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

Hi Micky, welcome home. Where did you fly back from and how was the flight back? I flew back from Sydney. The Sydney to Taipei flight is one I’ve done frequently over the last ten years. Around 95 percent of them have been via China Airlines. It’s always been a smooth nine-hour overnight flight. But this one was a little anxious to say the least. I arrived early (about 3.5 hours early) and there was already a very long queue at check-in. I passed the time by observing all of the different types of protective gear people had on. There were complete his’n’hers hazmat suits, people wearing full-face visors, double-layered masks and disposable gloves. There was a young man next to me getting ready to go toward the gates. I said to him, “now you’re ready for war!” He said, “yeah it’s crazy” as he strapped one of those graffiti artist, heavy duty black masks and rubber gloves. 

Snoopy came for a quick visit.

Was there anything else different about the flight? They announced several times that body temperatures would be taken before boarding. I was a little paranoid and took my temperature several times the day before. Everyone had to keep their mask on at all times. Drinks weren’t served unless you specially requested one. The reason they gave was that drinks would prevent your mask from being on your face. But of course I had to order a glass to ease into the night. How can you not drink? I didn’t sleep as it was really packed. I’d say 100% capacity.

What was the tipping point that made you decide to fly back to Taipei?
I had originally planned to fly back around that time. I did try to move my flight earlier, no success. Then I noticed Australia didn’t seem to know how this virus is spreading. There was no containment, it kinda went straight into mitigation. It was quite a jolt for me when they closed Bondi Beach. That made me think, ok time to go. 

Where are you staying during home quarantine? I’m staying in my apartment in Taipei. It’s been six days inside now. Getting a bit frustrated now, but nothing I can do about it. 

How have the quarantine check-ins been? They don’t phone as often anymore. It used to be once a day but the CDC official said, “I can tell you haven’t been out” so I guess they know I’ve been good. I guess they’re really busy trying to track everyone. They phone and sometimes message to answer a few questions. It’s always the same person. She’s like my personal parole officer. 

Did you receive a quarantine care package? I received 14 masks three hours into Day 1. They also gave me some garbage bags and a thermometer yesterday because I didn’t have a thermometer. My temperature has been good so far. I test myself at least three times a day. 

What are you doing for food and groceries? A friend dropped off some groceries. No beer yet though, it’s a bit heavy.

How are you keeping busy? I’ve been quite busy preparing some work for the year. And a lot of conference calls. With the downtime I’ve done some IKEA hacks and sowed a lot of herb seeds for the coming year. I’m lucky I have a balcony with a view of Yangmingsan on a good day. I’ve missed out on a whole year’s of Netflix so I’m back into it now. I watched Kingdom season 2. It’s so bad it’s actually quite good. I watched The Irishman. Bit slow. Any suggestions welcome!

How has your family reacted doing this process? My mum lives in Taipei and she has been wanting to visit me. She was pretty calm when I told her not to visit me just yet. She’s elderly so it’s best to take precautions for now.

What are you missing most being stuck inside? I’m a designer, so just being creative. (Micky runs his own design studio.) I tend to wander the streets a lot for inspiration. I daydream for ideas while being outdoors.

View to Yangmingshan on a clear day.

What are you looking forward to when your home quarantine is finished? I want to see my mum obviously ASAP and also see her dog, who is sort of like my dog. I’m also very keen to dive into a bowl of beef noodles! I usually go to Tien Hsia San. Takeaway beef noodles are the worst.

Any other thoughts to share? I hope there won’t be a lockdown in Taipei. It’s not all that fun. I would be worried for my mental health or anyone else’s if we had to be locked in for longer. But this 14-day quarantine time is definitely one I’ll never forget. 

Thanks Micky!

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