In a city with millions of inhabitants, it’s easy to get lost in the vast numbers and forget that those numbers relate to people. Beijing’s a melting pot of cultures influenced by people from far and near. The Beijing Kaleidoscope series gives you a snippet in to the lives of both expats and locals to show their diverse perspective on the city they call home.
The second Beijing resident we’re going to spotlight is 25-year-old Lina Chun from Heilong Province who came to the capital with her family when she was 4 years old. Chun works as an assistant clerk at Remito, a clothing store at the Atlantic Place in Wangjing. Having lived in Beijing for 21 years, Beijing is more than just another city to her.
Why did you come to Beijing? Was it your own decision or was it inevitable?
I didn’t a choice in deciding to come here as I was too young. At first, we came to Beijing to make a living. We were farmers back in Heilong and I guess we came here to find a stable job and income so as to have a better life.
What are some of the expectations or hopes you have?
I had hope of settling down and finding a home. Right now I have a house of my own, so I guess I’m already a Beijing person (Beijingren); I’m very glad.
How long are you planning to stay here?
I plan on staying in Beijing for as long as I can.
How would you describe life in Beijing, and the changes it brought to you?
Life in Beijing is very busy. Every day the train stations and the traffic are teeming with people. I’m still surprised sometimes by how rushed and concentrated Beijing life is. But I feel that this aspect of Beijing helped me become more mature. I went from being immature and naïve to understanding many truths about life.
Which memories are the deepest for you during your time in Beijing? The memory most engraved in my mind is the Feidian Earthquake incident in 2009. Although it didn’t happen in Beijing, a lot of people were injured, including people from my hometown. That incident really shook me, and could have affected my decision to stay in Beijing.
Photo caption: Chun in a room at the clothing shop.
What is the thing you yearn for the most about Beijing?
To become part of Beijing, and become assimilated into the capital. I want to become even more absorbed into the city than I am now. I want to live in Beijing for the rest of my life.
Beijing is a second home.
Although not an initial dream of hers, Chun had hopes of becoming a Beijinger later in life, which she’s already achieved with a home, stable job, and a family. She finds Beijing a place to mature and find out one’s truth. This city has become her second home.
Judy Jeon, our July intern, attends the Western Academy of Beijing and decided to brave the murky waters of magazine writing. She is a writer in her school’s Roots & Shoots organization, and also leads an orchestra. With less than a year left to stay in Beijing, Judy is setting out to gather different views about the place. She likes to read, hang out with friends, and can be found exploring Chinese culture around the hutongs.
Photos: Lina Chun