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When Stuck Between Roads

I know a lot of people who got stuck somewhere between roads, between countries due to the whole pandemic situation. I’ve never met them in person, but we are in the same group chat on WeChat, a popular messenger in China. The name of it is “We Are Going To China”. People share stories of how they left China where their job, husbands or kids were, and had to stay for a good year or so far away from the place they’d called their home. 

If you read my previous article “Looking For The Right Language”, you probably know that I left China last year to spend my two-week vacation in my hometown, and then wasn’t able to come back. Hence the reason why I joined the group chat.

The most touching stories are told by mothers.

“Please, someone, help me with good advice or tell me who can give me some. My seven-year-old son left for China in January last year to see his father. We are divorced. My son got stuck there. I miss him very much. And he misses me too. Please, someone, tell me how can I get him back?” One of the women asked in the chat. 

“I joined this group one year ago. My little son and I are in Russia, but my husband, his dad, is in China. And I still can’t find an opportunity to go back and reunite with him,” writes another one. 

How many stories like these are there in the world now? How many families are waiting to be reunited with their loved ones? And what about the many couples that have yet to see each other’s faces beyond the little squares of their phones for the last year or even more? (God, bless technology) 

I remember my feeling last summer, when the Chinese Embassy finally issued my visa. It didn’t take long for me to buy a big yellow suitcase. I came to Russia in February and only had winter clothes. But the seasons were changing, so I had to change my outfits too. That’s why when I thought that I finally have a chance to leave, I discovered that the suitcase I came with to Russia cannot fit in all the new clothes I’d bought.

Stuck Between Roads

But as it later turned out , having a visa is not enough. To go to China you need a plane. Days and nights (literally) I spent online looking for the flights. I was ready to go through three or even five countries to get to China. My home, my dog Milo and my job were waiting for me there. And, of course, I was not the only one looking for a way to leave the country.

Several months later China stopped issuing visas again and all the visas people had already received were cancelled. My yellow suitcase settled down on the balcony and still “lives” there. 

Of course, I can’t speak for all the people out there waiting for the visas and flights. We all experience different feelings about living in between roads. We all learn different lessons. But what I’ve learned is that I’ve been living between my past and my future for too long. And it obscured me from living in the present. I stopped valuing the moments I lived. When I realised it I saw a lot of little paths in between those roads, the paths that I could also take.  

Stuck Between Roads