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Winter in Hangzhou is not the fairyland of snowy lawns and branches decorated with frosty laces one might know from other parts of the world. Oh no, it is a dull, wet affair, when one stays at home, nourishes depression and thinks wistfully of that wonderful invention which is central heating. Temperatures run low, but not as low as the moods. A perfect holiday spot for chain-smoking and black-wearing existentialists – and a pit of misery for all the rest of us.

But… after literally months of cold, rain, wrapping themselves in layers of thermal underwear and donning coats not just outside but indoors too – Hangzhouvians can finally take a breather. The sun has officially come back, the trees are in blossom, the streets are full of people once more.

This week for the first time I was able to spend my lunch break on the lawn outside – oh, joy! I feel reborn! … Just please remind me of this exaltation in a few weeks when I start complaining about the oppressive heat.

And in the meantime enjoy some pictures of my fellow students chilling out.