How are you feeling?

So, you ran away from the virus? I am sure you ran away from the virus, because if not because of that why will you come back home this “early” you have only been away for one and a half years. Who goes abroad and comes back after two years? You actually just ran away from the virus. So, this is how I was welcomed home after one and a half years abroad (how dare I!) clarification I was coming back to my home country Cameroon. I arrived in China in August 2018 I got a scholarship for a Master degree. I got really sick in February 2019 and gone through my very first depression too so when I realized my passport was about to expire in July 2020, I didn't think twice before booking a flight home to do it home instead, yes there is a Cameroonian embassy in China but my passport my choice (I actually just wanted to go home and see my mom. Knowing that my mother got a stroke 2 days before I left for China in 2018, I needed the hug and kisses of my favorite warrior). So, in November 2019 I booked my flight back home it was a round trip; end of January 2020 to end of February 2020, yes, I have to put in all the details so people can know how I ran away from the virus. We booked my February flight in November because it was cheaper at that time. I was soo excited when I booked that flight! I was finally going back to some homemade well cooked and seasoned food. New year came I celebrated with some friends, great! At this point in time I wasn't aware a certain virus was already growing in some cities in China. The weekend following new year I went partying with some friends we had soo much fun, still not aware of what was happening. After that night, life changed completely. The next day my phone was ringing with hundreds of notifications from the school, news, friends telling us not to go out because a very dangerous virus was out and if you have been outside lately you better stay in your room. I had like two or three weeks before my flight and this was the scariest and most stressful weeks of my life (at that time!) I was quarantined in my room because I was living on campus so the school had us under lockdown , as if it wasn't stressful enough certain airlines started cancelling their flight in China. I remember praying every night and putting my mother's name in front for some reason I felt like if I remind God that I am going to see my mother he will let me go. My flight was in another city the road to the train station and to the airport was just unbelievable the police will stop your taxi about 5 times to check your temperature. But I finally made it home, and one week later my airline cancelled their flights to China due to the virus. China Here is me happy to be home, it was funny how at the time I was coming from a country where the virus was hitting hard to come to Cameroon where everybody was like, this is a white people issue relax! and like a month later the country was under lockdown. Apart from my family and some rare friends I will say 90 percent of people who talked to me or even talked about me said I ran away from the virus. On the other hand, China has closed its border and here I am “Blocked” in my country with a master's degree to finish online and the question shifted from ‘You ran away from the virus' to ‘Won't you go back?” What actually hurt my feelings at that time was the fact that NOBODY ever came to me asking how I felt. I will say it here in English and this is an African thing we don't know (most of us) how to talk to people during crisis, you can go through the most traumatic experience in your life and an uncle a parent or even friend will be like, “assia” but get over it. To say I quarantined myself for months because I saw how dangerous the virus was in China and how traumatic it was for me just experiencing it there for some weeks was wild. Nobody not even my mother will enter my room after coming from outside. And then my mother got flu, I mean she has sinusitis so she is always like she has flu and they diagnosed her with Covid-19. I remember my mother telling me about her result that day while playing out of stress with an object on my closet and me telling her stupidly ‘mum please stop touching everywhere' she looked at me with the saddest eyes ever and locked herself out in her room. I went to my mother after sometimes (not without a mask, a hand sanitizer and some hot tea) to apologize at the end of the day she was the one cooking our food, she will lick the spoon with which she turns the sauce with her tongue before stirring the sauce again, don't get me wrong the food will turn out delicious. But I just had to tell her that we were in this together. Luckily 3 days later she did back the test and it came back negative, the first results were biased! I will just like to tell my fellow Africans that you can ask the person around you this very simple question; HOW ARE YOU FEELING? It helps, it helps a lot.

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