Coming back from Shanghai three weeks ago, I was surprised at the feeling of relief when we got off the train at Hangzhou East Station. My thought at that moment was ‘wow, it’s nice to be home’.
About an hour later when I got back to my room at College the enormity of this thought really became apparent – Hangzhou is really starting to feel like home. Our tiny 2×5 metre rooms have now become the centre of our world, home to girls’ nights in and girls’ nights out, tea time, movie nights, witness to our last minute exam panic attacks and frantic writing an hour before our UTS assignments are due…
We’re no longer surprised when it rains an hour after being sunny and warm. Every time the sun peeks out from behind the clouds (or smog) we race downstairs to lay around on the steps outside of College, soaking up the limited rays (seriously though can we get more than 3 days of sunshine in a row?).
After nearly three months living at the International College we’ve fallen into patterns and routines – breakfast with this group, class all morning, lunch with another group, afternoons hanging out on the steps outside college, evenings playing Mafia and Uno on the second floor common area, staying up much later than we should when we have 8am starts. Friday nights have become our going out night, Saturday nights are often spent in just hanging out and chatting. In an unrelated story, last Saturday security got so annoyed at us sitting outside that they locked us out of the building until 6am.
Now the idea of going back to our old lives in Sydney seems strange. I can’t imagine not always having this group of people around to hang out with whenever I want. The concept of sitting at home doing nothing seems strange to me now – how did I ever fill whole weekends back home?
Anyway, I guess this is just a snapshot of our lives in Hangzhou now. We’ve got about another six weeks until semester ends and a lot of our friends are leaving, so we’re taking the opportunity to hang out with everyone as much as we can while they’re all still here. Then most of us are spending the summer travelling before coming back for our second semester (but that’s a whole separate blog post).