I’m currently on a trip 8,000 kilometers away from Beijing, visiting my husband’s family in the UK. The shocking events in Beijing and Tianjin have startled, shocked, and saddened us, and they have hit our close-knit Beijing community hard.
Beijing is special: open and friendly. In the expat community it feels as though we all share two degrees of separation, three maximum. Whether you call Shunyi, Lido, Sanlitun or CBD your hood, we are all creatures of habit. We roam the same streets and neighborhoods every day, we meander in and out of the same restaurants and shops on a daily basis. We recognize our expat neighbors. We know each other.
This is one of the reasons that the event in Sanlitun is so difficult to assimilate. Perhaps you were in the same spot just moments before or after that day, perhaps you knew the couple involved… I have a picture taken there last weekend when my husband Ross and 5 month old strolled past Uniqlo. Ross plays in the same football league as the man who lost his wife.
It seems as though the attack was random. It could have been anyone. Heartbreaking, and also terrifying. The sense of safety we felt in the city seems shattered in a matter of hours. The attacks coming as they did, just hours after the explosions in Tianjin, add to our feelings of disbelief and horror.
Watching footage of those monstrous explosions, while the story of the Sanlitun attack was breaking simultaneously was like witnessing a nightmare unfolding in an alternate universe. There isn’t anything anyone can say or do that will make the events of August 12 and 13 go away. Thinking in practical terms, perhaps now is the time to book a class to learn skills on how to provide a first response in an emergency situation. We can also be grateful for our community, and simply share our sympathy and support with each other.
Theresa Pauline is a yoga teacher, social entrepreneur, momma, wife, and beijingkids contributor. You can find out more about her at www.taozitreeyoga.com
Photo: Courtesy of the Beijinger