1 Where do you live now and how long have you been there?
I live in Hong Kong. I’ve been here since last February.
2 What do you love about where you live now?
This is our first expat experience. As a child I lived in New Zealand and the US with my family.
3. How is it different to your home country?
It’s just me and my husband Dominic here in HK. Our four kids live in Sydney.
5.How has the CoronaVirus effected you?
The virus has had a pretty big impact on our life here. I’m a Preschool teacher, and last year I got lots of work doing supply teaching at a lovely little preschool in the Mid Levels. But since the schools have been closed here since January, I’ve been pretty idle. Dom normally travels about 50% of the time, so he’s now grounded and working from home. Our apartment is lovely but small – especially compared to the large family home we came from last year – so that’s a new experience!
6 Where are you now and where is the rest of your family?
We did have flights booked to go home for Easter but they were obviously cancelled, so we’re staying put in Hong Kong for the foreseeable future. Back home, Maddy, our eldest, lives in a share house with her boyfriend, and our 3 boys are all at Uni and live together with the family dog.
7.Are you in self-isolation, lock down or are you social distancing and what rules do you need to follow?
We’re practicing social distancing here in HK, and have been since we came back after Christmas. Having lived through SARS, EVERYONE here wears a mask and the streets are definitely quieter than they once were, but shops and restaurants are still open. You have your temperature taken at most shops and restaurants, and upon entering every office building. And new rules have just come into effect stating that diners must sit 1.5 metres apart and cinemas and sports clubs are closed. We avoid the mtr as much as possible and if we do eat out, we only sit at an outside table. As we are both chronic asthmatics the virus would hit us pretty hard so we keep very much to local shops, avoiding the more dense areas in the middle of town.
8.What do you find the hardest about your situation right now?
The hardest thing by far is being away from the kids. Before, we always had the comfort of knowing that if anything happened to one of them, or my Mum, we were only a 9 hour flight away. Now, even if we managed to get a flight, we’d have two weeks in quarantine in a hotel in Sydney before we could see them. And another 2 weeks self quarantining back in HK on our return. So, the gulf between us feels wider than ever and we both find that very difficult. I keep telling the boys (Maddy is pretty sensible) not to do anything stupid for the next few months that might land them in hospital. Anyone with sons knows exactly what I mean!
9. Do you have any tips for anyone in lock down or self isolation?
I keep reminding myself that if boredom and loneliness are the worst things I have to deal with at the moment, compared to so many others, I’m doing well. Having said that, it’s easy to get melancholy when you spend too much time in your own head. To combat that, I’d suggest developing a new routine and keeping busy. Make sure each day includes some form of exercise, meditation, journaling (if that’s your thing), but most important of all, keep in touch with your loved ones back home. You need to remind yourself that you’re not alone in this – everybody is separated from people they love at the moment. And go gently with yourself, moods are going to fluctuate AND THAT’S OK. Also, talk to your partner!! Chances are they’re feeling exactly the same as you.
10. What are you doing differently now compared to a few months ago?
I’m playing lots of Words with Friends, carrying hand sanitiser with me wherever I go, learning to cook different foods to ease the monotony and taking a beginners Yoga course online.