From Summer to Winter

Small Washing on Nanjing StreetSmall Sunny day at Nanjing Normal University

Poor kids who have to go to this kinder :)
Poor kids who have to go to this kinder 🙂
Maybe spring is not too far off
Maybe spring is not too far off

Small Men Walking At Nanjing Normal University

Hello there! How are you? Ni hao ma?

I am finally in Nanjing. And you guessed it…it’s cold! I knew that it would be cold, but I guess I didn’t factor in what that means for daily life. The outside world is misty and bleak, all greys and browns and leafless trees. It’s the annual Chinese New Year holiday, so most of the shops are closed and the streets are quiet – not many people, not many cars. Everyone has gone back to their home towns.

I also have a cold. Boo. Have spent the past two days in bed with a hot water bottle and tissues, watching old episodes of Breaking Bad on my laptop.

BUT. That does not mean I’m not excited to be here. I’m in China! And I have gone for a few walks and taken some snaps of our local hood. Once people are back from their holiday and the shops start to open, I think it will be a much more lively place to be.

Plus in one hour, I am getting the train all the way to Kunming in the west – two sleeps on the train. How fun is that? I love trains. I have two good books, my camera, my diary and not much else. Adventure awaits!

A few observations on the first 6 days in Zhongguo

  • The Great Internet Firewall of China really does exist, and it’s pretty annoying (hello government officials who may be reading this – maybe lighten up on the censorship?). Bye bye Facebook, Google, WordPress, Flickr, Instagram and lots of other fun online things.
  • There is kindness everywhere. I was well looked after by my Sydney friend’s family in Shanghai on my first night, and then once I arrived in Nanjing, my friends Chang and Tim collected me from the train station, took me to my apartment, and whisked me off for Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner with their family. The next day, I was invited back for lunch to finish off the leftovers, followed by a walk in the winter sunshine at Xuanwu Lake. Tim’s Mum then gave me about 10kg of apples, saying 苹果平安 ‘Pingguo Pingan’. Ping guo = Apple and Ping an = Safety and Peace. Apparently you give apples to keep someone safe and sound. Isn’t that nice? Needless to say I can’t eat 10kg of apples on my own, so I cooked up about a kilo’s worth and have been enjoying stewed apple at every meal! Only another 9kg to go! Any apple-related recipes would be welcome 🙂


  • When you walk around quiet neighbourhoods taking photos of seemingly unremarkable things, people may think you are a spy. And then you might start feeling like a spy.
  • This year is the Chinese Year of the Sheep, or  yáng. If you were born in this year (1955,1967,1979,1991), you should wear at least one item of red every day, to ward off any evils that may befall you. The Sheep is the most creative sign in the Chinese zodiac, and those born in this year can be artistic, sensitive, shy, practical, family oriented, home loving people. Sheep “may occasionally suffer from “hoof-in-mouth disease” by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time”!

What’s the weather like where you are? Does it affect your mood? What’s your favourite time of year? I never thought mine was summer…but it’s definitely not winter either! Also, do you love or hate long train trips? Or somewhere in between?


2 thoughts on “From Summer to Winter

  1. I know that feeling of gloomy winter weather shock very well….20 odd years ago I lived in a rural area just outside of Rome for six months from late autumn to early spring, and the long nights, and gloomy cold rainy or foggy days dominated everything. I think we get used to having a certain amount of light in our daily lives. To have this taken away can be depressing. Very. A half hour of sunshine becomes something to live for. Or five minutes. In January I would dream of Aussie swimming pools and beaches and the hot hot sun, even though I avoid this when home….but the winter light is subtle and your photos bring out its beauty. And from now on it can only get lighter, and warmer. Enjoy your Chinese spring 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you can empathise, Julianne. To go from skirts, sandals and strolls along the beach to thermal underwear, and dashing from the bedroom to the loo because it’s SO freezing, is a big change! But you’re right, it can only get better. We are spoilt in Australia with our mild weather, never really THAT freezing really. I can imagine your rural winter outside of Rome – very grim! Funny how you can romanticise home when you are away from it, even things that you don’t actually do when you are there…we humans are dissatisfied creatures aren’t we? Thanks goodness for my down jacket that I am wearing 24/7, it’s proving absolutely invaluable!


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