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People singing during a peaceful protest. Valparaíso, Chile, 2019. All photos by Siyi Chu

The city of Valparaíso is energetic, languid, poetic, and dilapidated, all at the same time, but not enough to reduce me to tears.

This was the thought going through my mind, as I turned from Calle Esmeralda to begin the ascent to the museum of poet Pablo Neruda. Jetlagged, liberated, excited, but crying.

And that, was seconds before I realized I was tear-gassed. My downpour was because of the leftover tear gas from the actions on Plaza Anibal Pinto the day before. The realization finally dawned when I saw people around with mouths and noses covered by masks, scarves, or…


The coronavirus put my life plans on hold. But in isolation, I found a silver lining: I had a rare opportunity to learn, reflect, and explore.

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Photo: pick-uppath/Getty Images

By some mischievous calculation of the cosmos, I quit my job in the United States and moved back to China exactly one day before the coronavirus outbreak exploded all over the news. I felt deeply concerned about all those affected by the situation. But admittedly, I also looked at my new reality of being quarantined in my parents’ apartment indefinitely, and thought: “What a bummer.”

I’d left my job to embark on a quarter-life exploration. I had hoped to travel to and learn about different places, meet and embrace interesting people, and find some troubled waters that I’d want to…

Siyi Chu

Question asker by trade, meaning seeker by volition. Looking for the next adventure with a creative outlet. siyichu.format.com

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