Friday, June 7, 2013

What I WIll & Won't Miss About Living in Beijing, China

I have been both continually writing this post and procrastinating this post all at the same time. I have a note section on my phone that I have been recording what I will miss about Beijing for about the last year. That note section started as a tool to help me see the good in the everyday surroundings. Usually when the good was harder to see...quite literally with the air quality.

It is hard to believe our time is up. Just like China is often called "the land of contradiction" it seems fitting that I am conflicted, of course, about leaving. I have grown personally so much throughout these last 22 months, mainly because the place I started from. I didn't want to come. I didn't like China. I was bitter and resentful. Now I love China and already have choked back tears thinking about leaving. 

It is hard for everyone to explain.
For everyone it is different. 
I can sum it up by saying that this was a HUGE challenge for our family and we have all risen to the challenge and are better people (and dog) for it. Is it because it is China? Is it because we are on the other side of the planet from family? Is it because it's a different country than the US? 
All of the above!

China is definitely unique in so many, many ways. But it, also, is definitely not the hardest place we could've lived (despite my original analysis).  So, without further we go...

~What I Will Miss about Beijing~
no particular order
okay, maybe I did mean to put this one first...

I really thought when we moved here, "How could I REALLY bond with anyone in such a short period of time?" Oh how wrong I was! It is not the time together, it is the in Beijing I have met the most amazing women who I will always cherish!

~More Hubby Time~
No commute, lunch dates, family outings, dinners together...I've seen him more in China than I ever did in the US...makes for a happy wife!
Also known as "soup dumplings" favorite chinese food for me!
 ~Ya Bao Lu~
We mocked it at first, as it is the Russian section with fur stalls everywhere, but this soon became home. With the all-night-truck-loaders, street hecklers, food stands...we soon realized it was ideal. Every taxi driver knows it and anything you can possibly need is within steps from our, groceries (limited), phone cards, clothes. park, subway...
 ~The Gym at the City Wall Marriott~
Going to the gym everyday became my therapy! I met a good friend who lives there (she was not happy with me at this moment). The sweat I poured there literally helped get me through the struggles of life in China. 
 ~ Shopping~

Having an H&M a ten minute walk from my apartment, I'll miss that.
Shopping trips with friends.
I even will miss bargaining at Silk! I love it!
 ~Living In A Historical City 
That is in the News Every Single Day~

It is cool to turn on CNN and see live what you are looking at through your own window.
It is not only a city of current relevance, but SO MUCH ancient history!

~Fruit, Especially Pineapples~
These pineapples are so sweet and juicy that you can eat them all the way through!
 And they carve it for you. I eat some every day...really!
 ~Cultural Elements~
I love how Chinese linger outside at night. They gather (here at The Place) and dance, play games and socialize. It is peaceful, calming and they know how to enjoy the end of a hard days work. And boy, do they know how to work!

I will miss the Chinese children (split pants and all) and the elderly people.
 Although we don't communicate, they usually have a smile and a greeting for me, usually because of Jupiter. 

~City parks~
This is the park where we take Jupiter every day (me mainly:)
Parks here are not like in suburban CA.

RiTan Park, my favorite place in Beijing.

 ~Rickshaw Rides~
We have two rickshaw drivers that treat us like VIPs whenever we want to go somewhere that is too short for a taxi or too long for a walk.
~Seeing my Children Accomplish Great Things and Overcome Challenges~
This girl has done an amazing job right smack dab in the middle of her teenage years! She has traveled on her own, been responsible, held her standards, made amazing friends, all while getting fantastic grades! 
D in The Monkey King...he struggled more with living far away from friends, but he played baseball and soared in school. He rarely ever complained and always was ready to sacrifice for others.

 ~Delivery To Our Door~

With food cheaper to buy than to cook, and my impractical kitchen, we ate a lot of delivery! And it was good! Four nights a week we ordered in while I cooked Tue, Thur and Sun. E's favorite was Ganges Indian (above). D's favorite was Gung Ho Pizza. Mom's favorite was it all because she didn't have to cook! And Dad's favorite was Tube Station or Kro's Nest Pizza.

 ~Lights in the Winter~
Even though China doesn't really celebrate Christmas like the US, they sure do deck out the city in lights all winter.
Speaking of winter, I really loved the snow in Beijing. It was the perfect amount and perfect powdery-like snow that I didn't have to shovel...great for a California girl like me! 
~Taking the Subway~
This, of course, has it's good and bad. But for the most part, it was always entertaining and efficient and cheap! America really needs to learn a thing or two about public transportation.
~Our View~
It really has been amazing living in a high rise with a view like this.
 I will really miss seeing it every day.
 ~No cleaning, No Yard Work = 
More Family Time~
Most expats have ayis (housecleaners and cooks). We chose to live in a serviced apartment. It was fabulous not cleaning bathrooms, making beds and doing floors...just for the record, I did do all the laundry and most of the HAND.
Of course, our family fun won't end when we leave China.

 I am sure Hubby would want me to add
~Fireworks at Chinese New Year~

If you are really still reading this...I will make the next one pics.
~What I Won't Miss About Beijing~
Bad Air !!!!
Slow Internet/Blocked Internet
Rock Hard Bed
People Everywhere, All The Time
People Stopping In the Middle of a Thoroughfare without a Clue!
Rude Taxi Drivers (although this has gotten SO much better)
Walking 20 min to the Grocery Store for Greek Yogurt only to Find They Don't Have Any...Again!
Not Being Able to Find Healthy Food (like Greek Yogurt)
My Washer/Dryer Combo (that just broke so now it's just a washer)
Doing Dishes By Hand
My Impractical Kitchen with Tiny Fridge/Freezer
Not Being Able To Find the Majority of My List At One Place (can anyone say Tar-gét?)
The Spitting!!!

There is probably more, but I have held your attention for long enough (many of you for 22 months).
Who knows what Time Out For Me will look like after Beijing, but I do know that wherever we end up...I will still be putting my life out there for everyone to see! 
I hope you will follow us on our next adventure!
Zái Jīan!
Thanks for Reading!

1 comment:

Liz R. said...

i am so happy to see you so happy at the end of this story that i'm actually in tears. i was so worried and sick for you at first. i love the picture of you in the snow. best one, and the one with all of your family together says so much.