A New Kind of Different
Air Date: September 14, 2020
#3 A New Kind of Different
0:00 Interview with Jenn Greene, Residence Life Manager, Brantford
13:53 Interview with Jananee Rajkumar, 3rd-year student, Human Rights & Human Diversity
23:55 Interview with Christina Han, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, History
Thank you to Melissa Weaver for One Market graphics and Nicole Morgan for campus promotion. Music by Scott Holmes.
Bruce Gillespie 0:03
Welcome to One Market, keeping the Laurier Brantford community connected. I’m Bruce Gillespie. This week, we get the inside scoop on what residence life looks like this fall. We also check in with a third-year student about how she’s preparing to succeed in the remote learning environment, and then we hear from a professor who recently traveled to South Korea during a pandemic. All that and more coming up on this episode of One Market.
Our first guest is Jenn Greene, Brantford’s Residence Life manager. We know that living in residence will be different this year, but just how different will it be? Here’s our conversation.
So, we’re excited to talk to you today about what residence looks like in Fall 2020 in the middle of a pandemic, because I think lots of us who don’t have children moving into residence just have so many questions. So, I’m so glad you could join us today and tell us about what things were looking like in residence.
Jenn Greene 1:04
Yeah, well, we just had a successful move in. September 5th and 6th, our students joined us on the Brantford campus in two of our residence buildings, in the Expositor residence and Grand River Hall. And so, we’re very excited to have them in the buildings with us currently. And they’ve just started on their academic journey in their online classes, and our staff here doing their best to support that experience for our students. But we’re very, very happy that our students are now filling our buildings, and we get to finally, you know, put in place our program plans for the upcoming year.
Bruce Gillespie 1:41
That makes sense to me, I feel like the summer’s been all about planning. And I’m, by the end of the summer, I was like, “I can’t do any more planning, I just want to do it and see how it works”, and then, you know, adjust accordingly. But I’m tired of planning, I just want to see what it’s gonna be like.
Jenn Greene 1:54
Yeah, it’s very interesting for us, because in the Department of Residence, our summers are always very planning heavy, but I won’t lie, usually they’re a little bit more laid back. But this summer really has been full steam ahead for the last four months, you know, every day, grinding out new ideas and developing new policies, and procedures, and timelines, and activities, and so many different things. But I think now that we’re here, we can really reflect back on how proud we are of the work that we’ve done over the last four months. Our director Chris Dodd, you know, he always says to us this, this is not ideal. This is not how we would love for things to go, but we have adapted to deliver the best program this year that I think we can and you know, no one’s really done this before. No one has worked through a pandemic of this nature before in student housing. So we are definitely trying our best but we are definitely working with our students to learn what they are interested in. And then also our colleagues across the province and across the country and even internationally to learn from them what’s been working as well.
Bruce Gillespie 3:10
So, let’s talk about the Brantford residence experience. So, how many students do we have in residence this fall compared to how many we would normally have?
Jenn Greene 3:17
Yeah, I’d say we have between, we have less than half of what we usually have, and not not quite a quarter, but our numbers have definitely dropped significantly. One being that we had to reduce our number size. So, we have certain public health guidelines that we’ve had to abide by, just to make sure things are safe for our students in the building. But we’ve definitely seen a decline in our numbers. And I don’t think that’s necessarily based on interest. I think, you know, right at the beginning of things, we were full up, people were really wanting to come but I think as time approached, folks got very nervous about the pandemic, and that’s totally reasonable, and we definitely support everyone’s, you know, decision to come to residence or not, and I think across the province for sure other institutions have experienced that as well. But we are so thrilled at Laurier that we are able to offer residence to our students. And we’re very, very grateful to be able to open and provide our curriculum to our students in the buildings.
Bruce Gillespie 4:23
So, how will residence look different this year than most years?
Jenn Greene 4:27
Sure. So, quite, quite different. I mean, the buildings look the same.
Bruce Gillespie 4:32
On the outside you’d never know!
