The world is like a book And those who do not travel read only one page
It is better to see it once Than hear about it a thousand times

You know that school has started for real when you have to give a presentation in front of the class. Uh, hate presenting.. but I had a week to prepare this thing after I volunteered last week to be the first one to present in our East Asian Comparative Politics class. Presentation went well I think, and after the never ending class me and my IPP "crew" went for lunch. Or, actually first we went to find out if the Gym that was supposed to open today had actually followed through, but surprise surprise, nooo.. it's still under construction and I have a feeling that it will remain so for a while. Meanwhile, I'm dying because the school gym is getting more and more crowded as people figure out it does exist. After lunch I came home and tried to resolve the mystery of why my computer keyboard letter "L" types "Γ–" instead.. I knocked it, hit it, smashed it.. but nothing seemed to work. Then I was almost giving up, but I tried the last possible solution to this random IT problem, and rebooted my computer. And now I can type L, yaaay me! So I'm doing some laundry now, already 3pm, gosh where did this day go. Then I really have no idea what else to do. I would love to start working on my Master Thesis but the advisor I have decided on has not gotten back to me yet. Going to school to stalk her tomorrow. Anyways, I might just go to gym instead, or watch TV series. Still haven't finished The Good Wife, but only one season left now. And then I have to figure out what to do with the rest of my life..

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Woke up today thinking that this is going to be an easy day of studying and chilling. But no, should have learned by now that nothing is easy in China. Decided in the morning to go and get the results from my medical exam that had arrived at the student dorm. I got accompanied by Lucie as we had some breakfast on the way and she decided to go to the towers anyway. After an hour walk in the heat (no I'm not complaining, I love that it's still summer here) I got my papers and met my Indian friend from the US (LOL.. Nushiii from now on) and also the Dominican guy (let's just keep on calling him that mohaha). So we went for lunch first where we also met Leo (the french exchange guy from Sweden). After lunch we Didi:ed to the Exit-Entry administration office. We took a VIP didi, can't believe still that this is soo cheap here πŸ˜„
After all the bureaucracy so far it wasn't really a surprise that this thing would also be an endless sending us back and forth thing, and queues with 40 people in front of us. Time passed quick though thanks to company, and on the way back we also decided to check out Walmart. I wanted to get some oatmeal and the others.. they didn't want to get much but ended up with bunch of cleaning stuff and Nushi of course found some random things to add to the list. I also picked up some sushi and had watermelon-peach juice on the way home. Didn't get home until 5pm.. uhh, and I was supposed to work on my presentation the whole day. Well, in the end I didn't really even need that much time. Finally finished, and excuses for the presentation to the ones in my class reading this hehe. Now I'm getting really hungry, so going to finish this off, eat, watch some series and then hopefully Skype with my friends from Sweden. Byebye!

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Free entrance, free drinks and free manicure (!!) that was the promotion of last nights Bar Rouge club. Me and some friends from class decided to go lit (jokes) and have a look at this club in the center of the city. My new roomies also moved in yesterday and one of the girls had a ride with me to the club with Didi (the chinese Uber) so now I know how it works yaay. The club was nice, an indoor-outdoor bar with dance floors, dancers and we got our drinks (no mani though), but most of all we enjoyed the amazing view! This is Shanghai people, a somewhat hidden club on the 7th floor of building facing Pudong, can't get better!

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Get ready for some nice pictures of my "everyday" life in Shanghai!
Started this day with a morning class that made me leave at 8am from my apartment, encountering all the funny morning routines of the locals. As I noticed, most people just grab some street food on their way for breakfast. Well, I decided for a morning walk break at a cafeteria, where I got this random long bread with ham and cheese. Oh and yes, today I brought my heavy camera with me because Lucie was going to speak at the opening ceremony for our department in the afternoon, so I had to take some good pictures. But let's start my Tuesday from the beginning.
This is the view I have while waiting for the elevator every time. See the two tall buildings with blue roofs? That's my University!

On the way to the school:

And this my dear friends is the building where I will have most of my classes, the Wenke (arts) building at Fudan. I had my first class this morning here. By the way, the first two weeks here you can decide which classes you want to take. So after this lecture where they basically told us that we will have a Workshop in Korea (!) I have decided to not take this course hehe. Hoping that my class tomorrow is more promising in workload because I really don't have that many options left.

After the first class I had a 3 hour break until next, so I was just going to the nice two towers to relax and do some research, when I met with my roomie randomly. Out of thousands of students he was just there walking with his friend, so they directed me to the library instead. And after some random research I went for lunch. And I got this thing.. chicken on an ice cream stick:

Then I went back to school for my Chinese class which I will have in the nice tower building yaaay :D Maybe no need to say that I got lost! Good thing I arrived there an hour early hehe.

