Beijing Diary

Earlier this past week, on the morning of Wednesday 7th April, I finally got my first vaccine dose. Beijing has begun to vaccinate eligible foreigners, and my school made an appointment at the vaccine center set up in the Ditan Athletic Stadium. 

As usual, Chinese efficiency was on full display; even with the half hour waiting period after the shot, it still only took about an hour for the entire procedure. The queues were not particularly long, as there are apparently not as many foreigners in Beijing as there used to be before the pandemic. Anyway, after filling out several forms for identification, tracking, and consent, I got the actual shot. More forms to sign, and the individual dose I received was matched to my identification forms for the record, and then after the jab, I was sent out to the waiting area. 

Everyone who received the vaccine was required to wait for thirty minutes so that in case any adverse effects were observed, we could be treated right away. The area was a fenced in section of the gym floor, surrounded by modular walls of the type you see in modern office cubicles. The seats were basic stools, rather than folding chairs. To me, it looked and felt very much like sitting shiva. I caught up on a bit of reading, but otherwise, it was dull and uninteresting. It was odd to see other Westerners around the room; I so rarely see them these days.

Suffering no ill-effects, I left. While my morning class schedule had been cleared for this, I still had afternoon classes to attend. but within the next hour, I became extremely tired. In fact, I was completely enervated. I managed to get through my classes without falling asleep, but even my kids saw that something was wrong. When I got back to the teachers’ dorms, I fell asleep from about 16:00 to 05:00. The next day still saw me quite fatigued, and I used a cane for a slight loss of equilibrium. I had a mild headache, a slight case of sniffles, and loose bowels. But I survived.

The day after that, I was fine. And I am scheduled to receive the second dose on the 28th of April.

I have a flight reserved for July 8th to return to America for a month– assuming Delta (my airline) has resumed flights by then. I am hoping that things improve in the United States to the point that I will be able to visit. My return to China is scheduled for early August, rather than the last week thereof; I will need twenty-one days to sit in quarantine before I’ll be able to get back to my flat. But by then, I should be able to begin work at my new job. Of course, if Delta does not resume its schedule of flights, well then, I shall just have to wait a bit longer.

In any case, stage one of my immunization has gone well. 

About Michael Butchin

I was born, according to the official records, in the Year of the Ram, under the Element of Fire, when Johnson ruled the land with a heavy heart; in the Cradle of Liberty, to a family of bohemians. I studied Chinese language and literature at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I spent some years in Taiwan teaching kindergarten during the day, and ESOL during the evenings. I currently work as a high school ESOL teacher, and am an unlikely martial artist. I have spent much of my life amongst actors, singers, movie stars, beautiful cultists, Taoist immortals, renegade monks, and at least one martial arts tzaddik. I currently reside in Beijing's Dongcheng district
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