Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Home sweet home

One of the best things about living abroad is coming home. Home to the family. To friends. To a fridge full of comfort food. And a backyard full of memories.

Yesterday when I went for a run it hit me that I haven’t enjoyed an autumn in Sweden since the year 2000. I’d almost forgotten about how beautiful the forests get when they trees’ leaves change colour. Every time I’m home and start picking up my running miles, I fall back in love with running again. In China, it’s a “must do” as I don’t want to stop something I once used to love (although I often experience difficulties when it comes to motivation), but over here, it’s almost fun. I don’t even think about the fact that I am running while I am out there. Rather, I’m too busy thinking about other things, breathing the fresh air, enjoying the scenery and listening to music. It’s strange that I cannot get the same feeling while running in China, after all, it’s not rocket science we are talking about. But, I guess that’s just how it is. (which has also made me realize that there is no point dreaming of running a full marathon as long as I live in China. That dream will just have to wait).

I always feel kind of “fluffy” while over here. I tend to go home at least once/year (lately it’s been twice/year) and every time I get here the same story repeats itself. Mom cooks me my favourite dishes (making me feel like a spoiled 15-year-old), and I eat more, and better food (some seriously mad salads over here, mom’s a bit of a carrot lover so the fridge has a rather impressing salad station), than I would eat even if I tried to be healthy in China.

It’s a bit weird, but kind of wonderful at the same time. I tend to go back to China with my batteries re-charged. Probably 1-2 kg heavier (I tell myself it’s a mixed result from my new running muscles –ehum- and all the yummy food) but with softer skin and hair (yeah, there’s some serious difference between the tap water in China and Sweden too, one of the biggest one being that you can drink tap water –and that it actually tastes good- in Sweden).

Hard not to be "energized" when hanging around my little brother -to the right- who's full of funny ideas...

Don’t get me wrong now (and please don’t mail bomb me now saying “if you hate China so much, why don’t you just go back?!”). I am not saying I would prefer living in Sweden to China. If I would, then I obviously would pack my bag and move home, it’s not harder than that. I enjoy the happy/energy boost a week in Sweden gives me (which normally lasts for 1 week, then it’s time to make a move), but then I’m ready to head back to China.

Like I said, one of the best things about living abroad is to go home for a (fluffy) visit.

(but thank God it’s not snowing yet…)


Monsieur Beep! said...

Yeah, potable water isn't a given, but a precious thing. In Germany we can drink tap water, though the cuppa will taste better with mineral water, whereas in Gran Canaria we use it only for taking a shower, it just tastes horrible. Potable water gets being scarce in the island.
On a side note: I really enjoy reading your articles!

马麟 said...

OK,if you hate China so much, why don’t you just go back?!
Haha, you know this is actually how we joke with friends. You need to get used to it.
I know some Swedish already have this sense. During last ARKAD in university, I went there and met two guys presenting smart phones. We had a funny conversation, I asked: 'how did the phone work?'
'Well, the functions are programed by software, include 3D display.'
'So it doesn't need a hardware accelerator?'
'No. It's not necessary.'
'Oh, too bad, I only design hardware. I guess you are my competitors then. You didn't know this faculty only focus on hardware design, right?' I joked.
'Err, it still can use old hardware...' One of them lost me with a awkward face.
But another guy immediately know I'm joking, he laughed 'Well, suit yourself, we are not here to make friends.'

izzati wahib said...

hello there. i came across your blog just now and wondered the reason you stay in china is for working or studying? i'm glad to read your experiences in china, which i never encounter yet because..umh..i never move out from my country. longing for the opportunity :) good luck in your life

Jonna Wibelius said...

monsieur beep! -that's great to hear! :) As for tap water, it was the same in Australia and in England. I would drink the tap water even though it had a funny taste to it... in the end I got used to it though.

马麟 -trust me, I've been getting a fair deal of email/comments (that I have refused) telling me to get the h** out of China, so I don't really think it's only a joke. A lot of angry induviduals out there who hate my blog and who take every little complaint I make as a very serious thing.. anyways, I've also been told that Swedes and Chinese share a similar kind of humour. I'm still to experience that though.

Izzati -I came to China mainly to learn Chinese... although during my 3 years in China I've also been working. Now I'm back to studying though and I'm enjoying it. A lot :)

Tarja said...

I was wondering if you ever get angry emails or comments. You have so many readers..

I think your attitude is so positive, I could never keep that up.

Have a nice trip to Sweden!

Pete In Syracuse said...

