This post is part of a spontaneous interview series I’m throwing together this weekend. The goal is to share personal accounts from people doing compulsory home quarantine in Taiwan during the coronavirus pandemic.

Welcome home, Emilia! Where did you fly back from and how was the trip? I came back from Spain on March 13 and I’m now on my 8th day of quarantine. I’m studying EMBA in University of Barcelona. I’m also doing business development for a startup there. I’m from Taipei myself so returning to Taiwan was a decision made right after the Catalunya government announced suspension of all universities. I felt extra safe once I arrived at the boarding gate in Istanbul for my connecting flight back to Taipei. Everyone wore masks and sanitized the seats once we got on the plane.

What was the tipping point that made you decide to fly back to Taipei? The lack of public awareness is one of the main reasons I returned to Taipei. In Spain, I have been doing precautions for over a month when others were making fun of me being “crazy”. My classmates are all executives from Europe and Latin America. I was the only Asian so imagine all of them making fun of me.

What kind of precautions were you doing in Spain? I was wearing masks for flights and long distance bus travels. Our main transportation is the metro so every day the first thing I do after I put down my backpack is I go straight to the washroom and wash my hands. Then took out my alcohol spray to sanitize my cellphone and desk top. And usually I will use the gel sanitizer afterwards just to make sure. Spain’s infection numbers went up dramatically during the week of February 24 to 29 so that was the time I started to tell people how to prevent. But they just don’t care and keep saying that the virus ONLY targets seniors and it’s just like the flu.

Were your family worried about you in Spain? My family were calling me three times a day since two weeks ago and rushed me to come back.

Are you staying with family during home quarantine? Just one family member. I asked others to stay away until after the quarantine.

Emilia’s quarantine work station for virtual EMBA classes and her startup job.

How are you keeping busy during home quarantine? I am having virtual classes at night and during the day I just cook and writing my thesis. Also working from home with Zoom.

So you’re super busy! I’ve still got more time than I thought. I’m spending a lot of time on the sofa and TV series! God Friended Me, Little Sheldon, Greys Anatomy, Sex Education plus another five to seven series. Korean ones (don’t even know their name in English) 愛的迫降 etc. Now I’m in quarantine I have time for Game of Thrones.

Any other plans during your time back in Taiwan? In Spain we have a nationally holiday from April 3 to 13 so I think I will use the time while I’m here to do some short trips within Taiwan. And I might work on a project with my friend for recruitment or business development.

Any other thoughts to share? Coming back to Taiwan is like another world. People in the US and Europe care less and are still going out whenever they can. From my perspective I think the Taiwanese media is overreacting a bit and there are too many fake news. That’s caused panic and unnecessary worries. But Taiwan is very lucky with our government and healthcare system. I’m very proud and appreciate being Taiwanese.

Thank you, Emilia!

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