Friday, August 21, 2009

On week left...

...and then I’m off to China! Quite excited –although I know what awaits me: a humid, polluted city. But loads of good food, catching up sessions with friends, and, not to be forgotten: some really exciting trips coming up! This fall is going to be a bit crazy. I’ve got three trips planned for the next 2 months. What can I say? When the travelling bug hits you it hits you hard! Also, after working pretty much all summer I am looking forward to the reward.

Summer is definitely coming to an end in Finland. Yesterday morning, my work mate told us there had been frost on his car at 7am in the morning. Frost on August 21?! Ha! Hello winter! Now that’s a season I am happy that I will miss out on over here!

All in all it’s been a good working summer in Finland. Nice to get a change of scene, and this has definitely made me appreciate the life I have in China more, just like I was hoping it would.

Months ago, a reader asked me to list 5-10 things that I love about China. I said it was a great idea then, but then I forgot about it. Seeing I am about to head back, I'm all excited about China again, so
here goes:

1. The food –I love the diversity and the spicy stuff you can get over there

2. Chinese people –sure, they stare a little bit too much for my liking, and sometimes their behavior is quite… weird. But that’s obviously due to culture differences, so who am I to judge? They probably think my behavior (going jogging for instance, or paying loads of money for the right kind of cheese) is completely off too. Overall I think they are helpful, happy and quite wonderful. (There are exceptions everywhere in this world). I prefer their openness to the Scandinavian coldness. Every day.

3. The opportunities there are in China. It’s inspiring to live somewhere where (more or less) everything is possible (even though people use the term “mei you ban fa” –“it’s impossible” way too frequently!).

4. The everyday life –no day is like the other day. There’s always some fun/less fun stuff happening. Makes life a bit more interesting.

5. The language. It’s inspiring, yet tough to learn Chinese, and although I sometimes forget, I really enjoy learning Mandarin.

6. Cheap public transport. Say no more. It’s insane that in Sweden I have to pay the equivalent to 70 yuan (about 6,5-7 euros) for a 25-min bus ride. Not to mention the train tickets over here. One way, Tampere-Helsinki (about 2 hours on a fast train): 33 euros. One way, Beijing-Shanghai (about 10-12 hours if you take the night train and get a sleeper for 4 people): 50 euros.

7. The tea drinking. Free tea to every meal, people walking around with their mugs and special teacups.

8. The shopping. I would lie if I said I don’t enjoy the shopping in Shanghai. I mean, just the tailor market?! HEAVEN!!!

9. My close Chinese friends. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know some rather fantastic people in China. I’ve learned a lot from them.

10. The feeling that no matter how much of the language you learn/ how many people you get to know/ how many cities/provinces of the country you visit/ how many dishes you try –you feel that there’s always more for you to see, hear, taste, experience and learn.

Now, I could probably list 10 things I don't like about China too, but why not just make this a positive one, seeing it's Friday and everything.


Zhe said...

Glad to hear that... I can hardly say we have any summer in Sweden this year, I think Autumn is the best season in China. The air doesn't seem to be that bad and the temperature is comfortable on average. And in Oct there will be a 7-day national holiday....

Pete In Syracuse said...

New beginnings, fresh starts, old friends and food. Sounds good!! As for the frost already "BUURRR" I don't think I'd like that either so early...Have a great trip back. By the way Happy late Birthday!!

Brad Farless said...

Living in Asia did get me started on tea drinking, and I can totally understand you on the cheese. It's so expensive here!

miss. chief said...

aw, i think you made me love china a little bit too! thanks for this post jonna, it totally made my morning for some reason!

Jonna Wibelius said...

Zhe -u didn't have a good summer in Sweden??! I heard this summer in Sweden (at least in the south) was the best ever! But I agree, fall is the best time of the year in China. And I've already got a ticket booked for the Oct holiday... wiiii!

Pete -Yes, gotta love new beginnings!! Gives u so much new energy!

Brad F -yeah, I never drank tea before China. And yes, the prices for cheese are ridiculous here.

miss chief -awww, that's so nice to hear! :)

mantse said...

my friend just from Sweden and bring me a souvenir...... Surstormming...... (a canned fish?). suck smell....

Welcome back~~

YueMeiqi said...

Totally agree with every single point on your list. Can't wait to get back myself!

Dave Oshana said...

Haven't seen any frost in this part of Hki.

Was the food photo (very clear) taken in a standard restaurant in China?

In Hki the quest for a good Chinese restaurant continues.