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Text｜Dong Jie, Peng Qian
Remember how you spent the Spring Festival last year?
The people of Wuhan were quarantined, and the whole of China fell into fear. Countless people watched the Spring Festival Gala while tweeting distressing news about the epidemic.
And this year, there is no large-scale national migration and no family reunion. This is destined to be another unusual Spring Festival.
Because of the epidemic prevention requirements, in the past month, many people have experienced repeated entanglements, hesitation, and even refunded their tickets crying and chose to celebrate the new year on the spot. The Ministry of Transport estimates that the passenger flow during the Spring Festival this year will drop by more than 60% compared to 2019. Compared with last year, nearly 111 million people did not buy tickets to go home, and 29 provinces and cities issued proposals to retain people.
Not going home for the New Year is undoubtedly a difficult decision. Although many people’s thinking when they were young was to avoid the Spring Festival when relatives who walked away, were urged to marry, and did not have much fun other than eating and drinking, they were still as natural as breathing and drinking water when they returned home for the New Year.
Behind the number of “not going home” are true stories. In the last night of the New Year’s Eve, some of them were being quarantined, some were still at work, and more were hiding in rental houses for an ordinary day.
36 Krypton interviewed a number of “workers” who celebrated the New Year on the spot. Among them were loneliness, sadness, and infinite tenderness and enthusiasm for life. Here is their story:
State-owned enterprise employeesKrupp, 28 years old, Beijing, “Home is like that 1, without it, all hard work will be meaningless”
The process of being decided to celebrate the New Year in situ is like “boiling a frog in warm water.”
As an employee of a central enterprise, although the Shandong hometown’s epidemic prevention policy has been relaxed and no longer requires home isolation for 14 days, in response to the unit’s policy requirements, Krupp will spend the Spring Festival in a foreign country for the first time in more than 20 years.
In my heart, reason has been fighting against fluke. After reading so much news, reason always tells Krupp “you can’t go back.” But he always had a fluke: “What if there is a chance.” The ticket was not willing to refund, the nucleic acid test appointment was not willing to refund, Krupp had been looking forward to a miracle in his heart, and always felt that he could go back.
Until the twelfth lunar month, Krupp knew there was no miracle, just like Chinese football. After receiving the notification from the unit in the afternoon, he sent a message to his family at 12 o’clock at night: “I can’t go back this year.”
“I deliberately chose to post it at this time because I was afraid that my parents would not be able to sleep at night.” Krupp said, and he was also afraid that his mother would not be stretched when a video came over.
The process of accepting the New Year in situ is also a process of continuous policy trial and error. First, the National Health Commission’s one-size-fits-all policy attracted complaints, and later it continued to adjust, and then finally it was clearly stated that “the epidemic prevention policies of various regions must not be increased without authorization”, and the policy level completely eliminated the obstacles to returning home. However, due to its special job, Krupp can only choose to “focus on the overall situation.”
Krupp thought he was a wanderer with family and country feelings, but this time he realized that the most pretended one is still home. “‘Going home’ is like the ‘1’. Without it, all hard work will lose the foundation that can carry all this meaning and lose the motivation to work hard.”
During the Wuhan epidemic last year, Krupp decided to go to Wuhan for first-line support without consulting his parents. Within two months, he had seen the warmth and coldness of the world. “I thought at the time that if I got infected, my parents would be most sorry.”
Not going home for the Chinese New Year this year, Krupp’s father was thinking about it, and kept sending WeChat to enlighten Krupp, “I’m watching the news feed every day, and I have already made plans not to go home, and told me to spend the New Year alone when I’m out; My mother also sent the fruit she made, always afraid that I would not have to eat it; brother sent some seafood, knowing that it is not easy for me to get fishy in Beijing.”
The more he does not go home, the more Krupp wants to spend the new year. He didn’t want to buy new clothes for several years, he bought a new set of clothes, and prepared to keep it for the first time. In a rental house of more than ten square meters, he also bought a pair of lanterns and a pair of couplets to hang on the door. In the past, writing couplets with his father was the most enjoyable moment for Krupp every Spring Festival. He regarded this as ” The most intimate moment of dialogue with my father”.