Jenn Greene 4:34
Yeah, you’d never know. Maybe a few more posters here and there. So, yeah, speaking of posters, we’ve put up a lot of, you know, similar to when you go into a mall or anything like that, maybe even an airport. There’s a lot of signage up now directing students where to go and how to, you know, move throughout the building safely, what’s open what’s closed, so that’s something we’ve done over the past few weeks so students know where to go and how to use their buildings safely. But we’ve also implemented, you know, in a communal washroom, how are students using those spaces safely and then in personal washrooms, you know, what type of cleaning do we recommend for those spaces?
But I think one of the main differences is that students aren’t allowed to have guests and so, “guests,” is classified as anyone who doesn’t live in that specific bedroom. So, that’s definitely one of the bigger changes for us a lot of community building is achieved through students being able to visit their friends in their dorm rooms, or have friends from home come visit or their parents or things like that. So, I think that’s definitely been the biggest change for us is having a bit of a closed-door policy when our policy is so often open door. But that’s really just to make sure that our students are safe in the building, and we’re really trying to practice self isolation to keep our students safe, because obviously, we are still allowing our students to go freely, you know, if they want to go home, or if they want to visit another family member or someone in their bubble off campus. So, of course, we’re letting students do that, but we want to make sure that once they enter back into residence, that the community is kept safe once they get back, so yeah, that’s definitely one of the bigger differences.
Bruce Gillespie 6:25
That makes sense. So, are they, are students who live in residence allowed to congregate amongst themselves in residence? Or is it like you go in, you hang out in your room and that’s it?
Jenn Greene 6:36
Yeah, fortunately, on the Brantford campus, most of our students will have roommates. So, they’ll at least have one roommate. Maybe not everyone does, just based on how the year goes, you know, if someone decides to come and then once they get here, they decide they, they’d rather be at home just because, you know, we experience that every year. Students come in, and then after one week, they’re like, “I’m not ready for this experience.” So, we do, there’s, we call it, “the melt.” Students deciding that it’s not the year for them, and that’s totally fine. So, yes, students will have their roommate if they do have one, and they can definitely hang out in the communal space in their apartment. But in terms of gathering in residence, what we’re trying to discourage is gathering of larger groups. And so, we’re encouraging students to gather outside if they’re able to obviously campus is closed, so folks can’t do too much together on campus. But in Brantford, we’re really lucky, there’s quite a few spaces in the downtown area, they can hang out socially distanced, there’s a couple different patios, there’s the farmers market, there’s a bunch of different parks around campus. So, we’re definitely encouraging the use of that. We have limits on how many people could be in a laundry room, for example, in terms of hallways, you know, if two students meet together in a hall, we’re not, you know, yelling at them and telling them to disperse.
Bruce Gillespie 7:58
Jenn Greene 8:01
Yes, exactly. And you know, students want to have their door, they want to stand in their doorway and communicate with folks across the hall, you know, that kind of stuff is okay. But we do really want to discourage larger gatherings of people in residence. So, most of our common rooms and things like that are closed, just so that we are practising all of the safety measures that we have promised the university that we will practise and then also our incoming students that we will practise as well. And if we, we’re very hopeful that if we are strict from the beginning with these types of restrictions, that eventually we’ll be able to open up more and and allow for more gatherings and things like that. But yeah, it definitely feels different for us. But we do, we want to keep our students safety at the highest priority.
Bruce Gillespie 8:50
I know a big part of residence life for most students is all the programming you do.
Jenn Greene 8:55
Bruce Gillespie 8:56
I know a lot of the programming for students of all sorts has moved online this year, but what kind of programming are you doing that’s residence based?
