Hej, jag är här nu!

Beijing är ett avslutat kapitel sedan November 2018. Det tog ca 6 månader att landa mentalt i nya existensen där jag inte är längre kände att jag hela tiden var påväg nånstans. I den nya vardagen kunde jag sitta på mitt arsle dag in och dag ut, utan den där känslan av att “snart kommer någon/snart händer något / undra om..??”

Nu fanns det ingen ingen någon som skulle kunna poppa upp när som helst o behöva något slags dokument, intyg, uppvisning av pass, kontrakt eller certifikat. Hotet om att bli vräkt för att vi hyrde illegalt var över.

Det var lite överväldigande faktiskt och fullkomligt absurt, att plötsligt vara fri från yttre stress. Plötsligt så fri. Insåg med tiden hur tight jag hade blivit i kroppen. Man fattar inte alltid hur högt upp i halsen man tryckt sina axlar förrän man andas ut ordentligt. Ibland vaknade jag mitt i natten från mardrömmar där jag upprepade mantrat för mig själv “Bara ett flyg kvar, bara ett flyg kvar”. Stressen av att planera hemflytten hade suttit i så länge, att det tog lång tid att komma ur den. Den satt så fysiskt. I den återkommande mardrömmen återspelades olika varianter av sista dagarna i Beijing. Oron av att behöva flyga 9 timmar med en hund vars ras inte är tillåten flyga mer än 6.5. Oron över att allt jag skickar hem därifrån försvinner. Sorgen att skiljas från våran ayi.

I Sverige fick jag svindel första halvåret av att föreställa mig vara i Beijing igen. Det var så många bollar i luften sista tiden. Mådde illa av tanken att åka tillbaka. Nu börjar jag faktiskt längta dit lite igen. Det var så mycket som kunde gå fel då. Så mycket man bara ville kunna sluta tänka på. Utmattad av hundra olika “tänk om x händer?” scenarier.

I juni flög vi dem två hundarna för att få det största momentet i hemflytten avklarat. Dem var törstiga men fullt i liv när vi kom fram. Huset hade vi, men sov bara två nätter. Kändes mer som en semester i något hyrt än vårat eget. Tre månader senare hade vi löst allt annat och kom efter. Med 15 dagar kvar till min mans 30 års dag sov vi första natten utan måsten på att någonstans. Det var helt otroligt. Huset saknade ovettiga sängar, var konstigt tomt och luktade gammal stuga, men kändes så himla tryggt. Kartonger och påsar med våra ägodelar från Kina och från vårat liv tillsammans innan Kina prydde golvet i ett av rummen. Nu var vi där, i ett hus som är vårt. Ett hus som ingen nånsin kan slänger ut oss ifrån. Ett fantastiskt torpigt sekelskiftes hus i trä. Naturligt ventilerat, snett och underbart. Det är som en rymlig stuga med många skarvar och otippade höjdskillnader. Övervåningen har alldeles för lågt till tag. Men VI VAR ÄNTLIGEN HEMMA!!!

Inga fler väskor eller kartonger att packa. Inga fler lägenhetsbyten eller flygplan. Aldrig nånsin tänker jag sätta mig på ett flygplan igen. Dem dagarna är över. Att gunga in i Svenska rytmen och få in tillräckligt med köttbullar o lingonsås i munnen tog ungefär ett halv år. Men sen var både kropp o själ i ro nog att fullt kunna konceptualisera att vi verkligen var hemma igen. Mardrömmarna och svindeln var över. Nu var vi här, på riktigt.

SOMMAR 2020

Dagens läge är rätt najs faktiskt. Hundarna stormtrivs, men känner sig väl lite utkonkurrerade nu när familjen fått ett tillskott. En liten super söt dotter på 5 månader förgyller vardagen numera. Oj vad hon växer! Och fyfan vad gullig hon är.

Jag håller på att lära mig sy och måla med oljefärg, samtidigt som jag börjar ta produkt och fashion bilder hemma uppe i det tänkta sovrummet med det alldeles för låga taket. Joakim drar fram vad som finns under all kvickrot i trädgården och skapar linjer ute i kaoset. Inomhus bubblar hans viner och fermenteringar. Huset doftar av fläder!!

Det blir bra det här.

Tja!

Zero Waste seminar with Bea Johnson

At my one and only Pop Up Photo Studio I met Carrie, the founder of The Bulk House. This was a Rumble in the Jumble event hosted at Modernista on Bao Chao Hutong. They do it every month so just look it up! Selling original vintage goods, new handmade soaps, jewelry, second hand clothes.. A bunch of great stuff there.

