You’ve been my surrogate home for quite some time now. Twelve years actually. We’ve had our ups and downs, but ultimately I’m happy we’ve stuck together. Not everyone gets how we’re still together (pollution, anyone?), but some do.
Here’s to the best year yet!
The above is nearly word for word the silent conversation I overheard myself have with China as I was boarding a plane to come back to Beijing…for the twelfth time.
This time was definitely different than the first. Twelve years ago it was just me. Adventurous, young (read: immature), broke, but confident me. This time it was me (not as adventurous, not so young, not as broke, still confident) plus a husband and two littles: a preschooler and a baby.
Anyone who’s spent anytime around a group of expats (including myself) knows that eventually the conversation will turn to: what we find so difficult about being here.
Not judging. Do it myself. Legitimate conversation. Absolutely and completely needed at times. Venting to someone that gets it. Works like a charm.
That said, I want to talk about what I love about being here. The things that make me stay in this rollercoaster relationship I have with my home. Yes, I said it, home. Beijing has become my home.
Five things from my home here that I love:
- Jianbing 煎饼: Best all-around snack/meal. Didn’t say healthiest! Didn’t say cleanest (rusty tin cans are part of the greasing process don’t forget)! But still the BEST.
- Baidu Waimai 百度外卖: Amazing delivery service app. Nearly anything you could want (except for Cillian Murphy…sorry to disappoint) can be delivered same day, often within 30 minutes, with little to no delivery fees. LIFE SAVER.
- YaQi 亚琦and YaNan 亚楠 : My two good Beijing’er friends. Twin sisters. Both are married and their husbands were childhood best friends. They know old Beijing and loop me into it from time to time.
- Solana 蓝色港湾: I’m that person. I go to Solana for fun. I schlep take my two kids there and watch them enjoy the outside while I coolly sip an iced caramel macchiato. We top it off with a shop around Kids Town and the inevitable stop at BHG.
- Chaoyang Park 朝阳公园: Biggest park in Beijing, and only I know the perfect spot. Ok, actually, anyone that goes in there thinks they find the perfect spot, but really my spot is the best.
That’s the start of my list. You’ve got your own list too I’m sure. It sometimes gets buried under the other list (you know, the list of what makes living here difficult), but it’s definitely there.
This year, my twelfth year, I want to focus more on the list of reasons I love this place and my life in it.
Bio: Originally from the Chicagoland area, Jane Kang has been an international educator in China for twelve years. She and her Chinese husband of eight years have a preschool aged girl and a baby boy. She loves watching TV shows (if she can stay awake for them), eating mint chocolate chip ice-cream (maybe too much so), and spending time with her friends and family (both near and far, in person and online).