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Reflections from a Frequent Traveler to Wuhan

Goodnight Wuhan

by Joseph G. Krenitsky

As we approach the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year, the Spring Festival, my thoughts are with my friends in Wuhan.

It is an unusual feeling this year when we consider that this auspicious occasion, this holiday, might be the most important in the entire year for Chinese, and yet in Wuhan a dark cloud hangs over every family.

It is not supposed to feel this way, it is supposed to be a happy time of family reunions and gathering and celebrating with close friends and yet, it is not a happy time in Wuhan.

There is a heavy feeling of uncertainty and unease: How bad is it ? How long will the entire City of nearly 12 million people be subject to a lockdown ? When will they feel comfortable to again go out and stroll along the banks of the Yangtze River, to enjoy the delicious and savory snacks at a night market near Wuhan University or the wonderful flavor of Re Gan Mian from a small shop in the old Colonial part of Hankou!

As a waiguoren, a foreigner, I have always felt welcomed by the people of Wuhan; I have felt at home, sharing family meals with them and a cup of red wine or occasional drink of baijiu.

Tonight and for the next few nights as I look at the moon, the same moon we all share, I will think of my friends and their families in my adopted second home of Wuhan. I will wish them good health and happiness in the coming year with hopes that the fear and uncertainty that grips the city will soon pass.

As Li Bai stood in the shadows of Huang He Lou (the Yellow Crane Tower), a landmark and symbol of Wuhan, he too wondered, long ago when or if he would next see his friend. I now share this feeling, wondering, waiting.

I know all things must pass and this too will pass. Stand strong Wuhan as you have done for so many, many years.

Joseph G. Krenitsky, J.D., is chair of the Paralegal Department and international student advisor at SUNY Erie, State University of New York. He travels regularly to Wuhan, China, to teach American law at the Hubei University of Science and Technology. He studies Chinese at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) Confucius Institute.