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

I didn’t want to come to China. I really REALLY did NOT want to come. My closest people know that, or many could assume by the fact that I always pushed aside the topic of Shanghai. It was one of the hardest choices I’ve made, to actually follow through and come. Mostly, or almost entirely, because of my boyfriend. It might be hard to understand for some, but when you find that person who you love the most, who is your second half, there is no way you would want to spend even a single day without that person. So a year felt like a nightmare. Nonetheless to say that my first week in China was possibly the worst week of my life. I just wanted to go back home, to security, to family and to my life that I left behind. But time passed, accelerated even, and now, almost 2 months later I have come to peace with the fact that I am in China, and I will have to stay here for quite a while still. And you know what? I don’t even mind anymore. Lately this weird place on earth has started to feel like a home, at least temporarily. I’m getting used to this life more and more:
  • I can have conversations in Chinese (+ sign language). With my very limited vocabulary I had a Chinese guy explaining to me how to use a printer (!) today. It worked!
  • I’m becoming used to rudeness, I really don’t even mind it anymore..
  • I have gotten accustomed to (once again after Singapore) that things take time here, and it’s okey because everything works in the end, just slower than I’m used to.
  • And I’ve even become cashless.. because the best thing here is that the only tool you need for doing EVERYTHING is your phone.
  • I can bike on whatever bike you give me, no breaks, missing a handle, broken pedal.. no problem!
  • Oh, and I also started some martial art class haha, can you believe?!

So yes, I’m okey with China, I would even be okey with not going home for the winter break. I’m not scared to get stuck here anymore. Don’t misunderstand me though, I still want to go back to Sweden ASAP haha (or kidnap boyfriend when he gets here and don't let him leave).

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Last week I had the great honor of managing the Gothenburg University's Snapchat account for the whole week. The purpose was to show fellow students and upcoming GU students what a week in Shanghai as an exchange student looks like. I was free to post how I wanted, with my own personal touch. I managed to save some of the picture snaps, so here you go... a week in Shanghai in pictures. Also please note that the week started with summer and ended with winter jackets.

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There are just so many things when you go like "ONLY IN CHINA"! I'm going to tell you the story about three such recent events that I've been through here.. just this week, and now looking back at them, I can genuinely laugh about it.. very soon.

  • Gym Card Bargaining: yesterday evening me and Lucie was going to the gym that was supposed to be opening now to sign for membership. Luckily two of our roomies who can speak Chinese joined and we soon realized that the gym would not be open for a while. It quickly escalated from "We will open in a week" to "If not, then in November" and ended up in "Latest December 1st we are open or you get your money back". At least with the help in Chinese we could bargain down the price to a decent fee, after an hour of me and Lucie listening and looking serious while not understanding a word of what was going on. Then we needed to sign the contract which is a story on its own as Lucie discovered that the dates are wrong and now they have to print 4 new papers, which of course in China takes over an hour to do. At least we had dinner meanwhile upstairs in the mall, and then returning back to the gym we see that the gym equipment just arrived, 10pm.. yup, only in China! So, apparently it takes 3 hours to get a gym membership here.
  • My Toilet: well, they told us the first days in the apartment not to flush toilet paper, but through it in the trash. I went like "uh what's the worst that could happen?!" and just continued with some status quo feeling. It was fine for a month, then I run out of toilet paper and was at this huge grocery store with Lucie looking for a new package. I told her that I was looking for some that looks dissolving enough. Well.. only 2 days later I ended up with a blocked toilet. I desperately ran to the Korean roomie and went like "Peteeeer SOS heeeeeelp". So in the evening we went looking for the maintenance people at the building next door. Yup, one of the most embarrassing experiences so far - all these Chinese people coming to assist the stupid blondie not following instructions and who can't understand a word of what is happening (nonetheless to say that this was Sunday evening around 9pm). Forward to next day and a random guy comes with a driller and fixes my toilet in 2 minutes. Xiexie old man. Yess, lesson learned.. this is China - don't flush paper.
  • Food Poisoning?: this happens in a lot of places, although I just love how this story evolved a couple of days ago. After a tough workout in the beginning of this week, and some sushi, I was home dying of exhaustion. Then Lucie mentioned also that she was feeling a bit weird, not just post-workout weird, but sick weird. I kind of also felt weird but just ignored it until next day when somehow the topic came up in Chinese class and we realized that we might have had some light food poisoning as the other who had sushi also got sick.. fun.