Jenn Greene 9:02
Yes, so my colleague, Ryan Paul was actually going to be on the call with me today, but he’s facilitating something else at this time. So, he’s actually sent some notes along for me to share with everyone. So, this summer the Residence Education Unit spent a lot of time collaborating with different partners across our campus and the Waterloo campus to ensure that students living in residence have the support that they need in navigating this institution that’s new and everything like that, and the independence that comes with moving out of home or wherever they were living prior to coming here. So, we have prioritized events around physical wellness, students applying to bursaries, understanding academic rigors, and that transition of going from a lot of in person learning for most of their life, to online learning. And then just in general, this is how university works, and this is how we experience school on a day-to-day basis. So, although it’s not going to look normal, and you’re not going to have a big floor meeting on the outside the elevator of your community, the Department of Residence values of community really will hold true.
And our First Year Leadership Program is accepting applications to any student leaders who want to join any of our councils. So, students will have the opportunity to, similar to their high school experience, maybe to join a Student Activity Council. So, we have councils centred around arts, so we have the Art Hawks, Athletics and Wellness, and then we have a Sustainability and Social Change Council. So, you know, a lot of those meetings will be facilitated online, which will be different, but we’re not–sorry, we’re still going ahead with all that programming. And so the students accepted into those positions will have access to leadership coaching, they’ll have a budget to plan and facilitate experiences for the first year population in residence. And so, there’s great opportunities there. And then if there are students listening to this, and they’re interested in applying, they should connect with either their Residence Don or their LOCUS Don, because our applications actually close today, September 14th. So, it’s definitely something that folks should get involved in. And there’s even more coming everyone’s way, in the fall term.
Bruce Gillespie 11:27
I love hearing that all this stuff is still gonna happen, because you made an excellent point, which is that even though we’re not doing, any of us, doing the same things we would have done in a normal September, we are still building community we’re just doing in different ways. And you can actually, as we’re all learning bit by bit, piece by piece, you can build community online in remote ways. So, I think it’s a great opportunity for especially students who are new to campus to learn, and practise how this happens.
Jenn Greene 11:53
Yeah, and it’s so interesting, because I think when we all transitioned to Zoom, and Teams and things like that, in March, it felt odd, it felt really different to be online with people you saw every day, but over the months, it’s really become quite normal. And of course, it’s really nice to see people in person again when you can, but it’s definitely still possible. We, even in our department, we onboarded a new staff member, actually three new staff members, two people in Residence Education, and one person Residence Life, and we’ve been meeting with them online for months now, and it’s, you know, it’s, you still feel super close to them, you still feel connected with them. You’ve learned about them along the way, whether you’re in a group meeting or private meeting. And so, I think that experience for us over the summer has really shown us that it is possible. So, we’ve kind of lived it, and now we’re teaching it to our staff who have, like the Residence Dons and Residence Education Advisors, were able to tell them, “Hey, this actually does work, and although it looks different, it can still feel the same.” So, we’re really happy about that.
Bruce Gillespie 13:04
Yeah. Well, thank you to you and your staff for all the great work you’re doing and welcoming people to residence this fall in probably the strangest environment we could imagine.
Jenn Greene 13:13
Yeah, definitely the strangest but I think now that, like I was saying, now that we reflect back on it, it feels really cool to have been a part of this planning process. And I mean, it’s not anything we expected, but hey, it’ll be an interesting life experience that we can all share.
Bruce Gillespie 13:31
That’s right. Jenn, thanks so much for making time to talk to us today.
Jenn Greene 13:35
Of course, thank you so much for having me. And if anyone has any questions, they can email myself email@example.com, or if you have general questions about housing, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bruce Gillespie 13:52
Our next guest is Jananee Rajkumar, a third-year Human Rights and Human Diversity student. We’re really curious about how students have been doing since the beginning of the pandemic, and how they’re feeling about remote learning. So, I started by asking her what her summer was like.
Jananee Rajkumar 14:07
As classes were still going on in the beginning, it really didn’t feel like summer when it first started. And then as time went on, things started to calm down and exams happened. And then summer really, really started to feel like summer, but by then I was already living the summer life being back home in Brampton, because I live in Brantford when I’m in school. And then when I come back for the summer to Brampton, which is my hometown. So, being in Brampton for a longer period of time was something that was different for sure. So, I already had my schedule set in a way as if I was already living a summer life with school. So, it was it was kind of different, but it was really nice. Took me some time to adjust being home in March, early, which is not usually the case for me.
