Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter in Beijing ~ Toddler Steps

You may have read my emotional evaluation of the first six months of our Chinese adventure. There have also been some significant milestones reached that I should write down. 
You may remember my baby steps post back in the Fall. 
Consider this my toddler steps post for the Winter.

  • I got my haircut here. Something I said I would never do. It was great! The salon is located on the third floor of our building and it was only 40 yuan ($6.00 USD). The stylist has cut three out of four of our hair now. I guess you can say we are regulars.
  • Since the above haircut went so well, hubby and I decided to indulge in an hour massage at our third floor salon. You see, I had gotten a Chinese massage (from a hoity toity place) when I first arrived that was pure torture so I swore off massages in matter how cheap they were. I have to say, we really enjoyed our massages this time. Each one cost 100 yuan ($15.00 USD). Next time we are going to sneak down there in our robes :)
  • I can somewhat communicate what I need to in mandarin. The grammar is correct, the tones are a mess and the recipient has to piece it together like a's coming along though. In the next six months I just may understand something someone says.
  • If I have been there before, I can almost always get there again by speaking (rather than showing something) to the taxi driver. You don't even know how much better they treat you when they think you know what you are doing. Taxis no longer raise my blood pressure.
  • We have friends! Sure, we don't know their name. Sure, we cannot communicate that well with them. But, the workers at our little Russian Market (the only thing Russian about it is that the sign is in Russian) know us. The girl at the fruit stand on the corner always says hello to us.
  • We have real friends. In all honesty, I really thought that the relationships that I made here would be temporary or not as deep as the ones I have at home. I have found just the opposite. Yes, we have to work hard to see each other and communicate but that, along with the shared experiences here, make the bonds that much deeper. 
  • I crave Chinese food now more than American food! This is a biggie, as I have never been a lover of Chinese food. Now, I eat it every single day and am happy to do so. I crave warm, steaming dumplings. And the kung pao shrimp at one of our favorite places is something I could eat every single day.
  • I don't even gag anymore when I hear the sound of "hawking loogies". Sometimes I still gag when I see those loogies on the ground though.
  • The best move we have made here so far was joining the fitness center at the City Wall Marriott. For the last six months I have continuously exercised. But the Beijing elements (smog and temperature) really decided how my work outs went. Now, I walk the 20 minute walk to the bea-uuuuuu-ti-ful facilities each morning and burn those calories. I reward myself with a few minutes in the steam room and a shower with their yummy smelling products. It makes me happy!
  • Here is another biggie! I had resolved that I could not use my favorite app to record my daily calorie intake. First, I thought it wouldn't work or that it wouldn't have enough of the foods that I am eating in it's database...EXCUSES! I now am back to recording my work outs and what I eat. Surprisingly it works perfectly fine. Last night we had Vietnamese food (SO GOOD!). It wasn't in the database so I went online and found the nutritional information myself (did you know you can find ANYTHING on the Internet?) and added it to the database myself. 
  • I am blending in! I look like a real Beijinger with my calf-length down-filled coat, face buried in a thick scarf and my head covered. On a couple occasions someone has come up to me to ask me a question in Chinese. Then they see I am a foreigner and they walk away.
This is how I look whenever I go out recently.
I went to a market with two women who just arrived in Beijing. I remember what it was like just six months ago, when everything was so overwhelming. I sounded like I had lived here for years and I told them that in six months, they would sound like that too.
I can't wait to see what the next six months brings!


Anonymous said...

What a big change. You are a real Beijinger!


Just Me said...

HIP HIP HOORAY!!!!! So proud of you!!!!!

Liz R. said...

awesome awesome!