As a child growing up in Colorado I remember walking with my aunt and uncle through the streets of old Denver in the autumn. Leaves of bright yellow and orange sat in lovely crunchy piles waiting to be stomped in and I loved every second of it. Aged eight, I tried my hand at poetry to try and describe in detail to my guardians what I was experiencing. The golden leaves of fall inspire budding creative spirits the world over, but in Beijing there are no piles of leaves on the streets.
Pet peeves. We all have them. That one thing that really drives you mad. In Beijing there are plenty of opportunities to find things to bother you. I have been in and out of Beijing since 2007, and I find that the list of things that drive me crazy keeps shrinking! I’ve been able to find acceptance around many of the things that the average everyday expat can’t stand.
Today I’d like to highlight my personal Beijing pet peeve that I doubt will ever go away. The greatest thing about fall is to walk into a pile of crunchy leaves. Why does the city find it necessary to send out flocks of street cleaners in the early hours of the morning to make sure that not one single leaf remains on the ground? Besides their beautiful colors, they add an element of softness and natural beauty to the stark concrete of Beijing. In order to enjoy this softness however you’ll need to get up and out the door by 6:30am. Witnessing the beauty of last night’s fallen leaves means waking up before the bright-orange street cleaners appear. You have 30 minutes to whoop, dance, and kick: They’ll be busy with their brushes from 7am sharp, ensuring the people of the city never see a fallen leaf.
Photos: Courtesy of Theresa Pauline