time in the luxury of his home as opposed to a government allocated quarantine center. So for 14 days of April, David, his wife and 2 kids stayed at home, not venturing out any where and expecting to see the Government inspectors anytime during their quarantine.
You might expect the spirits to be low with no social life and young kids crying and yelling, frustrated about not being allowed out. None of that says David, “My spirits were fine. Thank god for work, it kept me busy”. He actually liked this quarantine as there was “less stress, more sleep. I also got to know my young kids better during this time. Under lockdown we made pasta, worked out, sang songs and I even took them camping (in the living room) …ha ha!! Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it”, he says in a truely entrepreneurial attitude.
In pic: Tracking device
Next respondents were Mandy and hubby Allan, UK nationals and lawyers, also traveled to Europe in March. Even though not mandatory at that time, they decided to Quarantine themselves in a hotel, as they did not want to infect their kids. It was not a Quarantine stricto sensu, as they tells us that did venture out to pick up food and go for their daily walks. Mandy says, “Our main issue was the fact that we were away from the kids. Not being able to physically be with them for so long, not being able to look after them were clearly the main challenges of this quarantine. We were very happy to be home after the 14 days.”
Hotel Quarantine pic courtesy: The standard
Allan and Mandy were in good spirits during their quarantine, busy working from home and enjoying the quality time to bond with each other. Allan adds, “Yes! I saw my wife naked for 2 full weeks. To be repeated!”. He says only half-jokingly.
Gordan, a resident of Wanchai was also on Quarantine due to overseas travel in early March. He had just got married in Korea and was getting back leaving his Korean wife behind in Seoul. For Gordon, it was a company quarantine, so he was free to come and go out of his house, except to the office. But, Gordon did not feel like venturing outside alone expect for food and exercise. As is understandable, to fight the constant feeling of loneliness, Gordan was able to frequently called his family and wife. His bride is still in Korea at the point of writing this article.
Finally, Jill, resident of Ma Wan, was another one to be quarantined at home with tracking device/bracelet as she was travelling back to HK with family. She is another one to be very happy with this welcome pause in her life. To start with, the main purpose of the quarantine, was not to infect others and not to be infected obviously. So, they spent a lot of time with family and the new baby.
In her own words, “I was absolutely happy with it. We have a small 11-month baby and it is more stressful to prepare and go out in the crowded public transport and spaces than stay at home. So, 14 days of stay at home was a blessing. We had help from others 2 times for groceries shopping.”
So, was Quarantine experience really all negative? I had an answer to my daughter’s query. Quarantine is indeed a tricky situation as you have to find ways to work from home, deal with limited social contact and are essentially within 4 walls. It sure requires resilience, the right attitude and creativity, but as we see in the sharing’s above, depending on your situation (very important!) and only for a relatively limited period, quarantine can actually be fun and a welcome change in our normal hectic rhythm of living. What more proof do we want than the fact that many quarantined people not mind doing it all over again 😊!!!