It's totally understandable to feel a warmth in the place where you were raised. Just as if you were raised in China and now lived in Sweden. It probably would be reversed in that case. People that blast you on that are small minded or come from a situation of maybe a poor family life so, home is not thought of in a kind way. Glad to see your getting a recharge though, as for the water drinking out of the faucet, it's the same where I grew up too & now with the city water it's ok not great!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that many people telling you to go back. I live here in the USA and when I complain about the USA many people here tell me to go back too. So I know you feeling.

Jonna, you do not have to worry, the situation in China is improving on a daily base within 10 years it will be just as good as South Korea. And yeah people in China are getting more fashionable too cause young poeple are growing up and it is wonderful. So you have to wait a bit longer to breath clean air and drink sweet water also seeing better looking people I suppose.

But the future looks bright. Hope you enjoy your stay in China. I might be back to China when I get my master degree and I can not wait to see her new face. I left home whan I was just a 16 year boy, now I am a 23 year old young man and I have learn so much.

Good bye.

Anonymous said...

One more thing. Jonna, I think some people dont like your blog because sometimes you are trolling for white poeple. Like you wrote about the Chinese cab driver story, I read all your posts and some of them offended me too. But I am not the aggressive ones, and I will not hurt you.

Also you made some assumptions about Chinese men which are not true like Chinese men are femmine because in ShangHi guys carry girls' hand bag. But that is in ShangHi, men in other parts of China are not like that, its like saying Italian men are short thus all European men are short. This is offensive, men in Northern China are very manly and they will not take such insult lightly. Also Chinese men do not have smaller bones than Western girls, you are Swedis white girl at 175cm but here in USA White girls are only 166cm, also the average height in Sweden is not 175cm, I checked, it is 169cm, so perhaps you should say: "You have larger bones instead of all Western women". So please be caureful when you post.

Just stop posting things about Chinese men, I know you are having a bad time with them.

Also, please dont write any thing regardng Chinese women chasing western men anymore. It is sick, I mean it. How do you think Chinese men feel when they see some of their women sell out to western men? I was sick of it, however it is changing. Becase right now the western encomy suffered huge recession, so many Chinese women lost their interests.
My mother marry an ugly fat white guy so we could come to the US, and I was sick of it. But once my mom got the green card, she divorced him right away. Now you know why so many Chinese women "want" western men?

Just write your working experiences or traviling experiences in China and leave Chinese people off.

Thank you.

Jonna Wibelius said...

Tarja -yup, loads of angry people out there. sad but true.

Pete -yup, getting to re-charge is always great, I'm not complaining, I'm rather lucky! I've realised (especially from blogging) that no matter what I write about, I'm always going to piss someone off, so no point trying to please everyone. That's just how it is.

Anonymous 1 -I think life in China (for me) is already everything I could have wished for. Sure, I miss some Swedish food stuff and I wish the air was better, but that's fine. I love my life there otherwise I wouldn't be there. Sounds like you've experienced a lot of interesting stuff too. I'm sure you'll have a good time when u eventually chose to return to China.

Jonna Wibelius said...

Anonymous 2 -The beauty about blogging is that it is completely biased. I'm not paid to write any of my posts. I simply write about what I see, hear and experience in China. My advice to you is to not take this blog dead seriously. I am not basing my assumptions on facts, I never said I did.

I write about what I feel like writing about. I sometimes manage to include some real clumsy stuff, and sometimes I get things wrong... people sometimes tell me off/correct my spelling/correct my mistakes and that's fine.... But people who tell me what to do and what not to do/or people to tell me to get lost... nah, I don't know. Why should I listen to complete strangers (who are always anonymous) that don't even know me, but because they don't agree with everything that I write they feel they have the right to be abusive to me?

Don't tell me to not write about this and that. If you come across a post that you find completely repulsive you obviously have your right to disagree and say so. But don't tell me what to do. I'm not doing anything to harm anyone. I'm simply posting stuff related to my own, personal experiences.

I don't understand where you have got this whole "I've had bad experiences from Chinese men" thing from? I have many Chinese male friends, some really really GREAT friends, that I care about and that I feel are really great and good people. I have never had a bad experience with a Chinese taxi driver, although I've had a few funny/different taxi ride experiences/conversations that I've chosen to share in this blog. Is there something wrong with that? Is that offensive somehow to you? If so, please explain, because I don't understand how you can take a story about a complete stranger offensive, when I'm not even writing about you!