Since she was the girlfriend of Joe the bassist in Disaster Chat, a band I interviewed for an article that I never wrote a few years ago, I paid extra attention to her table. Maybe otherwise I would have just walked by since I was tired and just wanted out for a smoke. But thank god I did not, because this gyal produces stuff that can replace hundreds of single use ones. She is so young but still have full understanding of what Ghandi meant by being the change we wish to see. High five! We can not just tell people what to stop doing without offering any alternatives.

5.5 years ago I bought a bag of 100 thick plastic straws and am still reusing the last 2 that I have left. Year by yhear I used fewer and fewer. Glad to have something to replace them with whence their done. Stainless steel ones from The Bulk House! Wohoo!

I offered to support her by giving her product pictures for free, but she exchanged that for a free coverage of the Zero Waste event she flew in Bea Johnson for. Even better!

Zero Waste seminar 2017, December 21.
At DayDayUp, a coworking space in Soho C, Sanlitun, Beijing.

 

 

 

A few things to know before having your picture taken


Here is candid moment portrait of my friend Kyle, actually taken the first time we ever met. In Beijing the second hand market is basically non existing, because the Chinese in general now wants everything new. Which is completely understandable due to their history. Fashion and shopping is not a new concept to us as it for them, so ofc there is a craze now. Buying someone elses old things is simply not desirable at all, especially since new stuff is so cheap anyway. And it seems people are looking for pretty things, not high quality things. In the west we are more and more growing tired of buying things that we need to replace, but we have been doing it for so long already – here they haven’t quite reached that point yet. So foreigners are arranging SWAP MEETS, and that’s how I met this guy. Melissa of Juice by Melissa hosted one, with cocktails, and this guy was sitting outside with his best buddy Damo drinking. Of all the people there, I felt the two of them were where the party was at. And I was right. Sat down with a drink, and then the three of us left pretty soon together and hung out all day and most of the evening too.

Kyle is very photo genic, not because of how handsome he is, but because of his emotions. Kyle is not to deceive anyone, ever to pretend. It is like self consciousness does not exist within him. In all pictures I have taken of him, his open mind and open heart comes through. He never asks him self what face he should make, or how he should keep his shoulders when I am taking a picture of him, he is just engaging with me. This is what I urge people to do. Breath. Just be. Keep yourself, or make yourself comfortable – and the chill vibe you’re trying to force will come naturally. Allow it to be quite between pictures. Allow the pictures to happen and don’t get intimidated by the the big clunky piece of gear called a camera. Stay within yourself. Close your eyes for two whole minutes and just count second for every in and exhale. Do whatever you need to do, to bring yourself back in as soon as consciousness or silly worry has taken you over. In all pictures you, the successful ones, you need to feel like yourself. There are moments in life, where you are your absolute most truest self. What is that moment for you?

I like keeping my body busy with very manual labor, while focusing my head on something creative so mine is when I am singing while doing house hold chores or painting. That is the absolute best place for me to be at, which is why I enjoy having the house to myself pretty often.

Think about what is yours, and see if it is possible to recreate that for real, or as an idea, for your shoot. Atleast I am the kind of photographer who would do everything I can to recreate that environment for you. If your photographer isnt willing to work with you like that, you can do it in your own head by taking yourself there. Visualize.

Other than that, I have found some people on youtube helping prepare people more systematically for a photoshoot. So, these might help too.

To start

Nathan and I were listening and watching to the group of musicians on the stage. He spotted the bassist and just went “I want to play with her”. And then he did. For him, it is just natural to go after what he finds interest in. He just goes. Grabs it. Which is why he playing everywhere with everyone all the time. We could all use being a bit more like him.

 

This night, was amazing. The gal worrying mostly about what to wear when walking in to 4C every Thursday, wanting to just be around real musicians, my 24 year old me. Would give me a big hug and a high five. Why? Because my outfit has turned to more like a uniform, and I am last night I was art of creating the fun from nothing.

Before ever entering anything anywhere, you gotta know your room. Always nr 1, listen first. Feel the vibe. Literally, feel the vibe. All (new?) situations in life involving other people, are like sitting down at a table where people are already engaged in a conversation. Would you sit down and start telling about your day without having no idea what they are talking about? NO! Unless you’re a dick. You enter quietly. You listen. You teach yourself what is going on, before you start adding to it. Or changing it. This out of no bigger reason than decency. Simple decency.

If sitting down by the table is hella scary, remind yourself, that if you belong just like everyone else. You are not that much worse than anybody else. You might even do a good thing, if you aim at adding rather than changing.

At 4C they were all inspiring, aspiring, writers, musicians, singers. What brought them together, what made those evening possible, was the fact that they were all doers. Bringing my camera made me a doer too. It got me in. And it was well done, because it has made me some money at the end and made a me loads of friends, brought me wonderful experiences and people. However, all I actually and really wanted was to have someone, Tavey, teach me how to not be such a nervous wreck so that I could join the fun. Someone to just come and say “I know you’re hiding something amazing. Something that your shyness is’nt letting you bring out to the world. Something so new, so refreshing and just so amazing that the world needs it. You’re talents are too important to be hidden away, so Im gonna help you. By next year, you’ll be as comfortable on this very stage as you are on your on toilet at home”

Now listen up ya’ll! The world aint werkin like dat.
If you want one thing, do not get comfortable doing another.

