After Shanghai announced the gradual reopening, many Shanghai drifters who had been locked up for more than a month found ways to leave this city.

To many youngsters, the financial hub is the symbol of a developed economy, hard-working spirit, and international atmosphere. It used to bring them many good memories of living and working here with better prospects, more job opportunities, and higher income.

Under Zero-Covid measures, Shanghai’s image has changed a lot in the hearts of the young generation.

Many people choose to leave for a while, giving themselves some room to adjust. As for whether they will come back, many of them plan to wait and see.

He Sheng came to Shanghai from his hometown Hubei 7 years ago. He had worked in the catering industry before moving to real estate. As a real estate agent, his salary increased from 6 or 7 thousand yuan (900 or 1000 dollars) to tens of thousands of yuan (over 1500 dollars). He says his life was on track because his effort and income are directly proportional.

He has always loved the city, the job, and the people here. Apart from wages, his skills have improved, and social circle has become broader.

He gets along well with his boss, coworkers, and friends, who helped him broaden his view.

Lulu has the same plight as He Sheng.

She chose Shanghai as a place for her to develop her career because Shanghai is the city of dreams. Shanghai is a good choice due to its wide tolerance, diverse talents and up to date with the modern world.

Many of her colleagues are from foreign companies, including Estee Lauder, Dior, Lancome, among others. She had been in a great global working environment.

Lulu was always full of energy at work because of the spirit of hard-work everywhere in everyone. Despite the high cost of living, the more she spent, the more motivated she was to make money. She even tried to learn how to invest.

Besides the working environment, Shanghai also has an unforgettable beauty.

She used to walk along the Shanghai Harbour with coworkers after lunch, looking at the falling cherry blossoms. She says it is an exquisite life.

However, the strict lockdown has turned their lives upside down.

Many people turned to work online, but He Sheng cannot. He was confined at his rented house, lying in bed and playing on cell phones. He had nothing to do. Sometimes he felt so irritable that he wanted to smoke a cigarette, but it has become a luxury. With a basic salary of 3 thousand yuan (445 dollars), he cannot maintain a usual living standard in Shanghai. He says it is the test of the spirit.

Lulu is now plagued with insomnia.

There are many hidden dangers during lockdown that trigger her inner anxiety. She had a strong sense of going out and wandering. Her roommate did not come back, leaving her alone in a house for an unknown period. She was surrounded by a sense of loneliness, making her cry inexplicably.

One time, she couldn’t sleep for three days. When she looked at herself in the mirror, her face collapsed, and her pores became enlarged as if she had aged many years.

The gradual unblocking of Shanghai has pushed youngsters like He Sheng and Lulu to make a choice, stay or leave.

He Sheng said that he would come out as soon as possible, even if he would come back someday after the pandemic has gone.

Lulu managed to book a car to the train station to return to her hometown. The driver drove at a speed of 120 mph, and she commented it was a fast and furious experience.

Not lucky as Luly, many people had to walk a long way to Hongqiao station hoping that they could buy a ticket back home, ending their time in dreamland.

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