As for the post about Chinese men being this and that. I think it was more than 1 year ago since I wrote that post. Obviously I have learned a LOT since I wrote that post, and if I would re-write it today I know I would write it differently. The reason why I posted about the topic at that time was because I was curious about it. I wanted to hear from couples (western women-Chinese men), I wanted them to share some of their experiences. Now I've met plenty of those couples and I don't think it's such an odd phenomena anymore. The fact that this old post still annoys you is somewhat alarming. Why would you take such a trivial thing so seriously? My aim with that post was to get a discussion going. It did. But it was one year ago! If the discussion would take place today I am sure it would be different.

Oh, and a side note for you –I don’t have larger bones than the average western woman. And if you don’t believe that Swedish women are tall why don’t you head over here and have a look around. Maybe then you can see for yourself what I am talking about.

But again, and please, get this thing right now… I have nothing, absolutely not a single little thing against Chinese men! I find some of them attractive, and some not, just like western men –and more importantly, I think my Chinese male friends are smart, great, fun and wonderful, so stop saying things like “I have a bad time with them” because I definitely don’t.

Finally, if this blog makes you angry or upset or if you simply feel that I don’t have the right to blog I would advice you to make your life a little bit easier –simply by not bothering with reading my posts. Why waste time on something that makes you so unhappy? I guess that’s something you could ask yourself before you start telling me what to do.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Pete In Syracuse, you are wrong. People who attack Jonna are the ones who felt offended and not will not take it lightly. There are lots of MEN in China that are not nearly as "weak" as you think! And I am one of them! You are not Chinese and you can NEVER tell what a Chinese would think.

Some people(Chinese) get offended because western people always make some assumptions that are NOT true. They make those assumptions because they think they know a lot due to the fact that they came from a better country. But that is not the case. That is why you see America gets into soo many troubles. Just dont assume anything!!! Cause you aint know enough, you know what you know and your assumptions are ridiculus! It is like saying why in the USA White women go after black guys is due to the "fact" that black guys have much larger tools than White guys. Is this true? But again this is just my assumpitons. Many, many white men get so offended when they hear this. But then again this is just an assumption! So Peter, be caureful about your words!

Sorry Jonna, I have to point this out.

Anonymous said...

Jonna I am sorry. I did not get upset by you. However, you know that I live in the US and there are lots of sterotypes about Asian men(Chinese/Korean/Japanese). So not just me but all my Asian friends are offended by this. I aggree that I was a little bit sensentive about this. But you have to know that White American men are also very upset about some other sterotypes agains them!

So, yes when I read some of your posts I was sorted offended because I felt that you are "helping" Americans to renforce these bad sterytypes. I am sorry to upset you. I really am. Ok, I do not follow your blog offten, just occationally.

One last thing, I misunderstood some of your ideas. Such as you are having a bad time with Chinese guys. Sorry again.

BTW, my name is Jiang.


Anonymous said...

Going home is always a nice way to recharge the batteries! Since I've come to Japan, I've only gone back once, but it felt great! It also helps you appreciate what you have in the country you live in. I missed a lot of the Japanese foods when I went back home! ;)

Nick said...

Hello, Jonna. My first reaction for comment from Anonymous-2 was to protect you. I’d like to say that he is absolutely wrong. But your answer is complete!

Jonna Wibelius said...

Hi again Jiang. I guess some people are more sensitive than others. If you knew all the things I've been told about Swedish women while I've been living abroad...: sluts, easy to get laid, blonde bimbos and so on... trust me, it doesn't end there. The thing is though, that I never take these sort of comments personal, and I normally just shrug my shoulders when someone make an assumption like that. After all, I am a Swedish woman, and I know what I am like. I cannot stand up and defend all the Swedish women, but I can speak for myself. And when people don't offend me straight to my face, I don't see the point of wasting time and enegry on getting upset with them. Like you said, you are obviously more sensitive than I am, but I still hope that you understand now that I am not writing things in this blog to be mean, or to point my fingers at people.

Stereotypes are stereotypes, it doesn't matter if we like them or not. Blonde women are always going to have that "bimbo" thing written on their forehead, (especially if they chew gums, blow bubbles and appear to be kind of lost and confused in general) and that's just the way it is. A stereotype proven wrong is nothing unusual though, and I guess the people who don't fall victim under what other people "think" of them, are the winners in the situation. That's only my opinion anyways.

Anyways, I am glad that you now realize that I have nothing against Chinese men and that I am happy and grateful for my Chinese male friends.

