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. They 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. When 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. I love these youngsters so much… I can’t put it into words. Walking home to the shared apartment after a long day. The 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. Coming 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. I do miss you. And I will be back.