Hello my dear family and friends. Remember that time when I blogged twice a week, posted lots of pictures, and kept you all extremely updated on my life here in Beijing?
Ok, me neither. In all seriousness, I am terribly terribly sorry. I attribute the failure of my blogging endeavor to my secretly perfectionist tendencies. Yes shocking, I know! Those of you who have seen my bedroom might not even consider using this word to describe me. However, when it comes to my writing, I like it to be good. So these blog posts take a while to write… It’s a time consuming hobby, folks! And ok, if we’re being honest here, I’m lazy. However, as you can see, I’m back! Hopefully here to keep you all a little bit more informed about the second chapter of my adventure here in China. Hopefully.
Which brings me to the main point of this post. Maybe six weeks ago, my mom called me up to discuss my plane ticket home. Did I want to leave August 15th? Or the 19th? Window seat? Or Aisle? First class? Or Business? (ok just kidding about the last two, but a girl can dream) After carefully considering how to shape my sentence, I joked, “Well maybe just don’t book a ticket at all and I’ll stay in China for the semester!”
No response. Pause…pause…pause…
Well, a month-and-a-half later, here I still am. I guess I wasn’t really joking. At the time when I initially thought I would be crying for home and America, I was crying at the thought of leaving. It’s funny, really. As I said in a painstakingly constructed facebook status earlier this week, I expected to hate China. I expected to only see the pollution, the dirt, and smell the coal and the sewage. I expected to feel alone and lost.
Well Beijing is surely not without all of the above. There are days when I feel the air burn the back of my throat, and I can’t wear sandals without my bare feet being covered in street dust. And ok, sometimes it smells so awful that I don’t know what to do with myself. And sure I feel lonely and lost sometimes! I miss my family and friends at home more than I can even describe, and probably half of the time I spend outside of my apartment I am wandering around asking for directions in a language that I can barely understand.
But at the same time, I am happy. I quickly realized that although Beijing has a bad reputation, it’s actually a pretty spectacular place. The history and culture is far richer here than it is in many other westernized Chinese cities, but at the same time it’s rapidly becoming more and more modern. I love that you can see an elderly woman cooking corn on the street right next to a television screen the size of a house playing the latest Chinese boy band music videos. Besides the surprising warmth of the local Chinese, the expat community here is growing and thriving, and everyone I’ve encountered so far has been nothing but welcoming. Whether I’m weaving around the hutongs of Gulou, buying cucumbers at Chinese fruit market, or getting drinks with my friends in Sanlitun, being here just feels…right. In this city that is progressing at such a rapid pace, I knew I would only feel unsatisfied if I returned home. Beijing is an incredible place to be young, and in a bizarre way, I feel like this city and I are growing together.
So now, with an unpaid internship at one of the best lifestyle magazines in town, an overpriced but cozy apartment with a potentially crazy landlord, and a handful of new friends that I am so lucky to have met, I continue this exhilarating, frightening, and sometimes surreal adventure. Family, friends, bed, and In’n out, see you in December.