BPJ- "Baby Pollution Jail"

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Yep. This is how we call it here in Beijing. This is how we call these days when we wake up, look outside the window and return straight to bed. What's the point in getting dressed anyway?

We will stay indoors today.

The air is too polluted to get outside with a baby.

So we gamble: "How much do you think it's today?"

I know for sure that if I see the mountains the air quality is under 50 (freedom! we can go out, the air is clean)

If I can see the Ritan Parc but in a milk-like-fog then it's around 150 which for me it means no walk in the parc, just a short trip to the shop on the corner to buy water. And if I can't see the buildings in front of our window then it's bad, it's really bad. 300 or more.

"What does the app say?" (yes we do have an app for that)

340

340?

That's the air quality today.

The whole city looks like haunted. Like in a bad science fiction movie.

So we stay inside. Again. This is the third consecutive day. We try to make up stories and games and to entertain our toddlers.

The phone vibrates continuously. On a day like this everybody is on Wechat (a combination of Facebook and What's up). We exchange ideas: "How do you get your bread delivered?" , "How do you entertain a 18 months old who wants to play football inside?", "What is the pollution forecast for tomorrow?"

At the beginning I rose up against those days. I got angry. I got scared

I got desperate.

"I want to breathe. I want to run on the grass. Touch the trees. Listen to the wind. But around me the milky air, the smell of the air, the smell of the metal. Where is the sky? Where is the earth? Where am I?"

- Notes on a day at 340

And then I surrendered. I even started to enjoy them.

Quiet days. The strange ambiance where you can't distinguish the buildings, the sun and the sky.

The city is quiet.

It's just the two of us. Me and my baby. Like suspended in time and space. It's pacefull in here.

"Just because you are in prison doesn't mean you have to be a prisoner." (Ricky Jackson)

Thank you Katja for quoting this sentence. Yes, we can choose our perspective.

Listen to Katja's story here