I was excited to be asked by Wattpad and HONOR to share my own lockdown experience in Paris and share with you my hopes for the future. HONOR provided me with the brand new HONOR 10X Lite smartphone to write my story on. The 8MP front camera is perfect for taking selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower and capturing the city's beauty.
I love writing stories in the Louvre Museum, but it's a medieval castle and I can't charge my phone there. Thankfully, the extra-long battery life of Honor 10X Lite means I can write for hours on my phone–right under the Mona Lisa's smile. I hope you enjoy my story!
Life, Laughs, and Lockdown in France
I did not bake croissants during the Paris lockdown.
I didn't learn any survival skills.
If a zombie apocalypse arrives, I'll probably be the first to go down.
What I did learn was how grateful I am that, despite how bad things were due to the Covid-19 pandemic ...thank goodness we live in a DIGITAL AGE!
C'est la vie in Paris during the digital age
As the author of the Amazon bestselling A French Girl in New York, I've always used an online presence to connect with readers.
But when the French President announced a full lockdown March 12th, internet became my entire life.
The pretty streets of Paris emptied, instead swarming with police officers checking our permission slips to make sure we were allowed to be outside one hour each day. As the Louvre shut its doors, as the Eiffel Tower's elevators screeched to a halt, and as queues got longer outside grocery shops, I did something amazing.
Despite closed borders, I traveled through modern-day South Korea thanks to addictive Korean dramas on Netflix. I could even travel back in time because, let's face it, period K-dramas are amazing.
Thanks to my phone, I messaged, called, and chatted with my friends all around the world.
I cheered on my Egyptian pharmacist friend in Cairo, who was in close contact with the population every single day. I received news from my Indian friend who lived in Germany and, together, we compared how European governments were handling the crisis. I did a virtual tour of my Dane friend's new apartment in Beijing. I laughed with my sister in New York and got regular news from all the elderly people in my life that I couldn't visit.
My octogenarian friend who had lived through the liberation of Paris in World War II was now video chatting with me!
A unique experience
When the lockdown was lifted, I really felt the need for fresh air and green pastures.
If you've been following me for a while, you know I spend half the year abroad, usually in several Asian countries. Borders were closed this year, so I couldn't travel outside of Europe.
And this time, I wanted to travel not just to research a new novel: I wanted to do something with my hands to get my mind off the pandemic, the economic turmoil, and contribute in my own way as much as possible.
Once again my phone came in handy.
There's a website that brings people together: farmers looking to share their experience and city people like me looking to learn about life on a farm.
I scrolled through the website on my phone until I found the most amazing farm.
So I hopped on a night train and left for the mountains!
Ubay'Ane is a lovely donkey farm in a small village in the Alps, way down in the sunny south of France. There, a hard-working family of four creates organic soap with donkey milk that leaves one's skin as smooth as satin.
I fell in love with the warm and cuddly donkeys, and the kind-hearted family of four. I woke up at the crack of dawn to help create the soap, cut it, and wrap it up.
Though we could not do la bise, the traditional French kiss on the cheek, we bumped elbows, the new French greeting in the era of social distancing. Though we could not see half our faces with the masks, the merriment in our eyes was worth a million smiles.
And now that I'm back in Paris, and that another lockdown is underway, we're still in contact through phone calls, video calls, and selfies.
Lockdown 2.0 and hope for the future
Today, as we go through the new, lighter lockdown, my hope for the future is that we embrace what new technologies offer in all aspects of our lives. I believe that innovation, social media, online platforms, eBooks, apps can bring people together, even in the worst circumstances, if people are willing. It erases borders and distance when people can't travel and opens up new horizons from one's home.
From the bottom of my heart, there's only one thing I can say to my phone.
If you liked my story, I'm sure you'll want to check out the other HONOR Emerging Writer stories on the @ImproveYourWritingProfile on Wattpad.