2006 Ball State Graduate Holly Allen and her family moved to Suzhou, China this past November for her husband’s job. Little did they know that they would have to flee within just a few short months. In my Skype interview with Allen she said, “I woke up...and I think it was actually a note from my dad that pushed me over the edge. He sent me a note on Instagram and was pretty persistent, he said, ‘I really think you need to come home’, and he said, ‘Please listen to me this time’.” Allen and her family decided to book the soonest flight out of Shanghai. Her and her family had the choice of two flights; a 30 hour flight on a Tuesday, back to Dayton, Ohio, their hometown, or a shorter flight on a Thursday. Allen was concerned for her two small daughters and how they would react to the longer flight. Allen’s husband said to “book the soonest flight, it’s our lives we’re talking about.”
Allen and her family were lucky to make it out of China without being held there and quarantined. Luckily, they passed the screenings and were able to continue their journey home. Upon arriving home, they were happy but they didn’t know what would happen next. Holly said, “The whole thing was such a whirlwind. It was such a hard decision to leave. Half of our belongings are in our apartment. We don’t know when we’ll go back. We packed our things thinking we’ll be home for two to three weeks and it’s turning out to be much longer.” Allen and her family were expecting to stay in China for over a year and plan to go back once things settle.