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After some statistics yesterday me and friends from class decided to spend the evening at some rooftop bar in the city, with the aim of chilling at a place with the best view. We ended up at Hyatt's Vue Bar after a walk down the Bund from our first bar of choice. After some drinks, chill and the posh life, the night ended with us eating street food, literally on the street outside my apartment 👌🏼

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The last days of holiday and no school and the lovely rooftop balcony has given me place and time to contemplate over life and myself, as usual. I accidentally stumbled into a facebook post about personality types, which got me to remember the Myers-Briggs personality test that I also did back when I was in High School once. I was a bit more careless back when I was 18, and until now I thought I was a totally different person, but I guess our natural instincts and persona don't really change that much as we grow up so surprisingly enough I ended up with the same letters, INFJ, and I even took two different types of tests now. Starting to read about that personality type has been life changing this time, don't really want to get too deep into that here as I don't believe anyone will get it anyway. But, it has been shocking to realize some aspects of me, as it was though someone was reading my inner thoughts and understanding me in a way I have struggled with myself. Nonetheless to say that only a handful of people actually know me at all, if even that, and also just to some limited extend, as I don't even understand myself and apparently never will. As I also get now, I am inherently a contradictory person, so for me there will always be an inner fight for self determination. For instance I am a person with the need of clear plans and structure in all aspects of life, at the same time as I can take life changing decisions in 5 minutes, such as getting a tattoo or moving here to China. It was also quite revealing to see that my personality is what has taken me here, as one of the life paths naturally attracting INFJs lies in social sciences, with an idealistic notion of saving the world and helping people. Funny that I have just decided to write my thesis on development aid.. Anyways, it has given me an inner calm realizing that I am not weird, and that thinking like this is normal, there are other people out there who get what I'm going through in life. I have always been very self aware and self reflecting, but there were these things I couldn't understand about my self before that now make so much more sense.
To conclude this very confusing post: My tip is, although I know not all people have this need to understand themselves and the world around them, but have a look at what your personality is, and it might give you some insight into how to improve yourself as a person and how to work on your weaknesses.

https://www.16personalities.com/personality-types

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Today is one of the biggest holiday days in China so we were wondering, so what's there to do this special day in one of the greatest cities of China. Weeeell.. not much as it turns out. Had a normal morning waking up at 10, having some breakfast and then studying for a bit. In the afternoon I got some company to the gym by Lucie and another girl from my class, Catalina. As it also turns out, even though it's holiday, the gym was open. And we figured "ohh, so this is what people do on mid-autumn day": After gym we went for some sushi and then I got home to shower, relax for a while and talk with boyfriend. In the evening I decided to meet up with Catalina again and go for some shopping and mall tour at Wujiaochang. We ended up walking around the mall discovering a bunch of weird things, such as flower cakes and a women teaching a little girl how to frost cakes. Then we went grocery shopping at the fancy supermarket. Although it's a bit more expensive than everywhere else I found out that chicken filet is super cheap (compared to Sweden) and I even found some potatoes. Can you believe that? Potatoes in china DO exist! I also got a super cute panda water bottle. So yeah, I guess this is what people do on this festival day..

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Just came how from a nice evening with classmates (and some others). We finally did our first quest on our holiday bucket list, which was Indian Food. I went to school to study around lunch time, right after I got up hehe. The library I was going to is closed as it is holiday week, so I just decided to go to the big towers and find some quiet spot. I think I took some other persons place, but whatever. Had to do some research on the topic for my graduation thesis. I felt done after about 2 hours, but then it started to rain and I was trapped in school. So I had to continue to study until the rain stopped pouring down like crazy. In-between rains I bicycled to the dorms to meet up with my friends, and then we didi:ed to a place in Downtown that is amazing. Don't really know what and where it is haha but it was a pretty cool place with tiny pedestrian streets and small markets. There we went to the Indian restaurant and finally had some really good food! Afterwards we strolled down the streets and then headed back home - to the dorms, from where I biked home 3km. And now I'm writing this blog and video WeChatting with my boyfriend who told me to write about him 😁

