My Hometown by JiaXiang Zhang (Shanghai, China)

The myriad people, all of different races, various nationalities, and equally disparate moods, walk on the city streets beneath the colorful neon lights. Raindrop fall on the slick sidewalks and the little pools of water reflect the tall buildings in all their colors. The busy traffic and stream of endless cars paint a picture in the water. The noise from the crowd sometimes makes you dysphoric, but in its absence, you begin to miss it.  

With the proud slogan, “Better City, Better Life,” Shanghai has worked to reduce the trash on the high streets and back lanes. I remember this each time I walk into the metro station and take Two Line for about thirty minutes, until I finally arrive at one of the most beautiful place in Shanghai: the Bund, famous for its night views of the city. Here you can see the buildings from the past, left behind from another time, an oasis of serenity amid the city’s chaos.

I often find a coffee bar close to HuangPu River to look at the ships and boats as they slowly pass by;  life begins to slow with the water’s gentle pace and your whole body relaxes. It is easy to spend the whole afternoon here if you have a book in your hand.  

This is Shanghai, one of the most modern cities in the world with deeply ancient roots.  It is my hometown: the place I used to live, where I grew up, made my first friend, learned my first word, and the city my heart will always see first.