Expat Pandemic Time Capsule 2020

And breathe….It has been a deathly quiet here on the blog…. Writing has been looooooow on the priority list.

The main reason for Radio Silence, is that our kids last had face-to-face learning 23.01.2020. They returned to school yesterday, 29.09.2020.

That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is 8 months and spare change. Moreover, for the time being they finish at lunchtime and come home. For any of you who have been following this blog for a while and remember the Action Barbie’ Focaccia recipe I once posted, you will realise that I’m thrilled (I am not thrilled) about this, because the kitchen is my favourite place (it is not my favourite place – at all).

Anyhow, now that they are finally out of my hair for a little while and I at least get a break at snack time, I’ve decided to make them each a pandemic time capsule.


As a child, I remember asking my grandmother about World War II. Equally, I was always fascinated when classmates brought in an old gas mask or ration book they’d borrowed from an elderly relative for show and tell at school, these trinkets a record of a seismic and incomprehensible global event.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Photo by Expect Best on Pexels.com

We are about to celebrate mid-autumn festival here in Hong Kong.

Yep – the kids were back at school for precisely two partial days and now we have a 4 day long weekend. Awesome!

Fear not though, for the half term break has already been cancelled and so from next week we will be pushing straight through until Christmas. Ho ho ho hum.

Apologies, I digress, the mid-autumn festival is celebrated in many corners of Asia and has loose similarities with Harvest Festival celebrated in the West. Families gather for hearty meals and dark autumn skies are lit with cheerful lanterns.

A key component of mid-autumn festival is the selling, buying, gifting and eating of moon cakes. Shops are heaped to the rafters with pretty tins and boxes full of them, which sparked my idea for our pandemic time capsules.

I chose two tins of mooncakes and we have gradually been eating them. I say gradually, because they are impossibly rich. Meanwhile, I have been gathering a small collection of items, a motley crew of mementoes. These mark another (ongoing) seismic global event that our children’s children and no doubt their children’s children will read about in history books.

I never had a gas mask or ration book for show and tell, so I’m totally banking on these tins getting top billing in a future generation’s school assembly 50 years from now.

By that time I shall no doubt be a wizened, deaf and embarrassing, yet triumphant little old lady. The children will ooh and aah and wonder however did the human race of 2020 survive without personal spaceships, tele-porters or bionic upgrades or telepathic implants.

Pandemic Time Capsule

Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

The tins in themselves are souvenirs, with Hong Kong 2020 embossed on this lids alongside a traditional image of Chang E, Goddess of the Moon in beautiful swirling robes with her companion, the Jade Rabbit.

Inside there is a collection of items, reflecting both our time in Hong Kong and the UK this year. They include postcards and letters, air ticket stubs, facemarks and electronic wristbands from our mandatory quarantine in Hong Kong.

Still to be added are a few photographs, some tongue in cheek covid-themed Christmas decorations and anything else I can think of.

Probably, I should also print copies of this and this and this and this and then this blog post for posterity and dig out some newspaper clippings.

Christmas 2020

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

In the meantime, we’re already writing our Christmas cards. In theory, airmail from Hong Kong to the UK is up and running again, but in practice we don’t know if will remain so with so very few flights between the two.

Apparently, last posting date to the UK in time for Christmas via surface mail is October 3rd. So we’re aiming for that date, just in case airmail is put on pause again.

So, should you receive an early-bird card from us – please just hang on to it until December. And if you’re planning to send us a card, please just post it now and mark the back of the envelope ‘Open in December’. So far from home, it will mean more than ever. And yes, to any family and friends reading this, that was a massive hint.

We preemptively, and with hindsight quite presciently, booked Christmas lunch with Hong Kong friends all the way back in July. Or perhaps even the end of June? Thinking about it, we should probably reconfirm the reservation to make sure we don’t get gazumped, now that everybody else is resigned to the fact that they most likely won’t be travelling anywhere over the Christmas break.

And depending on how we’re feeling, we might even go the whole hog and pre-order our Christmas tree tomorrow.

And also what else should I include in the time capsules? And when shall I let my kids open them? Wrap them up and put them under the Christmas tree this year? In 5 years time? In 10 years time? When they move out? Or shall I just stick them in the back of a cupboard, forget about them and see when (and where) they resurface? Or bury them in a random spot on a Hong Kong hillside and wait for them to be discovered?

How have you documented this crazy bonkers year?

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