Bruce Gillespie 14:55
Jananee Rajkumar 14:56
Yeah, it was, but overall, it was a good summer, very calm, with everything going on, my family tried to stay in as much as they can obviously in the beginning, we were, we had to, but now things are slowly starting to open up, but we still try to maintain our distance stay in where we can, you know?
Bruce Gillespie 15:16
Yeah, we were sort of doing the same thing, right? I mean, you sort of, we did it for so long, because you had to, that when we are allowed to sort of go out it’s, like, “I don’t know that I should. I’m used to not seeing people.” It’s weird to get back in that habit. But did the pandemic change your summer schedule? Like, did you end up doing more courses? Did you end up working? Did it change what your plans had been before March?
Jananee Rajkumar 15:38
Yeah, I was planning, we were planning to travel, my family, we were planning to go to Sri Lanka, which is where my parents were born.
Bruce Gillespie 15:45
Jananee Rajkumar 15:46
But because of COVID, obviously, for the, probably for the better, we decided to stay back, we couldn’t go for starters. And then after things started opening up, we just refrained from going too. Otherwise, so, I just stayed home and I was looking for a job, and then I started working. And then I was working trying to make some money, you know, before school started to help me through the year, but when courses and stuff start, when, like it’s starting, working is not going to be my top priority because the load is definitely heavier, right?
Bruce Gillespie 16:26
Yeah, and I think with with courses being remote, I think there’ll be more of an emphasis on sort of students doing more, the way I’m sort of describing to my students, and I’m not sure if this is right or not as that I think when you come to a weekly or bi weekly lecture, you know, even if you didn’t do the readings, you can probably sort of get a lot of the material from the lecture, but because we won’t be doing classes like that, I think it’s really going to be important for students to keep up with all that reading that they might not normally do. So, I think that’ll probably take more time than a lot of people are expecting.
Jananee Rajkumar 16:55
Exactly, yeah, definitely will. But I feel like it’s, it’s something that’s for the better. I feel like people’s skills are definitely going to advance in many ways as well.
Bruce Gillespie 17:10
I think so, I think a lot of people are being pushed to learn all sorts of new kinds of technology and digital tools that maybe we wouldn’t have used or learned about before. But, I think I think that can’t help but be useful to us in the future.
Jananee Rajkumar 17:24
Exactly, especially in the time and age we live in, technology is only, In my opinion, going to get better. So, it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be hard to kind of, if you kind of slack, it’s going to be hard to kind of get back on top of things. So, this is kind of a good way to kind of force us to, you know, stay in touch, keep in touch with technology, or just, not even if it’s not keeping up to date, it’s just a matter of keeping up to date with the new kind of technologies there is. And it’s a new way of learning, which is another good thing too.
Bruce Gillespie 17:59
Mm hmm. Are you back in Brantford for the fall? Are you staying home? Like, what are your plans?
Jananee Rajkumar 18:03
I plan on staying back home in Brampton, with my family, which is going to be different. It’s going to be like high school again, being back home because everything, I’m taking five courses for the fall term, so everything is online. So, it gives me the leniency to be home. So, It gives me a kind of different point of view in which I’m learning so it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be different. I hope everything goes well.
Bruce Gillespie 18:33
Yeah, I think it’ll, like everything else these days, it probably just takes some adjustment, right? Because as you said, I think most students probably haven’t, I mean, some do, but I think a lot of students haven’t lived at home full time with their families since high school. So, to go back now, and still do a full course load on top of being home must be, must be really different.
Jananee Rajkumar 18:51
It definitely is and when you when you live by yourself in a city far away from home, you get used to doing stuff on your own, you get used to doing things independently. And then now being back home, you kind of have a train, like, I have two younger sisters, so, like, kind of like a train following you around. So, there’s a lot of dependence there. So, it’s, like, it’s going to be different for sure. But I’m looking forward to it. And if anything, if COVID taught me anything, it’s the value of family. So, definitely, it’s going to be different, but I think it’s going to be a good kind of different.
