An essay written by a Grade 6 student made rounds in the Chinese social media platforms because it tells how his military medic mom responded the call of duty the day Novel coronavirus broke the news in Wuhan.
The essay was a winter break assignment for the Grade 6 students in Shanghai Normal University. Yang Xiayu’s piece touched the heart of his Chinese teacher which the latter sent it to Shanghai Morning Post and eventually got published.
Indeed, health workers are our real heroes in times like this. READ THE ESSAY BELOW:
An Anusual Winter Holiday
By Yang Xiayu,
Class 4, Grade 6, No 2 experimental school affiliated to Shanghai Normal University
Jan 24 was the eve of the Lunar New Year. A ringing phone call woke me up from a sweet dream. As I opened my drowsy eyes, Mom was already on the phone: “Yes, director, I am on holiday with my family in Changzhou (a city in Jiangsu province). When is the time? Okay, we will be on our way at once.”
Click! Mom turned on the bedroom light, and jostled my dad and me awake. “Quickly, we have to pack up and go back to Shanghai now. I need to report to urgent work for Wuhan at 11 am.”
Dad grumbled, “It’s just five o’clock, don’t you let me have a good holiday!”
The sudden exposure of light made it hard for me to open my eyes, as I snuggled myself with the blanket and complained, “Today is the eve of the Lunar New Year, and we have a family dinner with great grandfather and the aunties. I want to receive lucky money when we pay visits to relatives. I haven’t celebrated the Spring Festival in the countryside for years!”
“My baby, I will explain to you on our way. Now, get up and pack up your stuff,” said Mom as she pulled me out of bed and put clothes on me.
In the wake of our noises, grandpa and grandma sleeping in the next room got up. One started to prepare breakfast, and the other started packing things up and making phone calls.
At 7 am, we had a simple and quick breakfast and put luggage in the car, leaving stuff that could not fit in to relatives. It was raining outside, the sky was still dark, and it was foggy.
Mom dragged me into the car, despite my crying for New Year visits, and Dad started the engine. The rain got heavy and the road was permeated with fog. The windshield wipers worked at the highest frequency but we could only see the road 50 meters ahead. At one time Mom urged Dad to drive faster, but at another time she warned him to slow down, which made me carsick and feel awful about this Spring Festival.
The rain stopped when we drove on the highway to Shanghai, and Mom finally had time to turn around and talk to me.
“I know you are not happy, but do you know why Mom has to give up the holiday and go to Wuhan?” she asked, and added: “Because there is a new type of virus in Wuhan, and hundreds of people are infected and thousands are in quarantine.”
“Is it more serious than the flu?” I asked.
“Definitely. Remember those 16 classmates who couldn’t come to school last month because of having the flu? This pneumonia-like virus is more dangerous. In 2003, a similar virus called SARS broke out in Beijing, infecting thousands and claiming 700 lives, and you were not born then.”
I felt so upset when Mom showed me the old pictures of the SARS outbreak: People wore masks everywhere, doctors and nurses put on hazmat preventive clothes, and few people walked on the streets.
“Mom, must you go?” I was worried.
“Yes, I am a chief nurse, and I am a military medic. My job is to heal the wounded and rescue the dying,” she said. “Now Wuhan is in danger. It is your father’s hometown, and your mom must go and save it.”
We arrived in Shanghai in time, and Mom rushed home. Only after 10 minutes, she was downstairs again with a small bag. Looking at Mom, I was about to cry. I knew Mom won’t be with us for a long time, and I won’t be able to eat her dishes — Mom is going to brave the dangerous virus.
Mom hugged me and patted my head. “Be strong,” she said to me when leaving, and I nodded.
The dinner for our Lunar New Year was noodles cooked by my grandpa. There was little festivity, and I didn’t even want to watch the Spring Festival Gala on television. Outside, there were no sounds of traffic, nor of firecrackers. Time seemed to stop.
At 8 pm, Mom called home. “Watch the news on (China) Central Television,” she said and hung up before we talked. I turned on the television. It was broadcasting the reinforcement by military medics from Shanghai to Wuhan, and Mom was on the screen.
Wearing the navy’s blue uniform, Mom and other 150 medics from the navy were on their way to the airplane. The cargo plane had its back door wide open, and Mom and her comrades rushed to board the plane, quietly and orderly. The faces of everyone were solemn and yet anxious, and the only sound there was the unison of shoes hitting the ground and the order given by the commander. Finally, the airplane taxied to the runway, and took off to the night sky.
Wuhan, tonight you will be no longer be on your own! Mom and her comrades are coming!
After watching the live broadcast, I was not upset anymore and fell asleep. Tomorrow is the first day of the Lunar New Year. Life will continue, Mom will triumph, and Wuhan will be safe again. //
As of this writing, while the number of the infected worldwide rises, hundreds are also now recovering from NcoV disease.
There’s hope. #PrayForWuhan
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