A hello to Pittsburgh from China

"I miss everything in Pittsburgh and I hope everyone stays safe and healthy."

ShanShan is a lovely person I met attending an art show downtown in 2018. She lives here in the ‘Burgh. However, in January of this year, she left the country to visit her home country (China) with her fiance for the Spring festival: many of us may know it best as the Chinese New Year.

She also had plans to get married in Singapore soon after the celebration. But, as you and I (all of us) have learned the past few months, COVID-19 already made some arrangements and told us to fix all our Google Calendars.

Many of you who have gotten to know me understand that culture is one of my big interests. And that’s why today’s post is so cool to me.

This is a guest post: the below writings and media have been sent to me directly from ShanShan. She’s currently in Beijing with her fiance.

Minor formatting and editing by me.

Things here in China are getting a lot better than a month ago.

People are beginning to go to their workplace everyday, the malls are open. But we are still serious about the virus. Everyone is wearing a mask on the street. You need to get your temperature checked before you go to any place like the Metro, supermarket, your office building, or your neighborhood. So if you go out for a walk, you can be checked 3-4 times.

ShanShan (left) fiance (right)


Here is a video that I shot when I went to a local Starbucks today:

There were limited tables and chairs to avoid crowd.

Extra tables and chairs were stacked:

Security guard checking people’s temperature in a car before they go into a parking lot:

As you can see, I feel safe on the street now since only people with no major symptoms can go out.

There are a lot of inconveniences. Like, the delivery man can’t go into any building now. So you have to go downstairs to get your deliveries.

We’re trying to control the number of imported cases. So, people traveling from other countries have to be quarantined in a center for 14 days before they can go home. This is added recently due to the outbreak of COVID-19 across the world.

The soon-to-be-married couple in Shanghai

We planned to hold our wedding in Singapore

… but because of the coronavirus we have to postpone it. And we are waiting for US visas since all the embassy are currently not working... so we don’t know when can we go back.


Traveling from Shanghai to Beijing

I’m in Beijing at my parent’s home now. We took the high speed railway and were required to sit with one empty seat between every 2 people. We had our temperature taken at the beginning of the trip and again at the end of the trip before we leave the train. Everyone was wearing a mask. And after we arrived in our apartment, we were required to report our trip on an app designed for Beijing. We listed our trip date, previous address in Shanghai, train number, our body temperature, and so on. The manager of the apartment requires us to be quarantined at home for 14 days and we must use separate bathrooms from our parents.

Every city has its own app for personal health now. If you don’t have any travel history for the past 14 days and with no symptoms, you’ll be issued a green tag. Shopping malls or restaurants may require you to show your tag before you go into those public spaces.

Currently, we have a yellow tag showing that we are still under monitoring. We need to report our body temperature in the app everyday for the rest 14 days.

Personally, I hope the Coronavirus thing can be over soon. We wish to go back to our normal life and be able to reunite with our dog. I miss everything in Pittsburgh and I hope everyone stay safe and healthy.

ShanShan is CMU graduate with a Master of Arts Management degree from Heinz College. She’s planning to come back to Pittsburgh after the situation gets better.


All the above info has remained up to date up to March 23rd, 2020.

A tremendous thank you to ShanShan for documenting her experience and showing us the world from her lens. If you have any questions/feedback, reply to this email and I’ll forward them to her.

If you’re interested in more pieces like this, subscribe to the newsletter with this button:

Thanks for reading.