We finished chinese class early to get to the opening ceremony for our department. That apperantly was all in Chinese... except for Lucie's speech. And I met the Fudan Mascot.. a panda, of course!

The event ended around 5pm so me and some class mates went to the La Bamba (again) where I had quesadillas. I totally forgot about time though and had to hurry to get back home as I was supposed to have a Skype meeting at 2pm (in Swedish time) which is at 8pm here. The meeting was about this reeeeaally fun job opportunity I got. I will be the host of the Gothenburg University's snapchat account for 4 weeks this semester. Yaaaay! Will be so fun to snapchat random followers from Shanghai. Can't wait.

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Here comes a 101 in everything you need to know before deciding to come to China. First of, if you want a nice and easy life, don't come! If you decide to go YOLO as I did, although not knowing what life in Shanghai would entail, then consider these steps:

1. Getting Residence Permit: becoming a resident in this country will neither be easy or a clear process. First I got a student visa that is valid for 30 days upon entry. But to change this into a residence permit there are some very needed documents to obtain:

  • Mandatory Insurance: even though I'm still insured at my home university.. but hey, why not be double insured.
  • A visa introduction letter: for this I needed the insurance.
  • Physical exam: yeah, I already told you about my experience with this. I just need to add that for all of the above, there are queues, hundreds of people waiting to complete the same process...
  • Temporary address: this was the hardest one to get! First I had to find an apartment (through non-English speaking agencies, companies and landlords), but then came the bureaucracy of registering this apartment at the police. Good luck!

2. Learn Chinese: as I have already written in the previous blogs, no one, NO ONE, speaks English here, okey? And when you try to explain to them that Lucie wants milk in her coffee, they will stare understandingly at you and you are just there like "milk? do you know what milk is? MIIIIILK!!". I even showed them a bottle of milk from the desk behind, and guess what.. Lucie got milk in her coffee 😊

3. Get a translator app: (in case you don't speak Chinese). Today I was trying to register my Alipay and Wechat pay. First of, I have to say that China is waaaay ahead of us westerners. We think in Sweden that this InternetID and Swish is sooo modern and high-tech, well... here you have an APP that can do ANYTHING, seriously, anything! You can get food delivery through it, order Didi (the Chinese version of Uber), rent bikes (they have a city-wide system for renting bikes that you can find basically everywhere on the streets and then just leave them when you arrive at your destination), making payments (both as Swish where you send money to friends but also in ALL stores and restaurants), etc etc. I cannot even list all the things you can do, as most of it is in Chinese hehe. So here, a good translator app comes handy. Because, even if the app has an English version, the most important instructions are still in Chinese characters. I had to screenshot every single step of registering and translate it in this Baidu Translate app, and then go back to Alipay to fill the forms.
You will also need the translator app for everyday things, such as getting food. Most restaurants don't have English menus, so through this app you can take a pictures of the Chinese characters and hope for a somewhat good translation into English.

4. Get a Chinese bank account: So after leaving some of the 100 forms for registrations at school today, me and Lucie went to start up a Chinese bank account. I mostly needed it to make this food delivery thing happen. Seriously, you can order what ever food you might need 24/7, and for ridiculously cheap prices and they will just show up at your door. I need this in my life! So, now I have a fancy Chinese bank card as well.

5. Don't question anything: (As Lucie puts it). This is China, where the abnormal is normal. Uhh I don't have a good example now, but seriously, weird things can happen, and they do happen, and it's just normal here! So for instance (referring to the pictures below), yesterday after lunch we went shopping. I have 4 huuuuuge shopping malls about 10 minute walk from my apartment (with huge I mean bigger than the biggest one in Sweden!). On the way we saw a Hello Kitty scooter, yeah why not.. And then just strolling around the mall on the 3rd floor we see this sightseeing train coming, and we are like "how the heeeeell did they get that thing up to the 3rd floor".. and nevertheless, WHY?!
Also, they have non-questionable food. Just look at the ice creams below. Promise to my self: I have to get a Gangnam style Ice cream before leaving Shanghai!

6. Get a Chinese friend: without them (mostly THANK YOOOOU again Candice) I would not have had an apartment, or bike rental, or Wechat pay, or basically I would not have made it.

7. Get a VPN: Have you heard about the Great Chinese FireWall? China blocks every ever useful websites and apps, such as Google, Facebook, Snapchat and so on. Like, everything you would even consider using, it doesn't exist here! So the only option is to get a VPN. I won't go much into it, but just had to say.. internet here sucks!

Having completed all of the above I am now surviving more and more in China. Okey, well, I really have to learn some Chinese for real now, but good thing I have Chinese class tomorrow!