Krupp posted Spring Festival couplets on rental houses
New Year’s Eve dinner Krupp eats hot pot, two plates of lamb and one plate of shrimp in his small rental house. Watching the Spring Festival Gala, he didn’t dare to open a video with his parents. He only called on everyone from his friends group to send him red envelopes to comfort this “suffer” who was celebrating the New Year.
“Try your best to imitate, but it can only be vain.” Krupp said that the sense of smell during the New Year is particularly important, and the various flavors permeating the whole body make people feel that this is “the taste of the year.” . Today, he can only extract these flavors from his memories.
Even if there is a chance to go home every month for the next year, Krupp still feels that it is not “going home for the New Year”, “I wasted an opportunity to spend the Chinese New Year with my parents, missed it is missed.”
But Krupp was not idle either. During the Spring Festival holiday, he was scheduled to be on duty for several days. He sent out to shoot video early in the morning on New Year’s Eve, “Very good, I hope I can get busy.”
Takeaway Shen Fei, 50 years old, Shanghai, doing Shanghai drift for debt repayment
Two weeks before the Spring Festival, 3 cases of new coronary pneumonia were confirmed in Zhaotong Community, Huangpu District, Shanghai, which was classified as a medium-risk area. With the experience of protests during the Spring Festival last year, Shen Fei, a takeaway from the Zhejiang Zhonglu Detachment in Huangpu District who often delivers meals to Zhaotong Community, quickly realized that the situation had become serious again.
The sudden new epidemic disrupted his plan to return to his hometown again. He had to refund the ticket that was booked in December last year and was originally scheduled to return home on February 1 this year. “I thought I would definitely be able to return this year. I made a package with my daughter, but I still disappointed her.” When talking about not being able to accompany his 9-year-old daughter for the New Year, Shen Fei expressed regret on her face, but restrained: “The child was crying loudly. After a game, my mother and I promised that I would go back to see her in March.” This is his third year in Shanghai and he failed to go home for the Spring Festival for the second time.
Shen Fei, 50 years old this year, attaches great importance to this family’s annual reunion opportunity. But under the pressure of life, he can only choose to suppress his homesickness.
Shen Fei is a native of Luoyang, Henan. Before coming to Shanghai, he had opened a wedding photo studio in the county town near his hometown. The business was doing well, but soon because of blind investment, the business gradually got out of track and owed nearly one million foreign debts.
The business failure has greatly changed Shen Fei’s life. In order to make up for the shortfall, he sold the house in his hometown and made up most of the arrears, but the house was sold and his wife and daughter had to return to his wife’s natal Hubei to live, while his son stayed in Luoyang with his old mother. The younger brother helped take care of it. Shen Fei said frankly that selling a house is an incredible thing in the minds of the old family, and it is indispensable to be discussed by the neighbors. In addition, the debt collection calls were made one after another, which made him nervous: “At that time, I was already depressed. The debt collector even called your relatives and friends every day.” He left home without hesitation.
Like all newcomers, Shen Fei also went through many detours when he first came to Shanghai. What impressed him most was the experience of going to a freight company as a escort. After staying for a period of time, he spent several hundred yuan for a escort certificate, but he did not receive a penny of salary, and he ran out of money. Next, he chose to deliver food.
For the first six months, because he was not familiar with the Shanghai route, his monthly salary was only about 4,000 yuan, but he was not discouraged. He set off to familiarize himself with the route at 7 in the morning and attended the morning meeting with colleagues at 9 in the morning. He persisted for more than three years. Now his salary can be tens of thousands of yuan a month, and his working hours are fixed from 10 am to 8 pm.
During the Spring Festival, the delivery staff who stayed on standby in Shanghai also received certain subsidies and rewards for running orders. Mentioning these, his face gradually smiled: “These hard work is not in vain, and it can be considered to reduce some of the burden.”
Young people can quickly break into new social circles in big cities, but middle-aged men who are alone in a foreign land have a quieter and cheaper way to relieve loneliness.
