Having recently written an article on the pros and cons of city versus suburb living, it was timely that I finally did something that’s taken me 3 ½ years to do – visit The Forbidden City. Yep, there…I said it. I’ve lived here this long and had yet gone to one of the most historical sites in one of the most historical countries ever. Sad, isn’t it? I can offer my excuses of having young children that would hate the walking and “boring” displays (and now, having gone there, I still say they’d make the trip unbearable). Or waiting for the perfect weather. Or just getting too busy with daily life. These are valid reasons, yes; and they are also convenient excuses. I simply hadn’t taken the time to get there. And that is one of the “cons” of living in the ‘burbs – sometimes you just don’t take in what Beijing has to offer.
I’m not actually a history buff at all, but it’s impossible not to embrace the incredible amount of history and culture while living in China – Beijing, no less. If I were to ever leave here and not hit some of the no-brainer places to go, I’d regret it forever. I have visited many, either with my family or with friends, but I now have a concrete bucket list of things I must see before leaving someday. That day is not yet known, but I also fully understand and appreciate that once you get the word you’re moving on, time flies by so quickly that those trips often go undone.
Not everyone in the suburbs neglects getting out and about. I have friends that are so well traveled in this city and country it’s impressive; they could write a travel book or at the very least a primer for people like me. But I’ve finally come to the realization that there’s too much here not to take in. I can no longer ignore what’s right in front of me – nor do I want to – and I plan to make every effort to enjoy it.
I don’t regret our reasons for living in the suburbs, and I could make a fine argument for why doing so fits some people better than others. But I also readily admit that being further away from the city and sites means it sometimes takes a little nudge to take advantage of the gems in our fantastic host country.
I finally, finally did just that.