A love letter to Wuhan from an expat
By Wang Zheng

Sylvia Schroeder can't wait to go back to Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak.  

Schroeder had been working as a teacher at Wuhan University for two years when she left for a break in Beijing. While she was there, the city she had made her home was abruptly sealed off as the result of the outbreak of the new virus. 

Without the option of returning to Wuhan, Schroeder returned to her native Germany. Ever since, she's been waiting anxiously for the green light to go back to the city.

"At the moment, obviously, it looks might take some time," says Schroeder about her chances of returning to Wuhan. "But hopefully, very soon."

While much of the world now knows Wuhan only as the birthplace of the novel coronavirus, Schroeder remembers it as a place of amazing beauty and change. She recalls buildings springing up, but also the creation of parks and green spaces. She remembers the intellectual enthusiasm of her students and the life of the city. 

"I love walking around the city, I love cycling around the city," Schroeder says. "I love the life there, I love everything."

Sylvia Schroeder in her beloved Wuhan (Credit: Sylvia Schroeder)

Sylvia Schroeder in her beloved Wuhan (Credit: Sylvia Schroeder)

With no imminent possibility of Schroeder returning to Wuhan, the university is taking measures to allow her to teach online, and she cannot wait to start, so she can resume contact with colleagues and students. 

Asked what message she would like to send to the people of Wuhan, Schoeder says she would like to remind them that the international community is thinking and caring about their fate. 

"It's important for people to understand that there are lots of people abroad who care about what happened, want to support the country, and hope everything will return to normal as soon as possible."

With thanks to Li Chaoran

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