1 March 2020

2020: The Story So Far...

2020 started off so sweet, or did it? No, with every new year we have such high hopes for things to go swimmingly, I just got drama! From a very stroppy visitor to a deadly case of the Coronavirus, in its infancy 2020 has packed a few sucker punches at me! I stand strong and ready to continue to live my best life against all odds! Just don't make me stay in one more hotel! No!

After arriving back from my nonstop Christmas holiday I fell ill with sickness after going back to work so soon after flying around the world, no joke because I was done and tired! The previous night the new year had arrived, I wasn't impressed because certain drama went down good and proper! Retreating home for four days I needed some time to collect my senses, 2020 was going great, don't even try! I was so close to the finish line, I had handed my notice in at my current kindergarten due to reasons I won't go into. My new employer would expecting me in a matter of weeks, at that point things were going well. As the Chinese New Year holiday neared it was evident that a stream of sickness had engulfed the kindergarten, in that moment things carried on as normal with a few more absences than usual. How my weekend away in the city helped, I saw the Summer Palace, Yuanmingyuan Park and saw Wudaokou! Life, B! 

Sharing a mutual contact with a Scottish friend had me wondering if I wanted to experience something different, did I? Yes, I welcomed a new friend into my life for the weekend to find that his personal interests were as intense as his make-up routine, nobody rushes me on a Saturday morning! Lunch at the Conrad was fancy, for that discount I was thankful because those apps aren't foreigner friendly in the slightest. I sipped on wine and enjoyed my confit of duck, the weekend was getting on nicely. Shopping? One sport that I do solo, I cannot abide by time being wasted in a shop when I'm not benefiting. Call me arrogant, I just know what I want, don't damn me for being specific, choices! Fast forwarding to what would be my last Kai night out, I lived my best life with that caked queen who really pushed me to my limit! Getting the facts straight, the stresses of my current situation and those gold-digging tendencies weren't going to make a fool of me! GTFO, quite literally boy! Go!

My apartment would finish ten days before my last working day, teamed with the Chinese New Year government week in tow I needed to make certain reservations. Captured to the right was my second hotel out of three, I enjoyed my first hotel because I had my bed made and room cleaned every few days and I had ordered many snacks to help curb the cost of delivery meals because something ugly was about to get me without any warning given. Certain pushbacks had been made with a second announcement made, I felt confident that some previous company paperwork could be rectified before a third reservation would need to be made. Release me already! Yes, during CNY I'm usually abroad but those pre-Coronavirus streets were looking as quiet as a northward Korean city, let's keep it vague. A friend notified that my hotel had been shutdown by the police, divine timing allowed me to check-in on time! O!

Going back a few steps, I didn't see any risk with being in China during a growing epidemic. The Coronavirus had unfortunately hit worst within Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei Province. My heart dropped when I heard about the location, I had lived in Wuhan for the first two years that I was in China, when all is said and done I loved living in that city, it didn't sit well with my conscience. Netflix and blogging kept me busy, I felt as if I was going to be here for the long haul, I had the best fight on with my previous company because I knew my papers should have been lodged weeks previous to that February date! Hotel life felt like some twisted limbo, I kept the faith because that's all I could do! Those streets were no joke, the migrants hadn't made their way back to Shunyi, the quietness turned into deafening silence. Getting a drink or two had to be done, I had a date with the whisky devil! My funds were good and they are, I saved my coins but didn't want them spent as hotel reservations, B!

Friends, honest and real is what we need in times of madness, during times of mass panic because of a big massive epidemic! 2020, you had us fooled! Living our 'Pose' best lives, both me and my friend Cyndi both clapped back to the Coronavirus fearlessly! Embodying our best 'Electra' demeanours, we served all of what we could to walk the ball, the category was 'Coronavirus Realness!'. Ten's were across the board for Cyndi's cooking, she fed me well with her wholesome cooking, I was living on takeaways and noodles! We spent our days getting our lives together, I was adamant it was going to be a sit in, I had a lot in my head with getting my exit papers. The real life gravity of 2020s shadiness couldn't be seen! We kept each other going, with the stresses felt differently I didn't judge Cyndi for going home at all. The Coronavirus wasn't coming to Beijing's suburban Shunyi District, we kept safe due to our location.

2020, look what you have done! I would say it's the divine way to embrace what was happening in that moment but I was not going to be broken down. Cancelling my first train that was down to Shanghai had me thinking things would be pushed back only a little bit, I still needed papers and they weren't going to be secured easily! Making links with an agent, that contact maxed out my budget but he negotiated fiercely with those ugly forces into doing their jobs properly. I wasn't playing any games, as time pressed on I then faced the prospect that could have taken me to the UK, that wasn't the plan and I wasn't going to take that lightly! Cue Cyndi's departure and my third hotel reservation, I wanted out of the hotels because I wanted housekeeping to leave me alone at that point. Although, I had a good stash of biscuits from the second hotel! Cyndi's departure was meant for her mental health, mine was being cemented together with booze and trashy shows. 2020, I can't!

Release letter done, I needed my cancellation letter hurried that would cancel my current work permit. The tomfoolery that was going on with my previous teaching company was no joke, the government bureau had reopened on the 31st of January 2020! Things weren't moving on because certain legal obligations hadn't been fulfilled, that was some shady business! With Cyndi back in the United States I moved onto my third and final hotel, plans had been made for me to venture down to my next city but the Coronavirus had my new employer safeguarding things, I had news that it was in my best interest to leave the country due to the timeline for visas and to also conserve my funds. I had to be pragmatic, honestly speaking this hotel life has become a real chore, not to mention a tad expensive! Ensuring a ticket booked, my parents snatched a flight for me with Etihad Airways from Beijing to Manchester via Abu Dhabi. Oh!

2020, get your ish together! Throughout January and February I handled a lot of foolishness, having the odd moment of hysteria I picked things up and moved on with life within China's Coronavirus! The hotels have been something to deal with, I was done with them after the first week, being one month in total I don't want to see another hotel for a long time! I didn't want to go home, don't get it twisted because I love my family but the visa business from home can get pricey with the bureaucracy, I have to get on with this situation because it was my choice to change companies and location. 2020 hasn't been kind but things have worked out well with each step, I have full confidence that the outbreak will be culled, allowing normal service to resume in China. Character building and mind altering, 2020 has pushed me beyond my limits but I'm standing to tell my story. Now, I won't lie I'll be enjoying the comforts of home, I won't miss this Shunyi ghost-town for nothing! Choices!

For Real Though? 2020, No!

Joseph Harrison 

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