Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What up, what up?

Aloha! Or aasalamu aleikum (السلام عليكم), which might reflect my day a tiny bit better. Just got home from work, a day that contained both go-cart driving, some cooking and lot of loud music. Things are good, I'll give you that. Awfully sorry that I haven't been able to update more about China, but I'll take things at my own pace. No matter how good working is, I am still there. And it takes up a lot of my time nowadays.

So, what have I been up to lately then? Ah, I love how I honestly can answer with "nothing". Nothing at all. It's been a month now, since my last exam. And the days have just withered away. Top four interesting peaks of my last couple of days?
  1. Found a good way to make ice tea, and drank an indecent amount of it. (When this is on top of "exciting things I've done lately", you know for sure that life is moving slooow.)
  2. Watched Chris Medinas' music video, and realized I'm a total wuzz that cries over nothing.
  3. Got to pretend I was a Formel 1-driver when I toyed around on a go-cart at work. (Ah, yes, that's how you pass days at work, when you've got it good.)
  4. Discovered, yet again, how little sugar it takes before I make Pokémon sounds at my boyfriend. In a few days, we're crossing Sweden by car. Gonna be interesting.

Ah, good days, yes?

PS: I've been off academic writing and reading for a month now. Look how intelligent and interesting my posts are becoming.
It's amazing. Next time, I'll paint a wall, film it while it dries, and then post it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Work, work, work.

I've begun working at two new jobs recently. And I'm loving it. One's at a home for old people, and the other's at a centre for young kids/teens coming alone to Norway from various places on this planet, mostly areas of conflict. The jobs are incredibly different, yet a lot of what I do seems the same. I am to be patient and supportive at both places - and I get to drink a lot of coffee. Neat, isn't it?

A lot of young people seem to have a lot of demands for where they find it convenient to work. "Ah, that's boring", "Boo, I don't get enough money there", "Boohoo, they'll make me work at weekends and inconvenient hours." Seriously? You think you'll get your dream job and cash in on the big bucks, just like that? Oh, honey. Honey, honey, honey. My two jobs probably aren't what people would write at the top of their "Jobs I dream of"-list. But I love them. They can both be challenging, they're interesting and I learn new things just about every day. And to me, that qualifies as a good way to spend your summer. (And if I want to spend my money on travelling, I sure as hell need to earn them first. Simple logic.)

Anyone out there working this summer?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Uh-huh, oh yeah, uh-huh

Three weeks ago I went through a gruesome, horrible and stressful exam, and ever since that day I've hated how I chose to solve the damn thing. Well, apparently I've got no clue on how to judge my own performance. Because it went awesome! And all I can do is giggle and dance and jump around.

I'm awfully sorry for being one of those "I'm so awesome, all hail me"-kids. Won't do it again. But now, I'm so happy I'm just gonna daaaance!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

China: pt.3 - Beijing Aquarium

I realize I didn't start my little "how I experienced Beijing/China"-series in the most positive way. That will change though, pinkie swear. It got better after the zoo. A lot better.

After walking until our feet (and my heart - pardon the cliché) hurt in the zoo, we finally found the Beijing Aquarium. It has huge, as things apparently tend to be around there. And, even though we were a tinsy bit scared of what we'd find, (I personally fantasized about whales lying in a puddle in concrete boxes, and fish gently floating on its back in various aquariums), we finally decided to go in. The blistering sun ushered us in as well, I'll admit. And man. What a different world, compared to the outside zoo.

Fishies! And in so many colours! I got my diver's license in Sri Lanka last year, and one of the best parts of it was so just follow small fish around the corals. Just staring at the rainbow of colours found in both the tiny things swimming around me, aswell at the plants and corals, was an awesome way to spend a day. And now, there were fishies everywhere!

I'm not sure I can say, with my hand on my heart, that all the little creature we stumbled upon in the aquarium had the optimal sized area to move in. Freedom would be the optimal size now, wouldn't it? But consider this: while a panda is stuck on the ground, a fish held captive in the same area would also be able to move up and down. To be rational about it: they're using their given area more effectively. I don't support putting everythig we see in cages and boxes. But when I'm presented to all these things that the world has to offer, I'm still baffled by its beauty. And so many things in the aquarium cannot be described in any other way. Simply beautiful. I like aquariums. They let me see a world I don't belong in, a party of colours and shapes I'm not invited to but still get to peek at.

While the tropical fishes and corals were nice and dandy for a good while, what we found next held up captive for an indecent amount of time. There were colours, and shiny lights and aquariums so big I felt like a little kid just staring into the water. "Why", you might ask. "What can be better than little fishies in shiny colours? Hmmm?". Well. They had this:

JELLYFISH! After seeing this video a few months ago, I've been just a tiny bit obsessed with the mindless little lumps of jelly. Because, even though they're probably not so self-conscious about it, they look absolutely stunning. They way they swim, the way they float and the way they seem to just not give a damn about how we struggle with gravity while they magically float around - the little girl inside me wanted to jump up and down, clap her hands and yell "prettyyy!". (Let's not discuss if the older girl on the outside did the same.)

And hold on tight, because there will me more jellyfish up soon. I have too, I've got some many photos of these little jelly monsters that I should be ashamed of myself.

China: pt.2 - Beijing Zoo

One of the first things we went to see in Beijing was the aquarium. And the zoo, since the aquarium is located within the area of the zoo. "A nice and relaxing thing to do for two jetlagged kids from the other side of the planet.", we thought. And the whole thing was.. interesting. Zoos can be many different things: they can be lush gardens where animals can be, well, animals. And they can be concrete boxes that simply hold an animal. Beijing Zoo can be said to be of the last kind.

