New University

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I am very curious about what my new University will look like, maybe something like this? Wuhan University, China.

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7 – A place I called mine

This is a post in a series of pictures from a trip to China in June 2013. Read the first post here

I packed a small bag and said goodbye to my friends in the city. It was time for the suburb. Take a cab, get off at the mall, find the right bus, pay the 8 yuan ticket – I have done it all so many times, but I was still nervous. Would it all be the same? Who will still be there?

The air was foggy and the road under the bus as bumpy as always. Al sent me texts from Sweden and encouraged me. I stared out through the window: the city passing by, the University, the restaurant street, the city gates and after that dusty fields and villages whose names I never heard. It was my first time to travel here in summer and the lotus fields were covered with huge pink flowers. It was beautiful. When I could see the skyline of the familiar houses I called the driver to stop and I jumped of. I was back. DSC_3898They knew I would be coming that day, but not exactly when. As I walked on into the school I could see the surprised faces around me. I guess my face expression was extraordinary as well: nervous, excited and overwhelmed at the same time.

I knew I was going to come back here some day, but already being here was a little too much to take in. DSC_3911When I arrived to Kunming some weeks earlier  they called me and asked if I wanted to come and help them out. I was asked to work together with a volunteer. I really wanted to refuse but also didn’t feel like denying them help, so I ended up saying I would do it.

I was relieved to meet the other guy and hear that he had prepared most of it. I just had to help him plan some games, buy a lot of candy and other stuff and then try out the ideas one by one. My personal favorite was the game “slide a chocolate bun down your face and catch it in your mouth”. We decided we had to practice that one many times.

Here we are later in action: playing a game with the teenagers outside. DSC_3978I love these youngsters so much… I can’t put it into words. DSC_3932DSC_4225DSC_3989Walking home to the shared apartment after a long day. DSC_4116The view from the apartment. When this apartment was my home I used to stare at these roofs while brushing my teeth. Now I was only a guest, sleeping in a guest bed. DSC_3920 DSC_4162Coming back again filled me with such a gratitude. As I said in the first post the trip was almost like a China detox. After being out here for such a long time and then returning back to Sweden for an even longer time, this place felt like if it existed in a parallel universe, a place I couldn’t really get back to. It was good to come here and know that it wasn’t just a dream.

But being here also left me with some heavy feelings. I can be here, in the worlds of these boys and girls, share their days and laugh with them. But in the end I never stay. I always return home. Home to my well heated apartment, home to my University and probably so stable future.

Normal life for me is luxuries for them. Things I take for granted are out of reach in their world. Basic human rights. Knowing that the government will protect you, not protect itself from you. Democracy. Freedom to believe in God.

I wish I could do more. I wish I could help in some way. I wish the world was more fair.

The world is so big, so overwhelming.So real. DSC_3918I do miss you. And I will be back.

Some day.

6 – More Wuhan

This is a post in a series of pictures from a trip to China in June 2013. Read the first post here

Summer in Wuhan is hot and it seems like the rain can start anytime.

DSC_3634DSC_3622DSC_1992By coincidence we passed a wedding ceremony and we sat down to watch. The bridesmaids, the flower boy and the flower girl are getting ready. Any minute now and the bride will arrive.DSC_3459After some busy days I finally had time to visit a special friend. Her apartment was full of people from all over the world and delicious indian food. After 2 am we had time to sit and talk on our own and she could give me some good advises.  I stayed overnight and borrowed a fantastic foot long Indian nightie.

The next morning Wuhan was covered in smog.

DSC_3875Now I just had one more important place visit before returning to Sweden.

5 – My favorite street

This is a post in a series of pictures from a trip to China in June 2013. Read the first post here

Right behind my favorite street, squeezed between university campuses and the electronic market, you can still find a food alley. It is narrow, it is not so hygienic and always crowded. But it is a great place to grab a breakfast, snack or any meal any time of the day. In this stand you can buy soya milk (to the very left) all kinds of fried breads (between the women) or eggs boiled in tea (at the ground). I hope they will let this places be and not tear down and rebuild this places, but I doubt the city planners will agree with me.

DSC_3431At the other side of the street you can grab steamed buns (baozi) or jiaozi (dumplings). We used to grab breakfast here on Sunday mornings.

DSC_3325These guys where smiling so big when I took up the camera.  They are filling the big barrels with new baozi to be steamed.

DSC_3600Crowds, cars and busses. In the middle a seller from one of the little stores take a break and rest his feet for a minute.

DSC_3386Someone had torn down a wall next to the sidewalk and I took the chance to walk up and see what it’s been hiding. Behind k found some old houses and a yard hosting someones small plantation of vegetables. Next time I come back I have to take a look and see if it this is still here or already replaced with new houses.

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4 – Coming home

This is a post in a series of pictures from a trip to China in June 2013. Read the first post here

And so the day I waited for so long finally came: it was time to go back to Wuhan! I followed my Swedish friends to the airport, waved them of and then took a flight to my previous hometown.

Ok, I know it is not correct to say hometown about somewhere you only lived for a very short time. But I can’t help feeling like home here. How many times hadn’t I dreamed about walking down my favourite street, buy tea and be with dear friends? And now I am finally back.DSC_3787My good friend J was still in town and let me come and stay with her. We spent some fantastic days eating great food, meeting people and taking silly photos. At least once a day we were laughing until it literally hurt. J, you are the best! DSC_3851My favorite street was still there but everything else had changed. This is really China: you are gone for 14 months and when you get back you think you have been gone for 14 years. The subway system had finally opened, a new bridge over East Lake was finished, some streets had been opened and others closed, rebuilt or redirected. Everyone had moved and suddenly the no-car campus became a busy road. The buses changed their routes as well and I almost couldn’t navigate myself.

These small stores you can find in every street corner: they sell all kind of hot or cold pops or teas. A cold lemon tea is perfect for the 35+ Wuhan summer.DSC_4271Me and a new friend. Due to the hot temperatures she abandoned her student dorm to come and stay with us in our AC cool apartment. I simply can’t imagine how it must have been to sit and study in 35+ for the spring exams. Poor poor students! And yep, this is my favorite street, again.DSC_3779As I barely have eaten Dim Sung (in Cantonese) or Morning Tea (in Mandarin) we set out to get that. If you arrive before a certain time you get the morning offer, and as we were late we were running the last few meters to the restaurant. We made it almost on time and had a great meal with many small treats and served with an unlimited amount of green tea. DSC_3810My dear friend Jiajia (at the right) lives a full day trip from Wuhan but always makes an effort to come and see me. It was great to spend time together after so long. We made some outings together where she always makes sure to bargain really hard, I never got cheated with her by my side! DSC_3698I spent quite much time on the phone calling to Sweden. During one of those times I wandered about in a serene corner at back of Wuhan University. DSC_4238DSC_3639