Near Water

English version

With this book I tell my personal story  of living in cities near water all my life. I write - reflect and share imagery of my journey with water.

You said: “I’ll go to another country. go to another shore, find another city better than this one.”The City, C. P. Cavafy

Part 1

Zhoushan, 1995 - 2017, East China Sea

March 24th 1995, Lunar calendar February 24th, a rainy day, the time of Spring bamboo shoots emerging from the ground, I was born in Dinghai, the biggest island of Zhoushan archipelago. I was committed to my grandparents and raised by them in Daishan. It is the second biggest island but it only takes around two hours to drive around it.  There was no road inbetween islands; bridges were built just recently. All we could rely on were ferries. When there was Typhoon, we had to wait for the storm to abate — then go to the wharf early and wait again. When I grew up to be four or five years old, I was sent to a boarding kindergarten in Ningbo and went back to Daishan biweekly. I needed to take two ferries to go back. School bus was like public bus. I would always be the only one left on that bus every time, and my grandpa would pick me up at the destination.

“How can you even get lost in such a small island?”
“You tell me. It is a small island.”

Part 2

Hangzhou, 2007 - 2017, Qiantang River

On the third year of primary school, my parents and I moved to Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang. It is a city with water and mountains. They are more like piles of sand than actual mountains. However, there is quite a lot of water flowing in the city. West Lake, Xixi Wetland, Qiantang River, Baima Lake, Xiang Lake. The most famous one is West Lake. During holidays, the influx of tourists is just like boiling dumplings in a hot pot. Every time it snows, footsteps on the Broken Bridge will clean all the trace of snow on the first day. Back then, I lived near Qiantang River and I needed to cross the river to go to school. I hated this place in the first few years when I just arrived because it made me feel like I was living in the countryside. Later, we moved several times but never left this area. Maybe we stayed because of the fortune teller saying this area was perfect for amassing money and accumulating wealth. I left Ningbo and went to Hangzhou after primary school. Then, I spent my junior and senior high school studying along a river named Middle River. For three years, I went across the river, moved from this side to another side. Next, for another three years, I went to Beijing, the capital of China.

“I am 23 years old, the only thing in my mind is to leave Hangzhou.”

Part 3

Jyvaskyla, 2015 - 2016 New York, 2017 - 2019

I went to Finland shortly for ten months during my college. It is a city called Jyvskyla where four blocks compose the city center. The area where I lived is partly in forest. There was a lake nearby, which is a great spot to enjoy the scene of Aurora. Yet I was too afraid of iciness, so I never went back. After passing through many places, I came here: New York. Although I only study in NYC and live in Jersey City. I always feel a little embarrassed when being asked “where do you live in New York” because I actually live in Jersey while New York is on the other side of the Hudson River. Sometimes, there are big ferries with vibrant lights and stunning decorations slowly crossing the Hudson River like a giant sea monster wearing a cloth made with neon, roaring out of the water. As for Hudson River itself, it has no difference from the Seine and Volga in my mind. They are all just foreign rivers to me. Now I take the metro to go across the Hudson River every single day.

Chinese Version 中文版


你说:“我要去另一个国家,另一片海岸,寻找另一个比这里好的城市。”- 《城市》卡瓦菲斯

舟山, 1995 - 2017, 东中国海



杭州,2007 - 2017,钱塘江



于韦斯屈莱,2015 - 2016 纽约,2017 - 2019