Kanmuri -yeah, the Asian food.... gaaah, how can it not be missed. Even now when I am enjoying all those great, natural food products in Sweden I still miss my bowl of rice and spicy chicken... :) Haha! Always want what u can't have.

Nick -well we cleared it out! :) Thanks for your concern though!

Chrissy said...

Hello Jonna!
I'm glad you had a great time back home!

Have a safe trip back to China and i can't wait to read more of your wonderful tales in China.

PS: Great to hear that you had a blast in Malaysia as well!

PPS: To all these anons please get a life. People can write whatever they want to on their blogs. I'm half chinese and i get pissed off by some chinese people and certain chinese traditions and cultures as well! I just do not make it a big deal since everyone is entitled to their own opinions/perspectives.

george said...

hei Jonna

just want you know i love reading your blogs, sometimes a funny story of yours can make my day! *hug*

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanna
Excellent blog, I hope those comments against you wont affect what you gonna blog in the future.

I think people who attack you just misunderstood you or they are extremist or racist. I do not think you actually stereotyping Chinese people, they just 断章取义(new phrase to you? or you already know the meaning?) they just read part of your blog and mistaken you that you dont like Chinese n Chinese people. Why dont they say anything about what you write about those loser laowai in Chinese?

I am a Malaysian who did my degree in Australia, and over few years in Australia I did encounter a lots of racism there, but i still think Australian are one of the most friendly people on earth, racist exists in every country.

I remember once when i was in a train station, it was after school hour and there are few schools around that station, so all the platforms were packed with Aussie students and many others, an Aussie guy came and bang my head against my friends head, and keep trying to punch us, and keep yelling at us ask us to get out of Australia. My head hurt like hell and felt very dizzy, i look around for some help, unfortunate no people offer help and some of them even laugh at us. And finally a kindergarden kid come and push that guy away and ask him what has these guys done to you, they have done nothing wrong and why should they leave Australia? I feel sad that time the only people willing to help is a young little kid. Hes indeed my young hero :). In other cases, i was thrown eggs at, and also almost being punch in a pub which those offender said its strictly for white, others not welcome.

Well, all of these experiences do not make me hate Australian, just compare them to other countries, Australia is like heaven. Its better than lots of countries calling themselves multicultural but their government consists of racist leaders and has racist regime( cause they think all those minority entrepreneur become rich cause they cheat and rob from so call "local", arent all citizen suppose to be considered "local"?. Some school of certain language(s) almost come into extinction. When these politician lost badly in election, they pretend they didnt said any of the above and praise those minority in contribution to their country. Fair dimkum mate!

Anonymous said...

Jonna, you are strong. I am strong too but I appear a little bit rude to you. My bad. I never thought blonde women are bimbos. I know those are just Hollywood Bullsh!t. Sorry to hear that you too are getting hurt by sterotypes.
Jonna, I made a mistake when I was reading your posts, I thougth that Chinese men are kinda rude at least in your western standard view. That is why I thought you are having problems with them. Well I am greatful that your Chinese friends are friendly. And indeed they are, they are very friendly for foriengers. But many western men are ABUSING us. They come to my country to do two things: 1. To explore sexsual couriosity about our women. 2. Get an ego boost, so they can feel better about themselves, because they are having such a TERRIABLE time at home. This is very sick and I am sure you know this. That is why when ever I hear you write storys about them, I get very upset. But I just started reading your blog 1 week ago. So there is nothing alarming about me.

Nick, you do not have to defend NO BODY. Cause I am not hurting anyone. BTW, you dont have what it takes to defend anyone, so stop acting tough like some western macho man. I personally have beaten plenty of your guys. OK!


Jonna Wibelius said...

Chrissy -thanks for your kind words! Back in China soon where the adventure can continue (not that much happening over here.. hehe)

George -ah, that's really great to hear! thanks for telling me! I don't think I write the greatest posts while I am in Sweden, but it is always wonderful to hear from someone who enjoys reading my blog! Thanks for that!!

Anonymous -Yeah, I hear you. I think you are spot on when it comes to those "angry people". I simply don't believe that they read my blog every day, because if they did, they would never get the idea that I "hate" China... I too studied and lived in Australia for 3 years! (where were you? I was in Perth/Freo in WA). I loved every little bit of it, but of course I sometimes bumped into Aussies who thought I'd be better of back in Europe... but there are people like that everywhere. What happened to you sounds a bit more serious though, thank lord for that hero kid. Real sorry to hear about those jerks who treated you so badly, but hands up for you for being able to still like a country and not generalize.