Bruce Gillespie 19:28
I think that’s, I think that’s a good attitude to have.
Jananee Rajkumar 19:31
Yeah for sure.
Bruce Gillespie 19:33
Have you been able to create like a home study or workspace for yourself at home?
Jananee Rajkumar 19:38
Yes, I did. I have a study, like, I have a study space in my room, but I tried to move my stuff out because I kind of want to kind of distance, like, kind of separate my comfy space and my study space, I don’t want to intersect. I did a few readings saying that it’s not it’s not effective, so I created an office from in my basement. So, that’s where I’m going to be doing most of my lectures, readings and all.
Bruce Gillespie 20:07
That’s great. I think for a lot of profs, we sort of had this challenge, in the spring, we’re trying to figure out how do I do this work at home? So, setting up offices, but I’m so interested, now, the students are having to do this, like, how do you how do you find a quiet workspace at home because, you’re right, working, and sort of sleeping and living and sort of, having that comfy space, as you say, be the same as your workspace is really not ideal, because otherwise, you just sort of wake up and think that you’re, you know, you’re doing the same thing all the time in the same space, that doesn’t sound like fun.
Jananee Rajkumar 20:36
Exactly, it really doesn’t. It’s, like, it’s a matter of getting into a routine, which is going to be new, waking up early morning, showering, having breakfast, changing as if I am going to go to classes is something I’m keen on doing. Having that attitude within myself that, okay, I’m going to school still, just because I’m home doesn’t mean I’m not going to school, I’m going, I’m doing something separate from my regular day, at home. So, it’s just, I feel like that attitude is going to help me in school, it kind of gives you a motivation that you have something that you’re doing to look forward to, to get dressed for and all.
Bruce Gillespie 21:15
I think you’re right, especially after those first few months in the spring, where everybody’s just at home all the time and never knew what day it was, or what time it was no one is leaving the house, I think right now that that those establishing those good routines of, you know, getting up at the same time going bed at the same time, you know, crafting sort of a schedule for home, like, you know, that Monday between 10 and 12, I’m working on history between 1 and 3 I’m working on, you know, whatever, you know, my human rights course, I think, I think that’s important, I think it’s probably good for everyone’s mental health to sort of be able to get in that schedule and replicate your schedule you’d normally have in person on campus, to try to do that at home as much as possible.
Jananee Rajkumar 21:53
Another thing, mental health, it’s like, being at home, although like it’s nice, you’re in the comfort of your own home, mental health is something that’s so important. Especially being home, people might not feel like they have resources, you know, to stabilize their mental health in a way. So, having a separate space maybe is something that could help I feel like that would help me in many ways not being, you know, shut in my room just trying to focus on school, and then after I’m done school, go to bed, you know, like that, having that, you know, that constant reminder, like, this is my office, this is my house, this is this is my comfy space, you know?
Bruce Gillespie 22:32
Jananee Rajkumar 22:33
It’s definitely it’s something that I’m looking forward to change, I’m trying to go in with a positive mindset. Um, it’s a bit too soon to tell. But like, it’s definitely going to be different, and I hope everything works out for the better for everyone.
Bruce Gillespie 22:50
And I think you’re right, I think by reading week, we’ll have a better idea of what’s working, what isn’t working, what we need to change. But I think the first few weeks would just be a big experiment for all of us.
Jananee Rajkumar 23:02
Exactly. And I feel like professors are gonna also understand that this is a totally different, It is a totally different experience, and some students are not, and it’s not like all students are going to be good with technology. There’s going to be students here and there. And that’s, I feel like something that everyone is going to understand. That’s just the situation we’re in right now.
Bruce Gillespie 23:25
Yeah, again, I think that’s really smart. I think both from professor side, but the student side as well, we all just need to realize that everyone’s coming into this experience from someplace different. So, we have to be patient and generous with our time and try to help each other along as best we can.
