If I have to sum up the three-year pandemic experiences, perhaps these three photos would be the most appropriate. They were taken at Amsterdam airport, Barcelona airport, and the 5th arrondissement of Paris.

The three years of lockdown and quarantine measures have caused too much angst and absurd drama. The first time I wrote “warm welcome” as shown in the first photo, the context of that time, around the beginning of the pandemic, was corresponding: the strong sense of “discrimination” and “invisibility” I felt in Europe. Three years on, the gap is still widening, and I wonder if that slogan of “welcome” has truly arrived in action. So these four characters, in a sense, also are meant for me; as a Chinese who newly arrived in Europe, I hope to greet Europe in its current times with my enthusiasm. The words are also for Europe; I hope I could get that friendliness and care in a foreign land.

And now, with the ease of covid-related restrictions in China, it seems that “warm welcome” got a new meaning, which is to call for the rejoining of globalization in today’s context.

Chengfan, currently lives and works in Rotterdam.