When the results came back, it read:
“The first swab test showed that none of you were infected. And one of you were infected”
We all were puzzled and didn’t know what to make of that statement.
“What does that mean?” I thought to myself.
Then we discussed in the Line group and the medical team simply said if we hadn’t received any calls, it meant we were not infected.
On Day 5, Saturday, July 4, I woke up around 9:30 a.m. and wanted to just chill for a bit longer in bed. While I was browsing my mobile, the phone rang. I was hysterically nervous to pick up the phone.
Well, the staff just called to remind me about taking my temperature. I usually did that every morning before 9:00 a.m. but for some reason I completely lost track of time and forgot about it that day.
I walked out to grab the breakfast and I was super happy to see it was American Breakfast! The only thing missing was butter and when I called and asked for it from the room service staff, to my surprise they sent some right away.
During the quarantine period, breakfast is served between 7:00-8:00 a.m., lunch at 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and dinner at 5:00-6:00 p.m. Most of the time the meals were served either way earlier or way later than those specific timelines.
Room service was also available but it was more of meal service at assigned time slots. The last call for morning time was 9:00 a.m. and they served between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. The last call for daytime was 1:00 p.m. and the deliever time was between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. For me those two were bearable as I would need to wait just for half an hour and one hour respectively for more food (especially when I felt I didn’t have enough of it from the main meals). For dinner, you would need a lot more patience because the last call was 6:00 p.m. and you’d get to enjoy what you ordered between 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. That was basically a 1.5-hour wait. OMG!
That was the reason I needed to bother my parents to drop me off more snacks because most of the time I couldn’t stand the hunger or wait until they sent me more food during “room service” time slots.
As soon as I opened the door and saw the bag, I was hoping to just run out there and grab it. While the kitchen staff were about to serve the meal, I couldn’t help asking “Is that bag for room 1012?” even though I knew it was mine.
“Yes, it’s for 1012. Just a second, we got your lunch, too,” said one of the staff.
Opening the bag, I saw about 7-8 boxes of my favourite snacks and that made me so happy! Apart from that, my parents also got me some instant Thai congee, which I had no idea how to eat at first because I got no bowls in the room. Then I figured I could just use a cup or a glass, instead.
I started to feel I had way too many desserts so I asked them to stop giving me that. For some reason, I could have Pocky without gaining weight but if I indulge myself way too much on Thai desserts, I could put on maybe 1-2 kilos within two weeks. I also opted for healthier choices such as papaya, guava or cantaloupe, which I could order and have them delivered during the specific room service timeline. Those cost only 60 baht each and they were very fresh and great!
The dish I liked the most was fries with mayo. The mayo tasted so so good and it tasted like farang mayo, not Thai mayo (overly sweet and yellowish). The food prices here ranged from 60 to about 150 baht per dish. My fries cost only 60 baht!
People asked me a lot if I felt bored during the state quarantine. Well, not really as I spent time talking to my people a lot. On top of that I also spent hours editing my repatriation flight video. In the afternoon on weekdays, I usually taught Thai and English on Zoom. My day went by quickly and I even had to ask the staff if I could stay for a few more days because I needed more time to film and I was planning to explain or speak more about my experience while I was there. However, they didn’t allow us to extend our stay and I just had to get everything done before July 14.
This state quarantine also allowed me to be creative. Since they didn’t give us any knives or scissors, I got to find another way to tear a soap refill pouch–using my nail cutter. Or when the toilet drain smelled, I got keep it clean and smell better by rinsing it with dish soap and water. What challenged me the most was the cleanliness in the room because I was given only a broom. I tried my best by cleaning bit by bit every day and made sure my room was clean enough for me to stay sane until the last day of quarantine.
Speaking about medication, they didn’t really have a lot of stuff on their list and if you are a kind of person who might need to be on medication or might have some problems with food or digestion, I recommend you bring your own medicine or diet supplement.
The medical team was well aware of my stomach pain and kept calling to check on my condition. It was so much to the point that I needed to ask my parents to drop off salol et menthol mixture (ยาธาตุน้ำขาว) for me because the tablets I got from the medical team just didn’t do the job anymore. Meanwhile, a counselor also checked on me very often how my mood was and if my mental health was affected by the fact that I couldn’t eat most of the food. I was quite impressed with the counseling service they provided for all of us here.
On day 11, we got another swab test. The second one was quite different from the first one. For the first swab, I recalled being told to rest my head on the head rest, but for the second swab, I was told to sit tall. Both times, I had to grip the arm rest to make sure I wouldn’t move while it was being done. The second time was much more painful because they spinned the swab all the way along the nasal cavity and so it was pretty intense. It was really the longest 5 second I had ever experienced and I was so glad it was finally done. No more swab tests!
This time we didn’t need to wait for long for the results. The results came back negative for all of us. Phew!
10 days’ time went by so quickly and finally Day 15 came. I got up a bit earlier to finish packing and clean the room for a bit. My mom and my dad left home around 10:30 a.m. and got to the hotel almost 11:00 a.m. I was the last person who was checking out on that day.
My heart was pounding with joy while I was walking out of the elevator. My parents were eagerly waiting in front of the hotel and they gave me a big hug while I was still filming the moment I was out of quarantine.
It was almost 4 months since I last saw them and words couldn’t explain how grateful I was to get to see my mom and dad again and regain my freedom–the freedom that I once took for granted. I never imagined myself not being able to make a choice even for what I was going to eat. I was not being myself and sadly doing things that I didn’t enjoy doing. During the tough time, I was so lucky to have Marcel who was so supportive and always there for me, listening to my venting, crying, and helping calm me down when panic attacks hit me. He always encouraged me to stay strong and kept me company during the outbreak. I was also grateful for having Shane, Hans, Naam, and Danet, who listened to me for hours while supporting and comforting me when I felt so low.
In this past months I’ve learned to appreciate small things in my life and never again will I take anything for granted. Coming back to Thailand, I might not really like wearing a mask all the time, but at least I can make a choice for my life and to be my own self once again, to do things that fulfill my purpose of being here.
If you have any more questions about state quarantine and repatriation flights, you can bring those questions to my upcoming livestream! I look foward to see you online!