14 July 2014 // Serena Asselman //Rotterdam
June 4, 2014 Today it’s Monday and a national holiday in China, dragon boat festival. There is not much happening today in Shanghai, shops are closed and the streets are empty. Good reason to write down some thoughts. I am sitting at a coffee place near my house and it actually smells like Europe; coffee and pasta. People, who have never been to Shanghai, often ask me if I ever get tired of eating rice. After that comment I always try to explain that Shanghai is the New York of the East but with an amazing cultural touch, with a great mix of ancient and modern architecture, with locals eating their food on the street and dive bars but also very fancy rooftop restaurants and five star hotels. Yes, Shanghai has best of both worlds. You won’t understand until you visit. I live in a studio with a view that I love; nothing special just a few buildings but I enjoy every moment of it. There is so much energy in this city, it moves faster than the light. Seriously, with a population of more than 24 million it still feels like living in a town. Since 3 years I’ve been living in Shanghai, China. Physicists believe nothing can go faster than light speed, I believe Shanghai does. Shanghai is a global financial center and a transport hub with the world’s busiest container port. It is a tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as The Bund, Yu Gardens as well as the extensive skyline and major museums. It is the diversity of the city that I enjoy the most. I have a strong personal passion for art and design; I would say I’m one of those people whose work is their hobby. This surely makes me a lucky person. I work with artist Ronald A. Westerhuis, a sculptor who is fascinated by the material stainless steel and basic, abstract shapes are his signature. Look him up if you’re interested, it’s quite fun to see. With my work I meet many people, and Shanghai is the best place to meet different cultures. I have friends from all over the world, who are all very inspiring with different goals and opinions but all in this city for a reason; the energy. Just like many others I got addicted to this energy, I never thought I would live here for this long but it is amazing. I love going back to Holland once a year to see my family and friends and I enjoy the relaxed vibe and environment but for now this is my home. There is one person who I call my Shanghai Sister, her name is Yilan Yuen and she is an amazing professional photographer who graduated cum laude at the Photo Academy Amsterdam in 2002. I asked her to provide me images to add to this blog text, she was keen on that idea and together we came up with this selection.