Shen Fei playing guitar at Blue Knight Spring Evening
In his spare time, Shen Fei went to Shanghai’s historical residences and scenic spots to stroll around, and recorded his thoughts on the official account “Delivering Food to Shanghai”, or uploaded a video on Toutiao. Although he has few fans and few readings, recording and sharing can bring comfort.
He also likes to listen to the free “Enlightenment Class on Chinese and Western Philosophy” from Himalayas on the way to deliver meals. “This class starts with the origin of human beings, talks about modern life, from Western philosophy, and talks about Taoism and Legalism in the East. Listening to it step by step, it seems to get me out of reality for a while.” Shen Fei said.
This middle-aged man, who has suffered various changes, got a new life in Shanghai. He also started to take the initiative to communicate and cooperate with delivery staff partners.
This year’s Spring Festival, Shen Fei took the initiative to organize the first Blue Knight Spring Festival Gala based on his own experience in opening a wedding photo studio, which was held on the rooftop of a group house in downtown Shanghai. As the Spring Festival approached, Shen Fei and his colleagues used their spare time to prepare for the show, “Every day they work hard in chorus.”
Shen Fei believes that the delivery staff not only have immediate ambition, but also have joy and dreams. “I am 50 years old, but my life is still undergoing great changes. Coming to Shanghai has allowed me to see another world, freed from my original pain, and gained hope in a new job.”
Didi driver Zhang Zhongzhi, 54 years old, Chengdu, “I can’t go home, but I want more people to go home”
This is already the second Spring Festival in which Didi driver Zhang Zhongzhi is alone. In 2019, the 53-year-old retired from a local state-owned enterprise in Anhui and came to Chengdu with his friends to work as an express driver for two years.
This is an unpleasant beginning. In the last few years of a state-owned enterprise, Zhang Zhongzhi found that he was getting more and more strenuous. His younger and younger colleagues and more and more mechanized work equipment made him retreat. He also worked as a water purifier agency business for a short time, but because of the high funding requirements and the difficulty of selling, he quickly lost two or three hundred thousand yuan without experience, casting a shadow over his retirement.
In September 2019, Zhang Zhongzhi, who had nowhere to go, chose to leave his hometown in Anhui and become a Didi driver in Chengdu. But within two months, it caught up with the outbreak of the new crown epidemic.
Zhang Zhongzhi spent that New Year’s Eve on the road and didn’t even have a bite of food in the rental room. “(On the day) there were no people on the road and no orders, but I just didn’t want to stay in the house.”
This year because of the epidemic prevention requirements, Zhang Zhongzhi still did not choose to go home. One month before the Spring Festival, his wife asked him “Do you want to come back this Spring Festival?” Zhang Zhongzhi said, “I think about the Spring Festival to run more orders, make more money, and take To the reward”. Three days before New Year’s Eve, his wife sent another video inquiry late at night. He was cruel and could not go back. He hung up the phone and wiped his tears on the bed.
Zhang Zhongzhi will spend the New Year’s Eve in 2021 on the road, and he will not be able to eat the New Year’s Eve dinner. But he decided to open the map to find his hometown after leaving the car on New Year’s Eve. Although he could not see the night view, he also had a special romance.
After leaving the state-owned enterprise, Zhang Zhongzhi bought a house for his family in the center of his hometown in Anhui. In order to come to Chengdu as a Didi driver, he bought a new car. He had to pay back the children every month after he counted the hundreds of thousands that he lost as an agent. A loan of 10,000 yuan is not allowed to relax and lazy.
In the past year, Zhang Zhongzhi ranked first in the fleet’s income almost every month, but excluding loans and various fuel insurance costs, his monthly income of more than 10,000 was almost nothing left. “Every day is more than ten hours of running, sometimes only the platform’s mandatory 6-hour rest time will stop and sleep for a while.” Because he lives in the urban-rural fringe area, Zhang Zhong doesn’t have much time to go back to the rental house to sleep, most of the time. Staying in the car for one night, “I will have an empty car when I go back. It can’t be paid.”