Jananee Rajkumar 23:40
Exactly. Just being there for one another is a big thing. Yeah.
Bruce Gillespie 23:45
Thank you so much for talking to us today. Good luck with your semester.
Jananee Rajkumar 23:49
Thank you so much, I had a lot of fun. Thank you for having me.
Bruce Gillespie 23:53
Our final guest is History professor Christina Han, who recently flew to South Korea, and spent two weeks in self isolation on both ends of her trip. Naturally, I started by asking her why she would even consider flying halfway around the world during a pandemic.
Christina Han 24:10
Well, my brother, I have one and only brother, and he was getting married. So, after much consideration, I decided I would still go and attend his wedding. So, the original plan was for us to travel together as a family, but because of COVID-19 I decided I would travel alone and leave my husband and two kids at home.
Bruce Gillespie 24:32
Hmmm, that must have been a, well I was gonna say a hard choice, but probably an easy choice in some ways, too, because it just makes everything more complicated.
Christina Han 24:40
Yes, absolutely. Right. And the whole visa application process was really something because normally when you go to South Korea as a Canadian you don’t need a Travel Visa. Because of COVID-19 the South Korean government introduced the whole new visa application process which was really rigorous I had to go through three visa interviews.
Bruce Gillespie 25:03
Oh my gosh.
Christina Han 25:03
To get the visa to actually go there, right?
Bruce Gillespie 25:07
Christina Han 25:07
Bruce Gillespie 25:09
And it was just sort of to make sure that you were, like healthy? Was that what they’re looking for?
Christina Han 25:13
Yes. So, they were asking for like a medical document to prove that I don’t have the virus. They wanted to see like, proof of family relationship, because I told them I was going there for my brother’s wedding. All kinds of stuff like my employment history, my bank statement, where I would be staying in Korea, all the travel plans, they wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just going there as a casual traveller.
Bruce Gillespie 25:44
Right, not just for fun summer vacation.
Christina Han 25:46
Yes, no. That’s right.
Bruce Gillespie 25:49
So, what was what was the airport like? Presumably, you flew out of Pearson?
Christina Han 25:53
Absolutely. So, my husband dropped me off at the airport, and he couldn’t enter the airport, because only the travelers were allowed to enter the airport. And I, I travel, I used to travel quite frequently, so I know what Pearson looks like, and it was like the eeriest experience ever. Pearson was so empty. The shops were closed, with the exception of one Tim Horton’s.
Bruce Gillespie 26:19
Christina Han 26:20
And there was one small duty-free shop that was open, and that was pretty much it. And all the seats were marked where people were sitting in and waiting for the airplane. It was, it was very, very strange.
Bruce Gillespie 26:36
It must be because that’s, I mean, that’s a place that there’s always jam packed with people everywhere.
Christina Han 26:41
Absolutely. Right. So, just from the airport, there was a strange experience and getting on the plane, that was another very strange experience because normally, when I fly to South Korea during this time, always jam packed. But there were so many empty seats and that was just so mind blowing to me. So, like one section where I was sitting, I counted all the seats. So, there were 35 seats and guess how many people there were: Three. There were only three people…
Bruce Gillespie 27:10
Christina Han 27:11
Sitting in this section of 35 seats. So, I was kinda lucky because it was the first international flight where I actually had the entire row. So, I can lie down.
Bruce Gillespie 27:24
No fighting over armrests.
Christina Han 27:25
Yes, absolutely. So, that was comfortable, and that’s nice, but I had to wear my mask the entire time. Of course, when I was eating, I could remove my mask. But right after I finished my food, I had to put it back on right away.
Bruce Gillespie 27:40
And how long a flight is that? To, presumably, Seoul?
Christina Han 27:43
Bruce Gillespie 27:44
Wow. That is a long time.
Christina Han 27:47
Yes, that is a long time. Keeping your mask on for 13 hours.
