Diary: Returning Home

Day 1: It is strange to think that just a week ago, I was in Denmark, living my normal life, and today, I am in Vietnam, starting my one-week quarantine in a military camp. The journey back was not too bad considering how the world is at the moment, but I can't stop thinking to myself that I won't be back in Europe any time soon. That sucks, the thought of being restrained from a place that you love. Day 2: People here are so quiet. They barely talk. I don't blame them, I don't talk either. There are too many things in my head. There are four of us in each room. I feel lucky, it wasn't as bad as I have prepared myself. At least, I am not cramped in a 21-bunk-bed room, having to share one common bathroom facility with the whole quarantine camp (as I saw in one Youtube video). Our room is not spacious but comfortable enough. I chose the bed in the farthest corner, trying to avoid small talks, which proves to be an unnecessary thing now. We were given the necessities: a blanket, a pillow, a bar of soap, seven packs of shampoo for seven days, toothpaste, mouthwash, and plenty of disposable masks. I feel alright. The nine-hour sleep definitely helped. The food reminds me of home, the Vietnamese taste that I didn't know I missed so much. The military officers seem alright. They look busy, running hastily along the corridor. Since we aren't allowed to step foot outside, I guess they are acting as our arms and legs now. Day 3: We have our Covid-test today. I feel very nervous. I don't have any symptoms but anything can happen. Rumors started circling around that there are some positive cases in our camp. I hope they are not in my room, because if that's true, we will all be relocated to the hospital. I called my parents for the third time today. They were worried. They told me to update them with my test result but the officers said it won't be available until later tonight. I can't stop thinking about the test, but I need to finish my duty as a student - my last paper before graduation. Funny how my three and a half years of college ends, so insignificant. No ceremony, no parties, no friends, no family, just me and my laptop. My boyfriend said this is how he prefers his to be. I don't know about that. I don't like being the center of attention but having a small celebration seems like the right thing to do. Day 4: I am negative with Covid, my whole room is. It was a big relief for everyone. People seem to be more cheerful and talkative. We started taking turns to share our stories. One woman came back from Milan, Italy to say the last goodbye to her mom, who is terribly sick. Another girl lost her job in Lyon, France, and couldn't sustain herself so she chose to go home. The last woman was coming from Paris, France. Her father has kidney cancer so she returned to see if her kidney is compatible for a kidney donation. I didn't know, I was too ignorant to notice the pains my roommates have been through. I told myself to stop pitty my situation since the only "problem" I dealt with was the expiration of my student visa. At least I am coming back home with a roof over my head and healthy parents. I didn't tell them that though, I just reminded myself to be nicer to my roommates, at least that is what I can do. Day 5: Somebody got transported elsewhere last night. They were in the room directly above us. I could hear packing noises, footsteps rumbling, suitcases dragging across the floor, bed frames moving aside for disinfection. It all got quiet at around 2 a.m. I wonder if those patients will be alright. I feel grateful for my body, that it is functioning and it's healthy. The excitement of the idea of getting out also started swallowing me. I haven't been home for two years and I realized I actually miss home. Day 6: Today is a good day. I have 24 hours left here. Is this how the prisoners feel? I mean they have it much worse but I think I understand the thrill of counting down time until you're free. I already made a list of things I want to do once I am out. Then I realized an A4 paper couldn't fit all of my eagerness so I settle with one task only - giving my parents a big squeezy hug. After that, I have plenty of time to make up my mind. Day 7: My parents are HERE, they are really HERE! They came to pick me up two hours before the time I was actually released. We hug and kiss and repeat. My mom smells the same but my dad seems thinner and a bit older. I take a mental note to feed him all my newly learned recipes. Returning home is not too bad after all. Europe can wait but Vietnam, I didn't know have missed you so badly.


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