This year, Beijing decided to skip a season and jump straight from winter to summer (well, summer according to Swedish standards at least).
As I start work on Wednesday, I have found myself with time and weather to take strolls through the renowned Tsinghua campus (the current president’s alma mater), just a few hundred metres from my apartment. The campus is massive and it is a display of obvious resources and status: the buildings are imposing to say the least, the campus has its own theatre-arena where Turandot will be performed soon, and the athletic facilities look like a stadium. I was there after classes had finished and there was admirable activity around the stadium where people were practising their spear-throwing, volleyball, basketball and whichever other sport there is. Facilities like those, centered around one single campus, simply give you that unified school/varsity-spirit you wouldn’t see at a Swedish univeristy. I saw a number of western-looking girls practising martial arts with Asian leaders. It all looked like a showpiece of not only Chinese academics, but of China as a rising nation, with people from all over the world to benefit from education and culture here.
Took a turn and had to dodge the slickest-looking Porsche carrera humming down the lane. Inside was a successful and proud father of two girls. My heart got a couple of degrees warmer (the pride and satisfaction for Chinese parents to have children at a good university is hard to describe: it means the world).
Took another turn and I saw something which you don’t come by very often in Beijing: alleys of birch trees and blooming magnolias. Looking at the magnolias, it took me back to sensing Valborg in Lund in the air and listening to the student choir on the steps of the University building on the first of May in Lundagård. I almost felt as if I was home.
The weather remained yesterday as well, which prompted Marco, Tom, Emily and I to go to the Olympic Village for a day of outdoors frivolity (with/without Chinese little side-kick!)