The park in general was beautiful at times. Small lakes, big and fresh trees - it would've been a nice place to just go for a stroll. The weather was fantastic, allthough so hot we had to drink water continously in order go be able to stand up straight. But, it was a good day. It was.

Before we headed for the aquarium, we had planned to see how the pandas in the zoo were doing. We were in China, there were pandas. "Allright, gotta see it." The road there was long though. As both Beijing and Shanghai proved: if you're going to do anything, you've got to do it big. An ideology that was reflected in the zoo aswell. It was huge! So we walked, and we walked, and came to see a lot of.. well. Various animals in various conditions.

I can, for example mention the "Penguin House" that we agreed to pay a few extra yuan to enter. I guess you can say what we paid for - it was a house. With penguins. That just stood there behind a wall of glass. Some were so still that my Mr.Man was convinced the zoo had a real' good taxidermist, just trying to hide that a few of them had called it the day. (They did shuffle around a few millimetres after that, but that was it. The life of a zoo penguin.)

After that we tried to head a little more straight to the pandas, wanting to see at least what we had planned. It took some time, and on the road we hurried past a lot of different animals in different boxes, cages or fields. We found the pandas in the end though. And, as the main attraction of the Beijing Zoo, I'd read that they'd be treated like royals compared to the remaining inhabitants of the zoo. Royals? Well, I'm not sure I'd say that. But they had a significantly better place to stroll around in than most other creatures we saw. They did seem just as stressed and understimulated as I would, living my life with a whole bunch of people staring me down from the other side of a transparent wall. It is, however, a beautiful animal, and I'd love to see in out in the wild. Free. Sitting in its furry ass, being chill and eating bamboo.

Having found the star of the zoo, we decided that enough was enough. It was time to get out of the place, and find that aquarium that was supposed to be somewhere in that zoo. We grabbed some bottles of water, picked up a somewhat comprehensible map and left the furry bamboo-chewing panda. We left little turles in little glass boxes, and we left tigers in concrete cages. There and and then, we'd had enough zoo. Do I regret going there? No, not at all. Did I feel comfortable there? Again: not at all. But I don't believe in only going places, seeing things that pleases you. To be able to know and express what I like, I think it's equally important to experience the things I don't like. And this day held some of both sides.

I'm awfully sorry for starting my experiences in China like this, I know it seems harsh and brutal and.. well, awful. But as I'm writing this, I'm also looking through my photos from the aquarium, which we finally found. And that, that is a whole different story. Promise!

Monday, June 13, 2011

China: pt.1

I live in Oslo, Norway's by far most populated city. Compared to Beijing, however, it's an empty little dot on the world map. The only place I'd been to that I'd dare compare it to before I went, was Bangkok. "Ah, big Asian city, lots of cars, lots of people." Had to be somewhat similiar. As I got out of the airport, it hit me though: "Oh, oh, oh. This sure ain't Bangkok." So, to put it short. Beijing was nothing like anything I'd been to before. Because never, ever had I been to a place with so much people. Everywhere. (And man, you can say the same thing about Shanghai.)

The people were, mostly at least, a great bunch of friendly faces. Sure, we didn't understand a damn word the other said at times, but with sound effects and frantic waving of hands, communication is easily made possible. In short, I learned to say only two phrases in Mandarin: nǐhǎo (hello) and xièxie (thank you). If you're able to smile and laugh at yourself, those two are at least somewhat sufficient. At least in the process of ordering dinner, or asking for basic help and directions. If you want a taxi however, just give up. We did. And then we tried again. And gave up again. And so it went on. To put it short: we basically lived down in the subway system.

There's a lot of things I'm eager to show you; the places we lived at, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and our visit to the zoo/aquarium. There's Shanghai at night, and there's the resaturants in the alleys of Beijing. There's crammed experiences at the subway, and there's seriously strange visits to the supermarket. But.. Where do I start?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Never content

I should be banned from staying up late at night. Lurking around facebook, blogs - everything. Because it makes me realize that there's so much in life I've yet to do, so much in the world I've yet to see. And it makes me furious! (Says the girl who just came home from China a few days ago. Never content, are we?)
The things is, there more I learn about the world, the more I want to see, the more I want to know. And the more I want to contribute. Scrolling up and down various pages on the web, I read stories about how people go to the most remote parts of this very planet - and how they help others, how they make a difference. And I feel so.. passive. It's annoying, this gnawing feeling. Ah, I don't know. Maybe it's just a bit too late for me to be up. Or maybe I'm just a bit nervous as I'm starting a new job tomorrow. I'm just frustrated. I feel there's so much I could and should do, and yet I just.. don't.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ni hao!

I'm baack. Dead tired, in a cloud of jetlag and with my hand buried in a 1 kg bag of M&Ms from the taxfree shop. Can't say I'm hating it. To put it short: China was great! I'm aware that I've only seen a fraction of it by visiting big urban areas like Beijing and Shanghai, but the little taste I've had really makes me want to explore the rural parts aswell. People were usually really friendly, allthough communication with the locals usually were limitied to frantic gesturing and odd sounds. My non-existent Mandarin was as good as their English, so at least we were on even terms.

At the moment I'm trying to rest up and sort some of the massive amounts of photos I've taken, so lean back and expect some photobombs to hit this blog soon. In the meantime, have a cup of tea or something. I've got my kitchen full of various bags and cans of tea I've got to try myself, in addition to a cute little teapot and some matching cups. It's strange, how I always come home with lots of tea, no matter where I travel. See you soon, now it's teatime!
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