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So I had the physical examination this morning. Woke up at 6.30am to get ready to leave in half an hour. I packed all the needed papers and forms, cash and passport, and gym stuff as I thought I could work out while I was at school anyway. The exam took place at the foreign student dormitories, which is the most northern part of campus. I had my appointment at 8am, and good thing I left at 7 already couse it really took me an hour to walk there. Walking slow as I was hungry but we were not allowed to eat before the check-up. I got there right on time but had to realize that this would take time as there was an endless queue before me. Meanwhile waiting we got some funny surveys basically asking if we have thought of taking our lives since arriving in China, or feeling like everything is hopeless.. I almost answered, "Yes, when I saw this crazy queue". Took an hour before it was my time! First we filled out some more forms about medical conditions and then we went to the hall to take blood. THERE I almost died haha. Seriously, I was sooo close to fainting, I just can't do blood and needles. I can't even watch Grey's Anatomy without looking away. I realized that I have a phobia or something last time I did my eyebrow tattoo and fainted for real. It's a funny feeling though, like everything goes black but then you don't remember what even happened, I just woke up on the floor somehow. I didn't faint all the way now luckily, the nurses were sooo quick and gave me sugared water and made me lie down. Really sweet of them. And it really didn't hurt at all, it's just that I could feel the more blood she took the more dizzy I got haha. So after some rest I continued the examination outdoors in a bus, where they took EKG and I don't even know what they did to me seriously haha. So when I finished it had already been 2 and a half hours there, and I decided for just taking a cab back home, and get an ice cream on the way. Now I'm just gonna rest, hug my teddy bear, watch Friends, maybe some Good Wife and also do laundry. Then maybe maybe still go to the gym later :)

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Have you ever had a yellow people shake?! Welcome to China, where they translate every character literally. So, a yellow people shake is a banana shake haha. Let me give a bit of an update of my past days, and be prepared for a real and honest one now.
I've mostly just chilled and watched series to be honest. But except from that, yesterday me and Lucie went to school to once and for all figure out what courses we shall take here to complete our degrees. We also met up with the other exchange student from Gothenburg and together we went for an event at something called "Nordic Center" here at university. It's basically a center for Nordic students etc, but all are welcome and yesterday they had a get-to-know-each-other thing. Except mingle and sharing experiences we also played a game where you had to run with a cucumber between your legs (no comments). Then I went with a group to a restaurant/bar called La Bamba for food and drinks (the others drank hehe). It was really fun, and they had the best latino music.. so me and another girl actually went up dancing for a few songs. Today I didn't do much either except for gym. I decided to work out at the school gym now until I sign with the new club. I think they still have the same equipment as they purchased when building the school, a 100 years ago. But I had a kind of good work out. Except lots of starring, as I'm not just the only girl working out but also the only non-Asian haha. I mean, it's okey, as long as people let me be, but I haaaate when guys are trying to flirt in a gym.. really?! I mean, do NOT try to make a show and impress anyone when you're squatting like a girl, and my boyfriend lifts like 4 times as much.. (Sorry, had to mention boyfriend haha, he wants to be in my blog sooo much but I told him that I just don't think it's gonna be too interesting reading about how much I miss him in every post. Which I do! A LOOOOOT!!! You see that Nipp?! I Missss you😘). Anyways, now I'm back home from the gym. Picked up some McDonalds take-away. Oh, another funny thing.. the most healthy food I found here so far is McDonalds haha. They have simple chicken and rice and it's also very cheap. I had chicken at some other places, but there's more bone than meat on that. So I'm going to stick with McD I guess. Yep, that's it for now. Have to wake up really early tomorrow to get the physical examination done (for residence permit) πŸ˜₯
Ps. Yeah I'm wearing glasses couse I had the worst luck ever. Got an eye infection just before coming to China so I'm doing the nerdy look here for a while.

