The Burrows Abroad
Meet my cousin Brenna and her beautiful family: Chance, Emry and Wynn. Brenna loves to travel the world enriching the lives of her children and meeting people from different cultures. This week I was lucky enough to share her COVID story from China. You are going to love this cute family!
This piece appeared in the Iron County Today on April 29, 2020
Two southern Utah residents, Brenna and Chance Burrows left their home in Cedar City to travel 6000 miles to create a new home in Qingdao, Shandong, China with their two daughters, Emry Mei and Wynn Joann.
QingDao borders the Yellow sea in the eastern Shandong province- skyscrapers, beaches and parks create a home for 9.046 million The Burrows lived in China as newlyweds and have always felt the desire to return. When the opportunity arose for Chance to work in China, they packed their bags and grabbed their passports.
Covid-19 changed their reality. Currently, they have been in quarantine for the last four months due to the Coronavirus. In December 2019, the Burrows traveled home to Utah to enjoy the Christmas holidays with family and then returned home just in time for Chinese New Year only to be quarantined two weeks later. The streets went quiet in China and almost overnight their lives changed.
The couple has documented their many adventures in China and across the globe on their website: www.livingasian.com. as well as their popular vlogs on YouTube: Living Asian. Brenna provides an up close and honest voice of what it is like to live abroad under COVID-19 circumstances and shares her tips for staying sane while quarantined with her six and three-year old daughters.
Life before the quarantine was different. Brenna and her girls enjoyed daily adventures while Chance worked for Qingdao Syberjet Industries- the sister company of Syberjet of Cedar City. Brenna was enrolled in Chinese classes while the girls attended school. Now under quarantine, their lives, like most during this time period, have changed. Masks are a must- by everyone. Temperatures are taken upon entering and exiting public venues. Their daily routine looks much different, but they have made many discoveries among which includes falling in love with the nearby mountains and the joy of the outdoors
While many returned to the states as the number of victims grew in China, the Burrows family remained. But rather than wither under the virus conditions, the family has thrived. They have enjoyed rare days with both old and new friends at the beach, hiked new vistas with friends and taken up new hobbies such as indoor rock climbing- the whole family participates even three-year-old Wynnie.
Brenna readily admits she is an extrovert and a goer, for her isolation life was a big wake up call. Via social media, Brenna shares the following tips for surviving quarantine: keep a schedule- school time, meal time, outdoor time, nap time, snack and “mom time.” Self-care for moms is a must-shower and get dressed for the day- no matter what and exercise. Brenna is adamant that their daily schedule includes an hour of independent play during which time she also “plays.” Her playtime includes catching up on editing photos, listening to podcasts, writing, watching a show or sitting in the sunroom while enjoying the ocean view.
After “school time is over,” Brenna enjoys activities with her children. She found great indoor activities for her daughters on Youtube 5 minute crafts (be sure to save all containers, boxes- anything “craftable”). She also indulges them in long bubble baths with non- traditional bath toys, cooks with her kiddos, and has subscribed to audible. Other great ideas Brenna has shared include dance parties, indoor picnics, forts, fun history lessons. They even created “at home Disneyland” after their trip to Disneyland Shanghai was canceled due to Corona. On the bad days, Brenna tells moms, “give yourself a break, put a movie on.”
While the Burrows family has experienced a little “foreigner mistreatment,” Brenna and Chance have learned that the most important thing is to “Be Kind.” After all, we are all in this together.
Spring is on its way to Qingdao. The blossoms are bursting and slowly businesses are beginning to reopen. The Burrows family looks forward to “normal-life" activities such as park play dates, girls’ night out, shopping, and eating out,” but they have learned that it really is the little things that matter most- things she won’t take for granted. Little things like enjoying sunshine without masks and friends gathered together.
Be sure to follow all of the Burrow’s adventures on Facebook at Living Asian and on Instagram @brennaburrows8.