Because as soon as you do, that place is where people around you will perceive you comfortable. All of a sudden, that is who you are. I became the photographer, not the girl trying my stuff out at the Open Mic. Then it is a big shift that needs to be made, rather then just slipping into something new while at a new place. Environmental changes are great for these shifts. When I was still new there I should have just gone and do it, but at the same time. No. I was not ready. I loved to just listen. Feel the atmosphere. The energy. I loved falling in love with the place, with everyone. Being around people singing and jamming together became like a drug. It filled my soul and it still does.

I have been singing and writing songs on my own, sometimes with my best friend Matilda, for 7 tears now. 7 years… I dare to say I have found my voice. I dare to say, my songs are good. All that is missing, is a band.

Doesn’t matter what your dream is, if you are doing something completely different because you are scared of what might happen if you give it a shot. At this point, I had basically made a decision that the dream of joining the fun does not get a chance to flourish. Basically, I had killed its pulse by getting comfortable not doing it. By bringing my camera instead of bringing my book of songs I’ve written. It was my job to keep the dream alive, not give it valium. Keep its pulse strong! My other job was to show other people where the pulse is. That there is a certain fire withing me, not in hot flames, but glowing. If people are not aware of those glowing pieces of creativity within you, who in their right mind would try to help you away from where you are already doing? Especially, if that it what you have made your identity? That would be mad. So its up to you, to inform them. Its up to you, to make it happen.

Keeping it alive at home is ofc a way to keep its pulse strong. To maintain the glow. Not even doing that, will cost you a lot. So always at least believe in yourself when you’re alone, if you cant when with others. Now I have reached a point where this glow needs to become fire. I want the flames to go high, so that I can dance naked behind them and still be invisible to people. That is how much fire I have. I cant imagine how my soul will feel when I am jamming with musicians playing to my words. Aaaah euphoria.

What if my 24 year old me would have seen the 28 year old me sitting there yesterday singing with 2 strangers and a the manager of Hot Cat, drumming with my Chinese fan on the table, the Bai Jiu bottle and my lap – not being scared. Just having fun. Just enjoying. Trusting the others to take me seriously, just like I did them. Grateful to be a part of it, not even thinking about wether I belong or not. If I am good enough or not. Realizing today, the morning after, that I didn’t even get the traditional “I have dared to sing when people can hear me stomache ache”, which usually lasts for about 40 very intense minutes. But nothing. Nope. Zero. Nada. Why?… Because I just allowed myself to enjoy. None of it was a performance where result mattered.

That turned out to be the key for the out coming, for the soft opening of sharing my voice in social situations without it being agony or something that needs “powering through”. Taking the pressure off and focusing on why I was doing it, was key. Joy! Doing it for the same reason there as I do at home. Because it makes me happy! Because it comes naturally! Because I love doing it. When I didn’t have anything to bring to our circle beyond the tapping of my fan, I meditated on how happy I was to be there. How beautiful this moment was, and I even dared to close my eyes and just listen. Tap and listen. On my gratitude that I had been invited to play. Invited to this idea “That hey, lets make some music right here, right now”. All I had done to be counted in on that, was admitted that I sing and write on my own. That joy in my heart I got from them giving me room, also made the singing come easily. It came from my heart and I was more than happy to share.

There was this lovely girl from France, Felia, who is a major Erykah Baidu fan and I could’nt believe how lucky I was that she was there. I love people who sing like that. Its so weird, and so amazing. Its so free. So not square. Such an outburst of a feeling one cant explain with words, because human has not come up ith them yet. But with this singing of sounds, you can feel it. The whole thing was magical.

Give room to those silly outbursts of joy, whatever they are.
Joy will make you bigger and bigger, while lighter and lighter. Give Joy room, not Fear.

Follow your joy goddammit.

And be nice to people.

 

INSOMNIUM at Yu Gong Yi Shan

A late brunch at Schiller’s is always a good idea. Especially with your most vulgar buddy who loves drinking, smoking, cursing and trashing people. Through him, I get to release my eccentricity and it’s amazing. When with him we are fabulous in a world not good enough for either of us. A diva duo giving zero fucks escaping into a fairytale where I am not the queen, but where to I always make sure to bring one.

Its like I enter a different mind space when with him. Because I am not an arrogant son of bitch usually, but with him, I am absolutely obnoxious, but not rude. Still to the point I know I’d wish to slap myself if I’d walk by myself. But that’s ok… because I am many things. All of my mind spaces has to respect and give room for the others, no matter how contradictive they are.

