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More Blessings From Quarantine

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

Crucible III. Acrylic on paper. Tung Chung, Hong Kong. January 2021.

It’s November 2021, and while many countries are still struggling with outbreaks of COVID, life is beginning to return to normal in much of the world. Vaccinations have become widely available in developed countries, but travel restrictions are highly variable even between regions in the same country.

Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Island

The Hong Kong SAR government is still requiring a 21-day mandatory hotel quarantine stay for anyone arriving from the United States or any other countries considered to be Category A (high risk). There is little scientific evidence to back up quarantine practices, but since the Hong Kong government’s top priority is to reopen border traffic with China, our policies must align with the mainland’s.

Familiar yet different

Last February I had written about my hotel quarantine experience, calling my hotel room “the cage” at the time. I find it so interesting that my view of this third quarantine is completely different from the first.

Quarantine art studio, courtesy of ArtjammingHK

So far from seeing this as an onerous or restrictive experience, I’ve been looking forward to this quarantine as being extraordinarily productive. I am able to write my brain health course, do my coaching work remotely, read and even paint. I get that that may sound weird to many people but for an introvert, this kind of working retreat is quite welcome in many ways.

So much to do

I remember that when I first took maternity leave in the early 1990s, 2 months seemed like an impossibly long period of time to be off work. I had so many projects lined up - from studying I would do, to articles I would write, and even crafting and cooking projects. Many women may also laugh ruefully as they recall their short-lived ambitions for maternity leave productivity. The reality is that becoming a new mother is the kind of identity shift that goes beyond hormones or even biology. It’s an all-consuming novel reality that leaves room for nothing else.

There’s a quiet hum of gratitude that runs like a river under the measured pace.

Fortunately over the years, I’ve learned that I will always want to do more than I actually have time for. And as a recovering workaholic, I’m learning to walk my talk in prioritizing self care. Imagine my surprise in finding that I’m actually more creative and just as productive, when my inner drill sergeant is on leave.

Paradoxical magic

There is a quiet hum of gratitude that runs like a river under the measured pace of these days, that’s a completely different energy from the usual hustle and bustle of life in Hong Kong. It’s like being in a bubble suspended above the city.

Nocturnal sakura. Acrylic on canvas, Ovolo 2021.

In my self coaching this week I’m working on unpacking the paradoxical magic of this moment. How is it that I feel so much freedom despite being confined? So much abundance when restricted? So loved while yet isolated?

What I know for sure is that all of this happened for a reason. I was meant to travel to attend my son’s wedding and then return to Hong Kong despite the quarantine. I was meant to learn that the key to unlocking the cage was with me all along.


Detailed, up-to-date information regarding Hong Kong government travel requirements and restrictions, recommended testing sites and procedures for obtaining required paperwork for airlines. Includes crowd-sourced ratings on hotel experiences and workarounds.

Provides accurate information pertaining to all things COVID in Hong Kong. Travel section can be difficult to navigate because changes are frequent, there’s too much irrelevant information and documents are often presented in PDF format. Infographics are colorful but not too helpful.

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