The village life started early. At 5 A.M. We would wake up either by the rooster’s call, the nuns praying, or the children shouting to the count of four – YI, ER, SAN, SI! The strict regime the children had to follow everyday was both admirable and scary. Although our training might be incomparable to what the Chinese kids went through everyday, it was quite hard nevertheless. Monday to Friday, 7 hours a day we were running up and down the mountain, kicking and stretching and learning new moves. All of this under constant encouragement from Shifu: "Faster!" "Lower!" "Many Qi!"
Home. What is home? Where is home? I’ve heard: “home is not a place, it’s a feeling”. Also: “home is where you can look ugly and enjoy it”. We all have different interpretations of the word home. For some, home is where it all began, where they were born. For others, it’s where they finally settled down. For E.T, it was only a phone call away, and for me, a plane ride.
In the summer of 2015, I experienced what I then called a “major slap in the face”; a certain setback that left me heartbroken, single and homeless. I felt I had lost everything: a great love, a house to live in, and a promising future. But the only thing I really lost, was the feeling of safety and security.
For the last few years, I had been feeling an increasing pull towards the Buddhist way of living, so I felt truly blessed to be in a spiritual centre of this source of wisdom. Every day of my journey, I had learned something new about myself. And at that moment, when I was looking at this amazing piece of culture, I knew that I wanted to dive even deeper into my self-consciousness.
At 4:30 AM, the plane landed in Xi’an. I took a taxi to the railway station, and from there, I was walking around like a zombie, trying to find a cheap hotel to crash. Alas my white skin prevented me finding somewhere I could spent the night (hotels didn’t have licence to guest foreigners), so I went back to the railway station, paid to leave my bag there and walked across the street to the closest place I could buy coffee, which happened to be a McDonald’s restaurant. So there I was, dead tired, high on caffeine and blogging my ass of to not fall asleep at the table.
Up up up the road went, first by bus, then on foot. A climb up the terraces and through the villages. The cable car would have taken me to the top, but I decided to walk. The road led me through several beautiful villages where the local people were living by building their own houses and growing their own food. The men were out working on the fields, the ladies fed the chickens, watched over the house and children and sold water and homemade many-coloured carpets to tourists. They were all wearing the same costume, a beautiful dress in pink and black.
For those saying that Chinese people are cold and unfriendly, go to China and experience a population which are both kind and peaceful. Maybe I was lucky, maybe I just met the right souls, but to travel around China, was easy because of their hospitality and warm hearts. After three days, I had made some new friends. They were either curious about foreigners and approached me to get to know me better or they just wanted to practice their English. Either way, I got a lot of help.
Half the Chinese population must have photographed me by now. To blend in with the crowd was really not an option, so I just had to deal with the fact that I felt like monkey in a zoo. I sat down beside one of the temples to fix my camera, and at once, there were people standing in line to take a picture with me. Either a selfie or a group photo, or even placing their kid in my lap to take a picture of that. Most kids just sat there and looked at me like I was an alien.
Ever since I first saw Disney's Mulan as a 12 year old, I wanted to visit the Great Wall of China. The day my wish would come true, had finally arrived. Located 70 km northeast of central Beijing is one of the best-preserved parts of the wall called Mutianyu. I had paid for the bus ride back and forth, lunch, entrance ticket to the Wall, and an "English-speaking" guide...
Physically I'm a 28-year-old Norwegian girl currently with blue hair travelling in China. In 2015, I graduated from Griffith College in Dublin and I ended up with a bachelor in photography, YAY! So now, I'm trying to make it in this big world as a photographer. It's not easy, but I'm just gonna keep up the good work and some beautiful day, birds are gonna sing, the leprechauns are gonna give me a kettle full of gold I'm gonna be a super-duper-famous photographer... wait and see.
Mentally I'm trying to fill my life with as much love and wonder as possible. Lately I've been working a lot with my self, and I've opened up so much, and really started to be... just me. Not trying to be anybody else or pretend to be someone I'm not. I'm me and I'm unique (as we all are!).