Bruce Gillespie 27:52
Yeah. And so were you allowed to get up and sort of walk around the plane or you sort of had to sit in your seat?
Christina Han 27:58
Uh, sit in my seat most of the time. Of course, I was allowed to use the washroom when it, when it was necessary. But yeah, it was, it was a very strange experience. But what really surprised me was that all these airlines were still making money, because they had their cargo full. So, they were like, what is it, transporting packages, back and forth.
Bruce Gillespie 28:26
Christina Han 28:26
Yes. So, despite the fact that the planes were really empty, the airlines are still doing fine.
Bruce Gillespie 28:34
Fascinating, because I was just thinking like, how could you possibly even justify making these long haul flights with three people in the section where there would be 30. But if replacing some of that room with packaging and commercial shipping, that totally makes sense.
Christina Han 28:46
Yes, yes, yes.
Bruce Gillespie 28:48
So what was experienced at the Seoul airport when you when you finally got there? Was it different than Pearson or–?
Christina Han 28:53
Um, well, when I landed, I had to go through five screening stalls. It was really, really rigorous. Firstly, check my temperature, make sure that I don’t have any fever, and then just one step after another, people are interviewing me. And when I got to the final stage, they asked me to download these two apps on my mobile phone.
Bruce Gillespie 29:20
Christina Han 29:21
One is for GPS tracking. And the other one is this app for checking my symptoms daily. And they actually checked to make sure that my apps are like properly downloaded. And then they phoned my brother to verify his address because he moved out of his apartment so I could stay in his apartment for two weeks.
Bruce Gillespie 29:45
Christina Han 29:46
They called him verified his address and contact info and then they also assigned a caseworker for me.
Bruce Gillespie 29:54
Christina Han 29:54
Yes. To monitor my quarantine and then they send me to, they put me on this designated taxi to the clinic that is close to my brother’s apartment. But the traffic was really bad that day, so I couldn’t make it in time. So, I had to go to the clinic the next morning, at nine o’clock in the morning, I went to the clinic, got the testing done. They called me at 2 pm to notify that the result was negative, which was great. And then, from that day on, I had to stay indoors for two weeks. And that day, my caseworker visited me unannounced, unannounced because they want to make sure that I should be there. She delivered the package to me, which contains like these documents for me to read and a hand sanitizer, a thermometer, and a specially marked garbage bag. I think there were three or something like that. And like twice a day, I had to record my temperature and symptoms using one of the apps. And the caseworker phoned me every day.
Bruce Gillespie 31:04
Christina Han 31:05
To make sure that I’m actually doing what I’m supposed to do.
Bruce Gillespie 31:08
That is really involved.
Christina Han 31:09
Yes, yes. She kept me busy.
Bruce Gillespie 31:14
Two weeks, two weeks right? What else you’re gonna do but talk to your caseworker?
Christina Han 31:18
Yes, I was actually very happy to pick up her phone. “Hello, good morning.”
Bruce Gillespie 31:24
So, you have two weeks of quarantine, and then, so how long were you actually able to be out in the city and go to a wedding before you had to turn around and come home?
Christina Han 31:33
Bruce Gillespie 31:34
Oh, no. Best sister ever!
Christina Han 31:38
I know. My brother should thank me, but the wedding was really great. I had a great time, but it was really hectic after the quarantine ended, right?
Bruce Gillespie 31:50
Do they have restrictions in Seoul about how many people can gather in a spot like we would here, like, were there number, like, restrictions on how many people could be at the wedding?
Christina Han 31:57
Um, it was a big wedding, mind you. I think over 200 people showed up.
Bruce Gillespie 32:03
Christina Han 32:03
Um, but I think in Asia, because of their really dense urban population, it is really difficult for people to socially distance. It’s just not practical at all. So, what they do is they instead they encourage people to wear masks at all times, and that’s how it’s done there. Right? People are wearing their masks everywhere.
Bruce Gillespie 32:29
Sure. And from your own example, I mean, they seem to be doing a much better job investing in contract tracing and in sort of staying on top of people…
Christina Han 32:38
Bruce Gillespie 32:38
Than seems to happen here, which is more honour system kind of thing.
