I emerge from our shelter knowing we need food. It is the morning after, not Armageddon - though it feels like it. It is Chinese New Year. I hope at least one grocery store is open. It is quiet, eerily quiet. And empty. The cars, people, and bicycles, all usually vying to get ahead, are absent. Only the red papered litter leaves evidence of the war zone that had been.
Yesterday, Chinese New Year's Eve, the morning air was some of the cleanest we've had with an index at 39. By midnight, it is in the 400's (the cart stops at 500), nearing the worst we've experienced. As I push Kaleia in the stroller to the grocery store, trying not to be too unsettled, I notice that, along with all the people, the air has nearly cleared, but it still has the scent of gun powder. The expensive Western-style store, mostly for expats, is open, and we pick up the bare necessities. As we make our way home, the first few kernels of Day 2 begin to pop. It is only 10 am. Part of me can't help my excitement. But most of me still remembers sharing my bed with two scared toddlers. 14 more days, I sigh, what will it be like?