ZHANG HUI JUAN: I was born in 1979, at the end of the 70’s, just a few months before the beginning of the new decade. My family is quite a normal, average family. My father is a very responsible person, but he doesn’t talk much. My mother is a very righteous person and she also works very hard.
    Once I had a dream about three cats. This dream left a shadow in me. I never really liked cats, and the cats in the dream were very cruel and ferocious, they were sitting on the windowsill and screaming at me. When I woke up I was still afraid. And recently I had a dream that I was in a classroom, and the way out of the classroom is not a stairway or corridor, but you need to climb out of the window, so if you are a little careless you may fall. This was the only way out of the classroom. I felt really tired after I woke up. And a few days ago, I dreamt about an earthquake, but I don’t remember any details. I told my husband about this dream when I woke up.
    And I dreamt of a house some days ago. Someone told me that one of my friends was living in that house. I hadn’t seen this friend for many years. I went there and I could see that the house had a bed, furniture, a TV set. I could imagine my friend living there, but actually I haven’t seen her for many years, so I don’t know what her place looks like. That house looked like a pavilion, with a stairway all around it. When I went down the stairs I saw a lot of animals. Then I woke up. Those are all the dreams I can remember.
    I think my dreams are all related to the same thing. I’ve always dreamt a lot, even when I was a child, but it didn’t influence my mood as it does now. In 2001 I got robbed. It was in the morning, I had spent the night in the office to do some work and I had slept there. I had just been transferred to another branch of my company, I had to be at the new agency at 8 o’clock and I didn’t want to be late. I stayed in the office because I needed to deliver some work. When I finished it was pretty late at night. I was living in the company’s residential facility, which is about a 20 minutes walk from the office. So I delivered the work, it was already past midnight, and I decided to sleep on the sofa in the office.
    I woke up at 5 o’clock in the morning, picked up my things and wanted to go back to my place at the residential home. I wanted to take a shower and get changed and then go to the new agency to register. It was still dark when I left the office building, I saw three teenagers on the street. A taxi stopped by my side and the driver asked me if I needed a ride, but I wanted to take a walk in the morning air, so I said no.
    I thought the three teenagers had just come out of an Internet cafe, or maybe they were unemployed. But they started to follow me. I had a handbag, all my office stuff was in it, such as a coffee mug and other things like that. They followed me until I reached a street where there were no people, then they robbed my bag. I tried to hold on to it but I couldn’t. Then they ran away. There were no people around, only an old man of maybe 60. I asked him for help, I said: “They robbed me, please help me!” But he said: “I’m old, I cannot run.”
    My stuff was scattered all over the ground, but they had my bag with my laptop and other personal things in it, so I started to run after them. On the way I saw three men coming out of a public bathing centre, they looked like around 30. So I explained to them what happened, then a taxi stopped besides me and also tried to help. So we got into the taxi and after maybe 3 or 4 blocks we saw them, but they noticed us when we got off the taxi, so they split up and ran separately into the residence area. It was morning already and somebody called police.
    Later the police came and asked me some questions, but they didn’t catch the thieves. So they took me to the police station and recorded the case. I had lost all my money but a police officer gave me 20 RMB so I could go home. My cell phone was in the robbed bag, I couldn’t contact anyone. I used the 20 RMB to call my husband. At that time we had only known each other for a short time. This whole incident affected me quite a lot. Since then I always have dreams like I have to take an exam, or I’m falling down from somewhere, the kind of dreams, which make you feel insecure. I think they all have to do with this robbery. Even now I still feel there’s a kind of shadow over me.