After my first time in China I waited some time to return, but when I came back it was not just for a visit.
This time my stay in China was longer and more intense. I was well prepared, my bags was well packed. This timed I had made a real effort to learn everything I could about the country. And I spoke some Chinese.
Me and my Swedish friend arrived to our new home at late afternoon. We were immediately introduced to everyone and dived down into a Chinese-suburban style of life. It was new, it was crowded and it was fantastic.
Well, the first night was terrible and both me and my friend fell asleep crying, but after that we slowly got used to things.
The first mornings were magic. The village was waking up and the sound of neighbors and morning vendors was easily heard through my open window. The morning air was still cool and brought the bliss of another day full of surprises. We had one schedule each, full with responsibilities we had little knowledge how to carry out. I can’t say I mastered my work, but I tried my best and learned a lot along the way.
It was eight months of adventure, of learning, of asking questions, of following and of improvisations.
And there were so many days when the life was colourful and beautiful. Some days I felt like I really could connect to our new friends. Moments when we were laughing our ways from buses and through trains, holding arm in arm while walking down the streets, overcoming the barriers and talking time away. Or simply holding cups of warm tea in a cold winter day. There were days when hearts touched hearts and stories were told.
At the weekdays we spent living when suburbs touched countryside. At Saturday mornings we went downtown to spend the weekend with similar-minded expat friends. Wherever we went the doors stood open and everyone shared generously of what they had.
Coming home to the west was an even bigger challenge than moving out, the reversed culture shock was just as bad as I was told it would be. I felt completely detached from my previous life, I was empty and lost.
It took time but eventually I got used to being in Sweden again. This is how life is: one time for coming, one for going. Now it will soon be time for another new start.
You can read about the next time I went to China here.