Christina Han 32:41
Yes, right, right, right.
Bruce Gillespie 32:43
So how was the wedding?
Christina Han 32:45
Oh, the wedding was great. Um, lots of family time. It was great to see some good old friends and family members. We couldn’t do a big banquet though. So, the wedding, the ceremony stuff was open to a lot of people but people couldn’t get together and eat together yet, because of all these restrictions, but nonetheless, we had a great time. My brother is a happily married man now, so I’m very happy for him. He had to cancel or change his honeymoon plan, the plan was originally to go to, like, Hawaii for a week.
Bruce Gillespie 33:23
So, after four days of fun in Seoul, you get back on a plane and you come back to Toronto. What happened? I mean presumably when you come back to Canada, the experience is slightly different than landing in Seoul. What happened when you got back?
Christina Han 33:38
Okay, so coming back to Canada, at Pearson, the quarantine instructions were not as rigid. My husband was able to pick me up at the airport. So, like. no designated taxi or anything like that. The customs officer just asked me where I would do my quarantine and gave me a piece of paper with instructions and told me to self isolate for two weeks. And on that paper there’s an instruction for downloading this, a mobile app to track my quarantine. I downloaded the app, but it didn’t really work well. And plus, it’s not mandatory, you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. So, again, the idea is it’s up to you if you want to do it, do it. Otherwise, we won’t force you to do it. Yes, but coming back, I guess it was easier because in Seoul, you know, the apartment was fairly small. But coming back here, I stayed at my parents house in Paris, Ontario. So I had the entire house plus the backyard. So, I was able to actually go out and get some fresh air and
Bruce Gillespie 34:48
That’s nice. But you weren’t able to see your husband and your kids for two weeks while you were quarantining. Right?
Christina Han 34:54
That’s right. I wasn’t able to see them for roughly five weeks.
Bruce Gillespie 34:57
Wow. It must have been hard.
Christina Han 35:00
The kids were so happy they cried when I finally completed all my quarantine, and I came home, right? But it was difficult for us all, but we still try to stay connected using, like social media. But still it is it’s different, right? You want to be able to hug your children and kiss your children, hug your mom, kiss your mom. So. yeah, that was quite an experience.
Bruce Gillespie 35:30
No kidding, I mean your brother will owe you favours for life. You spent five weeks of your of your life dedicated to him.
Christina Han 35:35
Bruce Gillespie 35:36
He can never say “no” to you again.
Christina Han 35:41
He better not.
Bruce Gillespie 35:44
And presumably because you had four weeks of quarantine a total you’ve had lots of times sort of prep your fall classes. So, you must be feeling good about you know, school starting again.
Christina Han 35:54
Ah, yes and no, I still have a lot of work to finish. But I guess I actually did manage to record some lectures, while I was doing my quarantine. And so, and actually, as part of my lecture, I even I talked about my quarantine experience. So, my students will actually get to watch my videos are recorded in South Korea.
Bruce Gillespie 36:19
That’s so much fun, what a great way to sort of bring that to the classroom.
Christina Han 36:22
Bruce Gillespie 36:24
Well, this is a it sounds like a really, again, like a really unique experience that most people are not having these days. So, thank you for joining us today and telling us all about your world travels.
Christina Han 36:33
Well, thank you so much for interviewing me.
Bruce Gillespie 36:39
And that’s a wrap. Thanks for joining us. We hope it’s helped you feel a little more connected to the Laurier Brantford community. If you liked what you heard, tell your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe on Apple, Google, Stitcher, or wherever you find your podcasts. Worried about missing an episode. Sign up for our newsletter. You can find the link on Twitter and Facebook @onemarketlb. We’ll be back with a new episode in two weeks. One Market was created and produced by Bruce Gillespie and Tarah Brookfield, music by Scott Holmes, graphics by Melissa Weaver. Thanks for listening. Keep in touch.