I found myself overwhelmed with nostalgia. The rumble of the crowds of the metro, the mixture of smells from street food stalls and the crazy horns from traffic that pain the ears. Now I’m back in London trying to digest everything that has happened. Too much has happened, but it was nonetheless an amazing experience for me.
Two tutors and 13 students, 10 days. An architecture field trip to better understand China, it’s crazy fast develop mix of cultures and to find a proposal that would hopefully let us pass the year! We spent about a total of 5 days in Shanghai and the rest in Jingdezhen (famous for their ceramics).
I am so glad we had this field trip. Everyone has gotten a lot closer, and I’m glad we’ve broken some awkward barriers too! I love my unit and am grateful God has placed them in my life. There’s 2 other Christians on our trip. Some others who have heard and or have met God before. I’m so glad we have had some talks about faith because it’s one of those ‘sensitive’ topics so it’s great we can share our personal opinions 🙂
One of the things I felt was a shame was that I didn’t meet some of the friends I made the last time I was in Shanghai, but I’ve made new friends! At TianZiFang （田子坊）- the Camden of Shanghai, I met this sweet little boy. I was sketching there and unexpectedly attracted quite a crowd. This boy stayed and started talking to me. I found out his parents owned a shop there and he invited me to have tea. We exchanged emails and he actually contacted me 🙂 Gosh I’m so happy! I’ve even seen his English homework, I’m impressed at the things he’s learning. God bless his life~
A unit mate friend and I are researching similar areas of Shanghai, which is called ‘Lilong’s （里弄）- an urban system of housing. I was really glad that he had this experience because that day really made my friend really happy. We met this old guy and he was so kind as to walk and chat with us for 2 hours, guiding us through these hidden Lilongs that we would have never discovered on our own! Then we also met an old lady who even let us into one of the building homes. The old man waved us off at a station and my friend and I went back to the hostel. My friend couldn’t stop talking about our experience and I’m just glad and thankful to God 😀
This was another water town we visited. It was quite touristified so it was disappointing in that sense. But it was an interesting town to walk through!
The poorer areas of Shanghai. This trip, I saw the other side of Shanghai. The side that still was undeveloped.
Jingdezhen 景德镇 – was amazing. The hostel was amazing. Gosh wow if I had a chance I would definitely stay there again! We saw many ceramics and how they were made. There were lots of laughter and fun card games too haha 😀
When I came back to Shanghai on the last day, I really needed to find a site and establish my brief. I’m hoping to finalize it by this week! Anyway, after my tutor left my site, I did my own phototaking and then met an unexpected new friend! This time it’s a guy not far off my own age (finally… I seem to be befriending people too old or too young haha! not that that’s a problem or anything :P) anyway, he’s working in investment but he wanted to check out the Lilongs, which was unusual. We started talking a lot more and it seemed that he wanted to take architecture too but didn’t end up doing so. It was so weird… the friends that I pick up along life!! Anyway, we ended up exchanging numbers and everything and emails as well.
To be honest, my memories of Shanghai are becoming really weird! It felt so strange because I’ve already made them with a whole different group of people and now just like how culturally and socially mixed Shanghai is, so is everything that I perceive and understand of Shanghai and my memories with people! Since for example, in Hong Kong, that’s my high school friends and parents. In Malaysia it’s my relatives and some Malaysia friends. In London it’s my uni friends. For Shanghai it’s CRCC Asia group and my unit mates! It’s a bizzare feeling, but perhaps it’s just me 🙂