I realize that if you’ve only been reading this blog you may think I’m still in Vietnam. I’m not. In reality I’ve been back in Shanghai for exactly a month and apparently blogging and everyday life is not a match made in heaven for me. But since I came back I have realized I really cherish the everyday life I’ve got here.
I started off the new semester with friends and a splendid Indian buffet dinner at Rangoli in Tianzifang. It’s good to know where to go to get that crave for Indian food satisfied. Courses started of right away this time, as opposed to last fall when I spent a month attending only some odd evening classes, and it was great to see some of school mates again. I had missed some of them more than I had expected and it’s becoming clear to me that leaving Shanghai after this year will not only be about going back to my friends at…home, but also leaving many new friends behind. At the very least I will have many reasons for coming back. :)
There’s also lots of new people in city this semester. My old classmates from University of Gothenburg have arrived for exchange at Fudan University and thus I’ve had the great pleasure of catching up with some friends I haven’t hang out with since last may. It’s really exciting to have some people to reflect with on the language and learning process, as we all have the same base for our mandarin skills. I introduced one of them to the Tongji rock climbing gym, where I aim to be hanging out two nights a week this semester, and have gone to a salsa night on town with another. Got to’ love it when you can get inspired by your friends’ hobbies. There’s also a group of new exchange students at D&I, most of them from Germany. It will be really hard for them to fill the shoes of the friends who left in January, but it’s fun to have some new faces from Europe to get to know. No shortage of social possibilities for sure.
Activity in general is another theme for the spring. I spent some hours getting my cheap bike up to shape (it had rusted quite badly in the first autumn rains), and now I’m riding in style all around the city. With an 8 km commute to school I can keep up my cardio while racing the electric scooters. Biking also gives me such an amazing feeling of freedom, only having to count on my leg power and trust the bike I maintain myself to get to anywhere in the city center. Surprisingly, most interesting places in Shanghai are situated in an area within a 10 km radius of our apartment.
The Tongji rock climbing club is where I put my hopes of getting some muscles again. After a fall without any workout, I’ve never felt as weak as I did in the beginning of March. I have some history with rock climbing, but never managed to make it into a habit. After these first three weeks I already have several friends I know will be at the rock climbing gym, so I have lots of motivation for going there. Tongji has all kinds of student clubs, for sports like ping pong, tennis, badminton, cycling and much more as well as interests such as photography, writing, care of stray animals… you name it. I pay an outrageous 50 RMB for one semesters admittance (going to a rock climbing gym in the city is 50RMB for one time). The Chinese students are often extremely helpful in getting you started, and even though they say their English proficiency is lacking they usually communicate just fine. So if you’re coming to Tongji, make sure to check out the clubs!
I enjoy this city more every day. The first semester brought a lot of challenges, with language, customs, food, bureaucracy and lack of information. But now that I’m used to most of this I have time and energy to find favorite places and find exciting things to do with new friends. I know I’m going to try my best to make the most out of the months I have left.