My Unforgettable Year, 2020: Part 1

January 2020, the terrible COVID-19 spread in my country, China; it killed a lot of people. My parents originally planned to come to Pomfret, CT, to spend the Chinese Spring Festival with me, but because of the pandemic, they cancelled their trip. I missed them and worried about their health.

All photos drawn by Rectory student Tony S.

Thanks to those brave doctors who worked tirelessly against the clock to save patients, and people from all walks of life risked their lives, working day and night hoping to gradually control the pandemic.

However, the COVID-19 virus began to spread around the world. My parents got an email from our principal, who is always optimistic and confident, but he said the situation was getting worse, and he suggested our parents take us home.

Some parents bought airplane tickets immediately. When some mothers of local students heard that I was going back to China, in order to keep me safe during the trip, they sent me some masks, gloves, and goggles. My teachers prepared a big bag of protective equipment for me, too. Rectory made me feel really warm, like my home.

The morning I was going to leave, some of my friends got up very early to say goodbye to me in the dorm.

Teachers were also at the parking lot to see us off. I would miss them.

I got to JFK Airport in New York five hours early, but there was already a long line. That was because the airline company had oversold tickets and all the people were afraid that they wouldn’t be able to get on the plane.

Fortunately, everything went well. After checking in and going through customs and security, I sat down in the waiting area at my boarding gate; I took out my straw to drink water and eat some chocolate, knowing that I would not be able to eat or drink on the plane.

The plane was full of people, and everyone was well equipped. The whole plane was full of the smell of disinfectants.

I cleaned my surroundings with alcohol prep pads, turned the air conditioner on to the maximum in order to get fresh air, and started my 13-hour trip without any movement. I watched a movie. The person sitting beside me was playing chess for the whole time. He was not very good at it, and I really wanted to help him so much.

The airline staff was taking the passengers’ temperatures every 3 hours. During the last test, some people’s temperatures were over 37 degrees centigrade, so a staff member had to take them off the plane first. Finally, one of the passengers was diagnosed with COVID-19. He was sitting just two rows ahead of me! Suddenly, I became a close contact person, so I had to fill out an extra form. How terrible!

After getting off the plane, I had to take a nucleic acid check. The doctor put a cotton stick in my throat and took some of my saliva as a sample. Fortunately, the result was negative!

Late at night, we arrived at Tianjin Baoding because the plane could not land in Beijing directly, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. After a lot of processing, we successfully got on the coach which took us to the quarantine hotel.

A staff member on the coach told us very seriously that we would be quarantined in a hotel, so we would not be able to celebrate the Chinese holiday with our families. We were also told that the condition of the hotel might not be as wonderful as we hoped.

However, when I stepped into my hotel room, I was surprised by it. It was a big, bright room, and it was very clean and tidy. I was so happy about that!

For the next 14 days, the quarantine hotel not only provided us different kinds of delicious foods and snacks, but also beautiful flowers and a book to read. In addition to that, when the staff found out that nearly all of us were taking online classes, they even updated their internet! That was very nice of them! I survived my trip during the virus. It was not as bad as I had expected, but it was certainly very memorable.