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by Katinka Hustad

Hangsha, Lu Dong mountains and Cixi, Zhejiang provice

She leaves tomorrow.


The first drop of spring falls on the roof of her childhood bedroom. Then one more, and another.


High heels click-clacking on old ground. Dancing below plants of golden tea, among rice terraces kept alive by their grandmothers’ hands.


Soaked by the raw white fog. Hand in hand on a cliff. Singing songs about a gentle boy to kiss.


Wheeled suitcases on narrow stone paths. A silent mother, two steps behind, with an egg in her palm for the journey to come. She lifts her hand to wave, but the car is already gone.


The night train hammers towards the east-coast, as a beating drum telling tales of transition, knowing that everything has to keep moving.



The sewing machine, like a hundred scissors. Seam after seam on a pink cotton sweater.


And then the dream, of becoming a hairdresser.


Since 1978 China has experienced the largest internal migration in human history. Nearly 160 million people have left rural areas in order to seek work in the cities.