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It's not even 3pm yet and I'm already in bed, super exhausted and feeling done for the day. Had to wake up kind of early, half past 7 to get to an info meeting at my department. I walked there with the German girl, my flat mate Lucie. It's about a 20 minute walk to school campus from our apartment, a slow walk. But there could be no fast walk in this heat. We picket up some breakfast and got to school. I got bubble tea (milk tea with tapioca pearls). I love that they have all sorts of milk teas basically on every street here in Shanghai. So we got to school where we got some additional handbooks and papers to be filled. Then they split us into the different groups based on programs. By the way, I'm in a program here called International Public Policy (not that I really had a say in the choice). After the info we had a campus tour, but me and Lucie figured half way that there's just no point of doing this, as we have a bunch of other important issues to figure out. First of, we have the class selections this week as classes start next Monday. Also, our classes in Sweden don't really match the ones here, so we had to go to the international office to ask how to proceed. We mailed our transcripts and hopefully we won't have to do a 2 year Master's programme in 1 year here. Oh, and we also have the Master Thesis to write, which apparently you don't even get credits for here...
My next mission in this city is obviously to find a great gym! I haven't worked out for 2 weeks until everything was settled with the apartment here. Now I found a gym that's going to be really cool and at a perfect location just between my apartment and campus, but it's still under construction for a month. So I had to find somewhere else to work out meanwhile. In Shanghai apparently they don't have fixed prices at gyms, you basically have to negotiate yourself a good deal. Yesterday I tried one of the big chains that have a gym quite close, with price starting at 9000RMB (about more than 900 euros), but then we went down to 3500/year. I still decided not to sign a contract there as I really would prefer this brand new gym. So today we went looking for a campus gym. They do have one yaay! Pretty small but totally empty, so it would work for a couple of weeks. Although, I don't really get the opening hours as everything is in Chinese. So basically what we do is using an app to translate Chinese characters into English, works quite okey but it's so inconvenient having to do so with everything.
For lunch we just went to the first best place, where I asked for chicken and rice and the closest thing they got to that was pork.. really?! Okey, so now I'm back home in bed. Maybe, maybe I'll go to the gym later. But I'm gonna be sooo pissed of if I walk all the way and it's closed :(

Just realized this whole post sounds soo depressing haha. No, really there are a bunch of obstacles here in China, mainly because of the language and weird food.. but other than that, I'm really starting to settle and figure things out :)

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So let me tell you the story about the worst week of my life. Last year I applied for a double degree exchange program giving me the opportunity to study at Fudan University in Shanghai. It was really a last minute call as the application process had actually ended, but in the end was prolonged. I talked about China with the exchange students that were coming from Shanghai to study in my class. They kind of convinced me to apply, even though I had not planned to do so as I had once promised my boyfriend that there would be no more moving after Singapore. But, I went yolo and just sent a short application. A couple of days later I received the notice that I had been chosen for the program. I had mixed feelings about it, but there was no going back. And I knew and still know that this is a great once in a life time opportunity that I just couldn't miss. Anyway, time passed and I really just ignored what was about to happen haha. Until the day came and I had to say goodbye to my boyfriend, which was one of the hardest things to do! I knew that he would come visit and that I will be going back to Sweden as well, but still, living a year on the other side of the planet is not easy. We had a fun last evening with his cousin, who promised to make a great video of when I come back and the meeting with boyfriend at the airport. You know, the kind when soldiers get back to their wifes after duty HAHA. We'll see how that goes.
So, I came to Shanghai with my mom. The first days we just spent living at a great hotel and exploring the city, but then came reality. We didn't get any campus accommodations so I had to go looking for a place to live. Thanks to my Chinese friend I accidentally found a great room in a newly renovated apartment. It was just luck that we went into this specific agency really haha. But then came all the problems. I won't go much into it as I try to keep this a positive and inspirational blog.. but, there was a week full of difficult processes to find all the needed documents to be able to register the address and hence get residence permit. A week of screaming, crying, dealing with only Chinese speaking people, lots of middlemen, harsh police, no gym for 2 weeks, missing luggage and lots of bad luck. Anyway, now, thanks to my friend and my mom who had to withstand everything as well, I have officially moved to Shanghai!
Yesterday me and the other exchange student from Germany managed to register for a bunch of school stuff as well. And now I have this lovely apartment, really close to school, great view and close to lots of shopping malls. I actually live on the 29th floor out of 28 haha. So, from now on I hope to get more time, and be in a better mood to blog about life in Shanghai :D

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The area of Qibao shows what Shanghai is all about, the harsh contrasts between old/poor and the modernity, all really randomly mixed up. Today me and mom started to walk towards the old town of Qiabao, which was approximately a 20 minute walk from our hotel. This all area is actually in the outskirts of Shanghai, further representing how huge this place is. (Continue reading under the pictures )

This is the street we walked to get to the center of Qibao. Even in the outskirts they have random hidden (huge) malls everywhere, and lots of food and shopping on the streets.

This is what the entrance to the old city looks like.

The famous bridge in the old town.

The street market where you can get everything! All kinds of weird food haha.

We walked along this street to get to the temple.

The famous temple. My mom insisted on walking up the stairs. I did one floor, where we found this (on the right), and then it got too hot.

So this is the mall, just about 10 minutes walk from the pictures of the old town above. This mall was just one of many in the area, but bigger than the biggest one in Gothenburg haha.
See the contrasts by the way?

And we finally found some non-Chinese food.. Thai food yaay! :D

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