Winter 2020: The Roaring 20s

All prospects of 2020 did not age well three weeks into the decade

Posted by Boyang Li on 01-17-2020

The header image was the old railway station of Changsha, one of my many childhood memories as I would call the torch on the tower the "big red pepper". Also, the calligraphy on top of the building is the traditional characters of "Chang Sha" and was written by Mao Zedong as he was born in Hunan and attended [Hunan First Normal University]( not far away from the spot.

Also, this post was written in January of 2021, a year after the series of events happened.


School Spirit

School spirit

Well come the roaring 20s! Just like a century ago, this decade also started off with a global pandemic. However, the time before the outbreak was still worth memorizing as it was the “Good ol Days”. It was also the first winter that I spent in China in 5 years as in the past the winter break was merely three weeks and was definitely not worth the cost to travel back to Shanghai.

The most significant act I did this winter was probably travel back to Changsha, the city where I spent the first 7 years of my life. Last time I visited was years ago so it was definitely refreshing seeing all the changes in the city, especially in the original campus of Central South University, where my father achieved his doctoral degree when I grew up.

Gate 2000

How it started

Gate 2020

How it's going

The only difference this time was that one of my friends from Berkeley is from Changsha, so I was lucky that he could be my tour guide for all the changes there has been for the past 15 years while I could show him around the original campus and tell him what had changed.


The neighborhood where I grew up; Khrushchyovkas in Chinese universities were the most common type of residence halls for over 5 decades as a resolution to low-cost univerisal housing. While they did provide a home for many poor students and was offered as a bonus to professors because of the spiking real estate prices, they often don't have ideal living conditions or much privacies


When I was three years old

Glow Down

One and a half decades later, definitely a glow down :(

I was also able to explore different areas in Changsha thanks to the courtesy of Ricardo Mo, the friend from Berkeley mentioned before. As we were both taking CS 61A the semester before, we decided to do something… quite interesting.

Also, building Lego pixel arts had became one of my hobbies:


Stanfurd[1] did NOT #BeatCal in 2019 nor did the Big Game in 2020 age well

Thanks to this break, I was able to not only visit my grandparents not far away from Changsha but also have an opportunity to review my childhood while preparing for the new semester and the decade. Back then everyone was so prepared for the coming new year only to find out weeks later that the world was changing too fast for us to keep track of.

[1]: No, this is not a typo, go look it up.