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I swear I was going to study all day, that really was my honest plan for this Sunday. Then I looked out the window this morning after having had breakfast and watched a movie (The Lake House, aww). The sun was shining, so I went out to the balcony to check if it really was good weather, as it had been kind of turning into fall the last days. But wow, it is crazy hot outside today. So I crabbed my computer, according to plans and was about to start reading up on some research methods, but then I think it got too hot for my computer to handle being outside. So plans changed, I had to enjoy the summer as long as it lasts. Our balcony in the apartment is just amazing, with the view over the city. I actually went through the Chinese class notes, HAH! But yeah, it ended up with me just chilling and listening to music for a couple of hours. Then my roomie Peter Pan came and hung his clothes outside, and randomly offered to cook me and Lucie some dinner. I have to tell you about this Korean guy:
So yesterday I was going to a house party at my friend's boyfriend's place. I told Peter Pan about this thing when he came home after 9 hours of class (on a Saturday). He agreed to join for a bit, as he had a marathon to run this morning at 7am. We went, and the party was crazy. We had soo much fun. Actually it was me and my friends who kept the party going haha, the only ones dancing around the tiny loudspeaker. But after 1am we realized that it was time to head home. Although we grabbed some food on the way. Love that restaurants are open 24/7 here!
Anyway, so this morning Peter run the marathon, then he comes home and does laundry, then he cooks for us and just now he left for a cooking competition.. wtf?!

Okey, so I came in at 3pm as the sun no longer hit our balcony. But then I just had to clean my whole room. And now I'm waiting for laundry to finish, and theeeen I will study! Btw, I'm still a bit sick so I have the right to post-pone 😝

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Today was.. a different day. Had to go to school this morning to pic up my student book and then also talk to my "maybe supervisor" for the master thesis. Then Lucie decided that this day is her holiday, so I had to go with her on a shopping spree in Downtown. I actually also very much needed some shopping as I didn't really bring any nice clothes with me. I don't even know how I was thinking when packing to move for a year.. that I would never go out and wear a nice dress?! We went to East Nanjing road with metro, and didn't really get that far from that metro station as they had both H&M and Forever21 right next to it. I found a nice sweater in H&M and 3 dresses in 21. Success! Now I HAVE to go and and party yaay. I realized that I kind of was in a velvet mood as all three of the dresses are velvet haha, but really nice, as I have never worn anything like that before. And Lucie discovered loose trousers! Loved our shopping trip.. until we both starved and went to the closest restaurant we could find = McDonalds. Then back home I rested a bit and then we went for dinner at a nearby nice restaurant. Somehow we usually pic the same food out of a hundred choices, beef and onion dumplings this time. And now I'm back, writing this post, altering between My phone and computer (depending on which gets better internet connection) and waiting for My facial mask to dry. By the way, it actually is a BIG holiday week coming up now, as the Chinese celebrate both their national day AND mid-autumn festival next week, but most importantly NO SCHOOL ALL WEEK!

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Got the funniest news this morning from my friend in Africa, which kind of set the mood for the rest of the day. I feel really bad that I cannot write about it here, but the important thing is: it made me happy and kind of careless about all my current problems.

I had asked my friends who had class this morning in the same room as where I left the charger yesterday to look for it. And even though I got the news that it's not there, I somehow just didn't even care. I think there might be a limit to how much sh*t you can get from life in a certain period of time, and when you pass that limit, there is just nothing that can make you feel bad anymore. At around 10am I decided to head to school 3 hours before my class would start, to just run some errands, look for the charger and do something else than lying in bed. I biked all the way, enjoying the weather, the wind and life. I started with going to the International Office to ask about the charger. They were really nice and forwarded me to the lost & found room, although the guy that was supposed to sit there were on some mail errand or something as I understood. So I went to the bank to set up online banking to my account. It all went so smoothly and they were really helpful even helping me sign up to the bank app (that is in Chinese). So now I actually have a working bank account where I can see my balance and stuff. As usual, they made me sign a bunch of papers, all in Chinese without explaining what I actually sign haha. I might just have signed my death row records. Just kidding, no, it is such a professional and nice bank really. After that I went back to my school building to try my luck at the lost & found again. The door was still closed, so I kind of gave up and were headed to get lunch. Almost into the elevator I saw a guy walking past me with a bunch of keys. I figured he looked like a janitor guy, so I stalked him back to the room. And guess what, I had tracked down the right person. He didn't speak English, but I was already prepared for that fact and had my translation of "I lost my charger" on the phone. He totally got it and right away led me to my missing charger. Such a success! Then I went for lunch at my new favorite sushi place, where they really have all kinds of fancy sushi at the best price ever.

After sushi and bubble tea I went back to school for my Quantitative Research Methods class, which totally got me questioning my IQ for an hour. After class I asked friends if they got it, but yeah no, I'm not the only one who's lost at least hehe. After the mental challenge we went and challenged ourselves physically as well at the gym. And now I'm done for the day, both brain and body dead after the deadlifts. Well, it's already 19.30 now as it took me an hour to make VPN work and log into the blog portal. Somehow I didn't even lose my temper this time but just put on some music and let internet take its time. Can't believe how relaxed I am today haha, something's wrong.. or I'm just finally getting accustomed to China.

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