I´m looking out the window of the world financial center in Pudong. Better known as "bottle opener". I´m looking over this mega city which is home to nearly 30 million people. 30 million lifes, hopes, dreams and stories. This chaos and hustle bustle called Shanghai - it was my home for nearly 6 years.
Never I would have thought that on the day when it is time to leave I would look back over this mega metropolis and feel nothing but love for it. Despite my hesitations at the beginning - from the moment I arrived I was welcomed with open arms, embraced by a different culture and accepted by who I was and what I did.
I´m looking out of this window thinking "I had the time of my life" - WE had the time of our life. My husband and I arrived just the two of us and sitting here a few years later I´m holding this beautiful, healthy 3 year old girl in my arms who was born somewhere down there in this chaos. This concrete jungle - it is full of memories of love of a first time mother. I could not be more happy for carrying the proud title "Mommy" and look back in disbelief that my dream came true: I am leaving Shanghai as professional photographer.
What started as idea has blossomed and grown in China, the country I originally was so against living in. But yet sometimes when these doors open you have to just go trough them and find out whats behind. Never I would have thought life would take this amazing turn as it did.
l loved going round Shanghai with my camera, diving into the city. I a way becoming one with. I may never have achieved to speak fluent Chinese. But if there is something that I have learnt than that it doesn´t matter where you come from and who you are. Deep in our hearts we are all the same, we carry the same spirit. And if we can find in this spirit in another person than it doesn´t require words to connect. You just do it and often I was granted to capture that moment with my camera. These memories are real treasures in my heart. And I shall forever be grateful for them.
Thank you Shanghai for embracing me,
for letting me grow
for giving us a safe and amazing home as family
for adventures, happy and challenging ones
for showing me that I can believe in my dreams and make them work
for making me feel alive and being part of you
for being my HOME
THANK YOU to my dear FRIENDS and FAMILY back home and across the world who have always encouraged me on my journey. For, still after all these years make me feel home when I see them. Thank you for being my roots, my strength and thank you for allowing me to share this experience with you.
THANK YOU for my amazing CUSTOMERS and everyone I got to meet on the street during the shootings and beyond. Everyone seemed to have something to give to me. Whether it was letting me capture their memories or just giving me the feeling to be a tiny part of China.
THANK YOU to HEART TO HEART who let me feel like I´m part of their family and allowed me to live my vision of helping children in need with my work. I shall find a way to continue supporting these children wherever I live!
But most of all THANK YOU to my dear HUSBAND, PAUL. For that extra glass of wine in Summer 2010 back in Germany and the comment " I rather sit with you on the sofa when we are old and look with you at two crazy years in China than not having tried it". Who would ever thought it would turn into nearly 6! You made all this magic possible!
Thanks for making us go, for letting us grow and for being on my side, whatever happens! This picture YOU took of Hannah and me on top of the bottle opener on our last night in Shanghai - it´s my favorite one of the thousands and thousand taken in China.
A new journey is now waiting for us on the other side of the planet - in USA . A new door - a new start - and I can´t wait to find out whats behind it! Something ends, something starts - that´s the way life goes.
Shanghai - Wo ai ni! - I love you!
Thank you Ryan for putting this little video of me and my work together! Looking back I can say it´s taken me five years to find these words ;-)