We landed in Beijing 7 weeks ago!
Yep that is when I started writing this blog, and never got through finishing it.. We have now been here for 13 whole weeks!! Wow – I just wrote that and had to go back to the calendar to make sure I was right. I feel like it shouldn’t be right. It just doesn’t feel like we’ve been here that long, and then it also feels like we’ve been here longer. You know that weird limbo? Like when you look at a baby who you feel like you’ve known all your life but is only a couple months old? It’s pretty much the same every time I open my eyes in the morning and realize I’m in our apartment in Beijing. It also makes me realize that I haven’t written in that long, and everyone’s subtle hints about it (yes you know who you are.. “did I miss your blog post?”) made me realize it was high time I updated everyone about this crazy move of ours.
Honestly I don’t even know where to start. I could write a novel based on our first few weeks here. I can write about the crazy culture shock or the intense homesickness that hit on week 2 or how I’ve eaten enough dumplings to last me a lifetime. The reality is that it is hard for me to articulate fully, without boring everyone, our experience here. I think overwhelming is the right word to encompass our experience so far. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. As my closest friends and family can attest to – I’m in a strong love/hate relationship with Beijing right now. I love the people, they are kind and welcoming, but I also hate the constant picture taking, children touching, and being the center of attention at all times ( I mean we went to the Summer Palace and at times I wondered what the real attraction was – we really should start charging for people to take pictures of us and the girls – we’d be rich quick!). I love the food, the dumplings, the moon cakes, the breads, the veggies and the duck (oh the duck!!) but I do sometimes crave a juicy burger, a steak or plain old peanut butter (good thing we’ve found a couple places to appease these cravings). I love our active lifestyle here – we walk everywhere, I climb more stairs here in a day than I would in a month back in the States, and at work I’m always jumping around with a bunch of littles (dance teacher life) – but I do miss having a car. This usually hits hardest on Sunday afternoon, when we realize our pantry is empty of snacks and we have to take the bus to the store and haul a few bags full of groceries, whilst juggling the girls on the most crowded buses I’ve ever experienced (I have to say though – the minute we get on we draw so much attention that there is ALWAYS a couple kind souls who give up their seat for our circus to accommodate ourselves – that usually also involves them squeezing in a picture of us). I mean where is my beautiful Prius to drive into my drive way with a grocery haul from Wholefoods, HEB and Sprouts?? Our saving grace here is online grocery shopping which is couriered to you and dropped in a drop box right outside our apartment.
I read through all this, with a bunch of thoughts still in my head about everything that there is to say about life in China, and I giggle to myself – it really is a love/hate here .. so what tips the balance? A couple of things really. Our last season in Austin was really focused on building community, being there for our friends and neighbors, and whilst that was a beautiful season it was exhausting and the ability to focus on my little family here has been amazing. We get to have really evenings and weekends where we have no commitments and no work that pours over into family time so we can give the kids our undivided attention. I also get to have a 1.5 hour lunch with my husband every single day (parents all around can appreciate the value of alone time with a spouse). Living within an expat community is also amazing here. We get to live life with wonderful colleagues and other Beijingers who hail from all around the world. The conversations are interesting, the celebrations wonderful and the understanding deep, as we know the highs and lows of expat life. Finally the ability to teach and work with these little kids has been an immense blessing to me. Being able to delve back into my career, making use of the years of study and degrees I invested in, makes being here pretty amazing. This is just the tip of iceberg of life here! I promise I will try to write more often! And if anyone of our friends/family or followers would like to hear about something particular, just drop me a line 😁
Much love to all
From the oh so interesting city of Beijing 😁
Till next time y’all!!