Tag Archives: china

Is is still called homesick when you long for 3 different places all at the same time?

After living abroad for over 2 years now, it is not just my home country that I miss anymore. I miss China and Japan almost every day, allthough I miss Norway the most and I also enjoy living here in the Netherlands. I guess it’s the downside of being lucky enough to have lived in multiple countries.

Japan was my first meeting with Eastern Asia, and my frist time living abroad. I was fresh out of highschool and living out my dream together with about 20 other Norwegian exchange students.

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Japan surprised me in many ways. There are parts of Japan that are actually not crowded, not overly modern and still really awesome. You most likely never even heard of the town I lived in, Togane. I still loved living there every day, and I learned so much from my stay there – about Japan, growing up and about myself. I have traveled back to Japan a few times already,and even met a few of the many friends I made there.I will never be able to recreate my time in Togane though, because most of the friends I made while living there are long gone by now. The Japanese students moved on to other parts of Japan, and the international students have either moved home or to somewhere else as well. There is actually absolutely no way to go back to the life I had there for a brief 5 months.

China was my second time living abroad, and the second country in Asia I ever went to. (it has pretty much been either nothing or everything for me in that part of the world hehe) At this stage I was a bit more grown up and a bit more used to traveling without my family.

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I realised right away that we would be a lot more left to ourselves in China than I ever was in Japan.  We arranged more or less everything except school on our own, something that I also learned a lot from. The people I went here with were awesome in a completely different way than the people I went to Japan with. It was all a little bit less organized, for better for worse.  I fell in love with Shanghai, a city almost as diverse as its country, China. Wether you want to go shopping, relax in the park, experience old Chinese buildings or extremly modern skyscrapers – Shanghai is the place to go. For those of you that followed my blog for a while, you know that my stay there was also the reason I started to blog in the first place, and I did over a hundred posts on Shanghai and China in general.

After only 3 weeks home in Oslo, I started on my next adventure – life in the Netherlands with my boyfriend Rob. We were sick of doing long distance after a whole year on opposite sides of the world, and I decided that I might as well see how I liked it in his home country. I have started to build a new life for myself here with a fulltime job, new friends, Rob of course and my first pet ever, Morgan the hamster. Moving to the Netherlands almost felt like moving back home, as I am now in Europe again and not in the far east.

I am really happy to be here of course, but I also miss the places that I left behind every now and then. My home country, Norway is still the place that I miss the most though. My friends and family in Oslo are truly amazing for still being there for me, even after I moved away from them not once, but 3 times now. I miss them all the time, and wish there was a way to experience the whole world and still stay in touch with all the people I care about. Hopefully I will be able to find a good way to do this in the future, but it is becoming hard as some of the people I care about obviously is on the other side of the world by now.

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Diverse China

This is a slideshow I made with pictures that I have taken while traveling in Greater China. Enjoy 🙂

Zhongshan Park

Summer is here, and today me and the girls went down to the park to enjoy it. Zhongshan park is pretty large, and as today was a  sunday it was really crowded as well. It impresses me how spontanious Chinese people can be. There were people dancing, flying kites, singing, playing in bands, drawing caligraphy or just relaxing on the grass. There was beautiful flowers everywhere, a little lake with boats, a cave and so on – really a nice place for a sunday walk.  We even found cherry blossoms! 🙂 Shanghai might not have much of a spring, but summer sure came fast.

Streetshopping

In Shanghai you can buy more or less anything on the street. Food, clothes, books, pencils, notebooks, kitchen appliances, electronics, bikes and even underwear – I’ve seen them all sold on the streets of Shanghai. Streetshopping is extremly cheap, and quite convinient as well. Especially buying breakfast even cheaper than it would have been to eat at home is really awesome. Dinner is really great as well, and its nice to be able to buy a pen or a notebook on the street if you forgot to bring one to school. I do feel sorry for the pets that are being sold on the streets though, their cages are way too small.

Constant Change

Living in Shanghai, one can’t help notice how everything is constantly changing. This picture is taken from my window, and the progress made at this construction site is about a million times quicker than it would have been back home. A few months ago I saw a line of about 20 trucks bringing the materials in, now they seem to have built the first few floors already.I have also noticed how stores disappear every now and then, only to be replaced by new ones within weeks or sometimes even within a few days. Another example is our local supermarket – E-mart. Every few months, they will have rearranged about half the store. Yesterday me and my friend had to ask for help to find the ketchup, because it was nowhere to be found anymore. I also swear that I never saw instant pizza there before, yet now they have several different ones even. It is really impressive to see how effective the Chinese can be when they change things as well, I didn’t go to the student cafeteria for a few days – then when I got back there was a whole new section of it featuring pastry. I guess constant change is simply a part of living in Shanghai. And sometimes the change is really good, like how I can now buy instant pizza at my local store, something I have actually really missed. I guess the constantly changing nature of the city keeps things exciting, at the same time I can’t help wondering how it’s even possible for a store to completly disappear and be replaced by a new one in a matter of days. Shanghai’s skyline is changing as well, they are building a new tower even taller than the financial building. If I am to return to Shanghai in a few years, will I even be able to find my way around?

Embracing the Chinese Culture

While I sometimes find it hard to live in a culture so different from my own, I have decided to try and embrace the Chinese culture, rather than trying to escape it or get annoyed by it.  One of the things that annoys me the most is how people seem unable to wait in line or let other people through. The last few days I have simply decided to be just as rude myself, pushing my way into the subway before people can get out, cutting in line at the supermarket. Sure it is really rude and I would never do this at home, but if I keep waiting in line while everybody else is cutting I end up waiting for ages in most cases.  It does feel rather liberating to cut in line somehow, even if it annoyes me to no end when others do it. Small victories like getting to the escalator before the largest crowd or getting a seat on the subway does matter at least a little bit, especially when I feel as if I have been waiting the longest.

Traffic in China also used to scare me a lot and sometimes it still does, but even if it seems as if all the bikes for example are heading straight toward me I have realised that hesitating or stopping can be more dangerous than simply following my intended path. This actually goes for cars sometimes even.A lot of my classmates are becoming really integrated  after staying here for about 7 months. Quite a few of them ride their bikes to school in the Chinese traffic without it being a big deal to them at all. Some even bought scooters or e-bikes. This guy, Jens, even got the same kind of raincoat as many of the Chinese wear when riding their bikes on rainy days! 🙂

The Chinese way of life can actually be rather nice if you give it a real chance -and I intend to do just that from now on, rather than dwell on all the things that I miss about Norway and Europe in general. Doing this have made me feel a lot better about living here, and somehow the Chinese people I have met the last few days have seemed much nicer as well – I even had a few conversations with strangers in Chinese. All my homesickness and thinking of how much I miss people made me forget how lucky I am to be living in Shanghai, time to remember again 🙂

“Spring” in Shanghai

You know how after the long dark winter, spring comes along to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside again? How the sun starts shining again, making everything nice and warm? Well guess what, spring in Shanghai is nothing like that. It has been raining for over a week straight now, and according to my teacher, it will keep on raining for about 2 months. That’s the spring we have to look forward to here, hehe. This makes me feel a little sad, as I really love the spring we normally have back in Oslo. Everything being gray and boring every single day doesn’t raise my spirits at all – it’s march now, where are the flowers and sunshine? Not here that’s for sure. This feels like autumn, and thats actually a little depressing, Ah well, I will get by – weather isn’t everything and hey in two months there might be a spring here as well, or possibly even a summer 🙂