We met up at Schillers for late brunch. 2 Qing Dao drafts and a 90 kuai awesome snack plate later, we headed over to ADAM’S. Adam’s is a gaybar run by a guy named Mondo, who has hired Hathor a.k.a Heather to be the hostess. Mondo is a bitch diva for sure, teaching the other ladies Beyonce moves and how to properly put on the whole doll face in make up. ADAM’S, I believe, has been created for his personal use. The club is his playground. Men come and men go, and no night is ever slow! Each event he has planned has full attendance and a hot n’ sweaty dance floor where the the guests and employees are all having a great time. Never have I seen before a bar with staff enjoying themselves they way they do here. On our way through Sanlitun we got photographed by a middle aged man with a lens mostly used by bird watchers out in deep forests. But hey, those are great for bored men with expensive cameras hanging out by shopping malls as well.

I do wonder what they do with those pictures…

3 Pinacoladas later we headed towards my hutong to go see mom. I was supposed to be joining her for a Metal event tonight and I was running late. We got on the bus for a few stations until we realized that SHIT! We wanted a beer and a smoke. So we got off as soon as we spotted one of those Alcohol and Tobacco stores. Then there we sat, drumming on an old empty cardboard box that once used to store beer, with Zhong Nan Hai smokes and Yan Jing Beer in hand. This is when we finally started working on our own version of Androgynous. Such a lovely tune. We gathered a small crowd who were all very discretely listening and filming with their phones, but pretending they weren’t listening.

Eventually we stumbled in at home just in time. We walked her to the venue, walked back home to walk the dogs, then Finn got tired as hell and went home. Shit, I was hella drunk and tired now too but I had stuff to do. So as anybody would do, I had a drunken 20 minute spread eagle nap on my living room floor, before I patted my face with some powder, put on some red lipstick, drew my liner perfectly, combed my hair and took off. Ran back to grab my camera and my fifty. Then I spent 20 minutes drinking my fifth beer of the day on a high chair at the back of the show, trying to figure out wether or not my mom was still. During my sixth beer of the night, I spotted a a small lady in a black hoodie with a big camera on the right side of the stage. It couldn’t be anybody else.

No change actually, at Fu Xue

During my quick visit to the Fu Xue Market this morning, I noticed that the shops are indeed putting their items outside the again.

 

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Did you know that in China, cats lay eggs? :)

 

Kisse katt.

 

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Yellows, reds and a white living peacefully together.

 

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Corn

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This was my favorite shop. To them I had my loyalty and felt guilty if I would ever out of convenience buy from someone else.  The whole front part there was always covered in veggies, and the woman would be cooking inside the doors to the right. Jing Jing was always welcome to sniff whatever she liked. But they have not yet opened after the cops showed up last week. What happened?

 

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The hutongs are being rebuilt everywhere, so these days this is very normal sight. Cute, arent they?

 

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So yes, I am biting my nails again.

 

 

 

 

Clearing up Fu Xue

Shop with umbrellas and goods outside, is packing it in.

Fu Xue Hutong

It was 10 clock in the morning, and I was there to get my dogs breakfast. When I asked the woman in the shop selling me dog food, she smiled with her lunch box in hand and chopsticks in her mouth. Then told me that starting today; they can no longer keep their products outside of the stores. Every single item needs to be inside, because they want this street to be an easy passage rather than a crowded slow market.

In general this is a non-issue issue, but the problem is that the shop owners wont have enough floor space for their assortment now. When stocking up on goods they were counting on space that now isn’t available. The first meter outside the shop was used as part of the store for years and years, not just here, but everywhere in Beijing, in China. That is just how things are done and business run. With this way of doing things, the floor space inside functions as storage when they are closed for the night. So now, when everything needs to move in, they have too much stuff to display neatly. Everything ends up on top of each other. The street is now nice and empty, but the stores are chaotic. For now at least, I’m sure they will figure it.

Headcount on the cops gave me at least 12. They all seemed calm, even happy when basking in the sun. Not all of them needed to be telling people what to do at all times, so I guess the number of them is just a visual key to the shop owners that this is serious business. Most of them was just standing around. Kind of like in Sweden when communal workers are getting anything done. 7 guys will arrive. 1 will be digging, 1 will be in the big machine moving rocks around and the rest will be commentators with cigarettes in hand. So Sweden and China aint all that different.

Got some pictures from there because I visit this market a lot and today was a historical thing, I felt. Kind of like that one time last year when it was covered in snow. This morning I didn’t have my camera when the shops I am familiar with were moving things inside, and when I got back with my camera the cops had moved on to another of the street. I managed to capture the results, not the process. At the other area I didn’t get close because I decided to leave as soon as I heard the policemen poking each other about the foreigner taking pictures. That was que to split.