There. THE FAR EAST.
As I am writing this, I am in the powerhouse city of Shanghai where you could probably do and accomplish anything you’d like, except access your Facebook or WordPress- account. The uselessness of Chinese internet continues yet to astound me.
The week in Taiwan delivered me to a religious extent. We went from gross, cold, grey and sluggish Scania to pulse, warmth, opportunity and ease in Taipei. Within two hours of landing, the city gave me night markets, electric Kpop and street food (Marco wasn’t quite so enthused by the Kpop). The rain was tepid, the way it is in South – Asian spring and summer. We lived in the coolest, all- leopard loft of a hostel, which basically meant that we had an apartment in central Taipei to ourselves for the first days, because of low- season. We bonded with the Japanese, Chinese, Hong Kong-nese and Malaysian who later came to our room, and I felt as if I was in a frikkin Lonely Planet commercial when ‘good morning’ was spoken in 3 different languages in our little shack of international love. However, then came the other ridiculously good- looking, but rogue, Hong Kong model pack and made havoc in the other room of the loft as they turned it into a 24 h trash- club. Oh well.
I loved Taipei. There was the warmth and bustle of the Chinese culture + free, fast, uncensored internet and freedom of speech and thought. Now how about that! The day of the 8th of March 2014 will be noted as a highlight of Erik Kvist’s life: within 24 hours, I SAW TAEYANG, G-DRAGON AND SEUNGRI at the DOPEST concert I have witnessed, and got offered a pretty sweet deal to come back to my old job at the embassy after graduation! Yiihaaw! My first job after graduation will be in a diplomatic body, in a booming metropolis that I love. Whassup, whassup, whassup. The relief of knowing what happens after this era of academics is incredibly gratifying.
The week in Taipei entailed meeting up with Max whom Marco and I got to know in Beijing and who now works for the German delegation in Taipei 101. Awesome! Marco’s reencounter with baijiu at Max’s apartment is also something which will go down in the records. Wulai was very picturesque and was full of free, wild and almost jungle- like nature: a kind of nature which I have never seen in the mainland. The hotsprings were amazing.
In the airport on our way to Kinmen, I thought that it’s a pretty darn privileged life. It’s a pretty darn privileged life. Freedom. Youth. Opportunity. The world.
When the cab driver took us to the Bund where we saw the skyline of Pudong, both Marco and I got goose bumps. It was both of our third time there, and the city smelled of memories from our remarkable year in this country, which could not have been richer. The feeling inevitably came with a sense of contrast: we are bored in our respective countries. It’s been great, Sweden was definitely the right choice for me when I moved back from Scotland, I had awesome years in my bachelor’s and I’m sure it will be the right place again in a little while, but right now, it’s too conformed, too expensive and… old.