Back in China.
Yeah, it was kind of an experience last time. Being expelled from China and met by media at the airpiort in Sweden. I confess it was sometimes a bit hard to concentrate on the master thesis that I started with less then two months after I came back to Sweden.
It actually took quite a while before the interview request stopped coming, and the coolest thing probably was the live broadcasted tv-show “Breaking News” at the Swedish tv channel Kanal 5 with Filip&Fredrik.
The thesis work turned out to be not exactly what I was told from the beginning. In the first instructions I received they said I would spend half the time on Taiwan, at least 3 months, it turned out to be about 3 weeks. First one week (the flight actually took off only a few hours after the live broadcast in Kanal 5) just to get introduction at the production unit in Zhongli outside Taipei, and then two weeks in the end to present my results and do some tests to introduce them in the production.
The time went by, and since I am not very good planning, I finished the work about one month later than I had planned from the beginning. I should also mention that it on and off was quite tough during the last period, struggling with the results of not very well-planned experiments. Add to that that both me and my supervisors were a bit confused about some of the results, it seemed random. Then, one late afternoon I got a sudden idea that actually could explain quite much of the results. Filled with energy I went to one of my supervisors the next day and told him about my idea. He was skeptical, but I pursued more and more reasons and earlier unexplainable observations. In fact, my idea could explain them all. In all of a sudden, my work turned from being the mess it should have been to something very interesting.
I went back to Taiwan to present it, once there I realized some more things, sometimes the production units and the research and development units simply talk different languages, and then I don’t mean Swedish/English or Chinese. Anyway, there were some colleagues from England and Coventry there the same week as I went there. I held the presentation in Stockholm soon after coming back, and just like a jackpott I was invited to Coventry to present it as well.
But, I had already been told that there were no opportunity to employ me around that time. So I turned my thoughts toward Taiwan once again, I was at that time quite sure I was not welcome in China. But then, just a few days before I was about to leave the company, I had actually already packed all my stuff at the desktop, I was asked if I wanted to write a pre-study on a “completely new field” for the company. I asked for time, but when I read the plan, I understood it was too good to say no. So I started to write the pre-study on additive manufacturing, or 3D-printing as its usually called. The contract was 7.5 months long, a few weeks before expiration I was told that they once again didn’t have opportunity to extend my employment, but also once again they changed their minds. 4 more months. After that, almost exactly the same thing happened again, but with a 2 months employment.
After I started working, I had less time to work with the last remainings from the thesis, especially the version that I had to give to my university, a version I had to rewrite since some things were considered as company secrets. So, finally I got the thesis approved, almost one year after the actual work was finished. It was anyway such I nice feeling when I received my graduation certificate. Oh how many hours I had suffered for it, now it was in my hand. I actually walked around some in Uppsala to find a suitable and special place nearby the Fyris river to open the envelope and look at the certificate. But that was not all, one of my supervisors had sent my thesis as an abstract to the Plansee-seminar, the world’s most prestigious conference in the cemented carbide academia and business, and got it accepted. I didn’t go there myself, but my supervisor did. The very last outcome from my thesis was a patent application. I read through it one last time on my last the in the company, the 28th of June.
Each and every time my contract was about to expire, I applied to universities in Taiwan, as I mentioned, I thought I was not welcome to the mainland. But fortunately, my curiousity won, if I didn’t applly, how could I ever know the answer of the question that I had gotten soooo many times since I left China? Since there still seemed to be a chance that the company wanted me back, I chosed to apply for a summer course in Nanjing, actually the only reason i chosed it was because the time was very suitable. My contract would expire the last of Juny, and the course would start on the first of July, and it was also flexible in duration.
I knew I couldn’t know if they would give me the visa or not, but I was really prepared to ask if I could talk with some responsible person if they refused me. So I admit, I was slightly surprised when they handed over the passport and asked me to pay 595 SEK for the visa. I went to Nanjing, all the way no problem at all. And I studied a lot. I finished to class books in less time than my classmates finished one.
Then I went back to Sweden, and finally got the final answer from the company that they could not re-employ me. Once again I had my backup plan, which this time had turned out to be more like a first plan. Around this time, I actually wished to go back to China, now when I knew I actually could go back. And this time I wanted to see something slightly different from Shanghai and Nanjing, so I chose Kunming in south east China, the provincial capital of Yunnan. I came here about one week ago.
After placement test I was placed in 准高级, one step below advanced. One of our books is in the same serie as one we used in Fudan, in Shanghai. At that time, I reached the 4th level, and now, I continued at the 7th level. My month in Nanjing had kind of paid off. But I can admit it is quite hard this far, it is soooo many words I have to learn to catch up, and it feels like brain-drain after sitting hour after hour using flash card applications at the tablet computer.
But I hope it will pay off this time too, as it usually does when you put some effort into something.