In September of this year, the mortgage in his hometown in Anhui will be repaid. Zhang Zhongzhi is looking forward to the next Spring Festival he can go home and spend more time with his 80-year-old parents.
Internet giant couple, 25 years old, Hangzhou, their first new year in a different place
Xiaoyue and Xiaowu are a couple. They both work for major Internet companies, and both chose to stay in Hangzhou for the New Year this year.
Xiaoyue’s parents were a little bit happy unexpectedly: “My home is far away. In Heilongjiang, it costs 6,000 yuan to fly back and forth during the Spring Festival. When I heard that I did not go home, my parents instantly felt that they saved me a lot of money.” This is a bit clumsy. Her concern made her laugh or cry. And because Xiaoyue can use the vacation to go home three to four times a year, his parents don’t insist on the Spring Festival together.
Another more secret reason is that for a long time, Xiaoyue and her father had a “knot”: she felt that her father could not understand her pursuit of career and freedom, and her father felt that Xiaoyue’s current situation did not match His plans for his daughter.
For Xiaoyue, staying in Hangzhou for the New Year is also a good choice-this city has already carried many feelings and memories between her and her boyfriend Xiaowu.
It has been eight years since Xiaoyue came to Hangzhou after 1995. After four years of university and four years of work, Hangzhou has almost become her second hometown. When she first arrived in Hangzhou, she was very unaccustomed to the months of rainy weather here. She experienced what is called “Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai” undried quilts. In the northeast of my hometown, I always keep warmers, and I can wear thick cotton shoes in winter, which is very pleasant.
But now, the situation is upside down. When she returned to the northeast, Xiaoyue could not stand the dry and cold weather there. She has also gradually become accustomed to buying new clothes in Hangzhou shopping malls and buying clothes at the original price of the tag. In the past in the Northeast, she would go to the local wholesale market to buy, always bargaining with the boss.
Xiaoyue and Xiaowu are now talking about marriage. Xiaowu is not only her lover, but also her family. They are planning to buy a house in Hangzhou. Due to the restrictions on the purchase of new houses, the first lottery was not successful. Xiao Wu planned to try again in the next year.
Speaking of not being able to go home for the Spring Festival, Xiaowu, who lives in Changchun, is also very calm. Before he came to Hangzhou, he was an overseas student. He spent four years in South Korea. He barely returned home. His parents were used to it, and he himself was used to living in a foreign country and celebrating holidays.
The social circle of the two is also fixed in Hangzhou. Xiaoyue revealed: “My friends in my hometown have not seen each other for seven or eight years. Friends in Hangzhou have been in contact from university to now. This time, I also made appointments for the Spring Festival. They each served a few dishes and played cards together after dinner. Or play games.”
Xiaoyue Xiaowu’s New Year’s Eve Dinner
For the elders living in the Northeast, it seems normal for the juniors not to go home for the Spring Festival. Xiaoyue said frankly: “The Northeast economy lacks vitality and the outflow of young people is very serious. Everyone says that there are many young people in the Northeast, including Sanya.”
As for how to spend the long vacation, the two have a preliminary plan: first have a New Year’s Eve dinner with friends, the next day they will go to the cinema to watch “Detective Chinatown 3” which has been waiting for two years, then go to Beng Di, and plan to go to Shanghai Play in the Disneyland.
But the two are more casual. “If you can’t get in line and watch TV and play games at home, there is no problem.” Xiaoyue even plans to take the initiative to work a few days during the New Year. She has just changed jobs and wants to use this time to “make up lessons.”
The couple didn’t buy much for the New Year either. The New Year goods were bought at Hema near their home. The couplets were issued by Xiaoyue Company. They were completely new and new humans.
This is the second year after Xiao Wu and Xiao Yue came to Hangzhou, they did not go home for the Spring Festival. The last time was last year and was restricted by the epidemic. They began to get used to celebrating the Spring Festival on the spot. After they settle down, this is likely to be the future.
(Krupp is a pseudonym in the text)