Between my front keys not working to the front gate, breaking the toilet thrice with my apparent fibre-less diet and going to an only-Mandarin-speaking jiujitsu class. I’m getting my groove on here in Beijing. No longer a rookie on the streets, I can now listen to music and take an easy 20 minute cycle to school and back with no issues. No more cold sweats as an old lady is about to t-bone my rusty bicycle or slamming my breaks into a parked car in the bike lane.
I remember reading an old entry I made which said:
Life expands and shrinks based on your willingness to take on risk.
This whole experience in China has been so phenomenal. I seriously cannot put into words how amazing each experience is – even from the shitty ones (yes, a terrible pun) to meeting new people to learning and loving the kids that I teach. It’s been so unreal. It actually saddens me that I’ve decided to leave this cool city in 4 weeks. It took me about 1 week to fully process that I have received a full time job offer for an Editor role, earning good money and having the ability to live a good life here, only to decline it by the end of the week. It’s tough. Making easy money is so lucrative to nomads on the road.. but, I needed to listen to my gut and make a smart decision.
Best Things About China:
1. People – I cant even imagine how my life would be like without meeting the wonderful, kind, down to earth people I’ve met here. Ranging from the girl I’m subletting the room from to my teachers, to the people I meet on the street, and to friends of friends of friends. I’ve actually never felt alone so far. I even have 3 sets of Canadian friends coming out here and we’re going out for dinner and drinks. Beijing is such a hub for these things.
People are also so willing to give that I’ve never seen it anywhere else. I was buying a girl’s clothes that she didn’t need anymore and I talked about going to The Great Wall and that I only have summer clothes. She offered to lend me her jacket to go up there. I didn’t even know her – but she was so trusting and kind. I sort of wish this was the same back home.
2. Opportunities – You read before that I got a part time job with my school as an English teacher and I teach Mon – Fri afternoons/evenings. This has gotten me to know the Gulou area really well which is perfect since this is where all the hip restaurants are. Also, friends were able to set me up tutoring 1 on 1. I currently tutor a kid Tony and he’s this really cool little 5 year old. Yesterday, we ended up talking about Spiderman, Iron Man and Captain America for about 45 mins to 1 hour. When the parents came out to pay me, they gave me an extra 100RMB because Tony really likes me. I just talked about Superheros and their super powers all day and got paid!!! What!?!?!??! This is so cool!!!!!
It wasn’t an easy decision.
3. Funny Nuances
There’s just so many places in Beijing. It’s massive. The whole kids with split pants to poop anywhere makes me laugh. I’ve come to accept the hacking of throat to be my kind of rooster call in the morning. No dryer in the apartment also has me hanging my clothes. I’ve really come to terms with living with less and it’s not like I’m slumming it by any means. I also went to a Mandarin speaking jiujitsu class which was on the 2nd floor of a supermarket…. I had to walk through the supermarket to go upstairs….by the time the class ended, the market closed and I had to take the fire escape back down. It was full on ridiculous. Even more ridiculous than the children’s play mat puzzle pieces used as a our rolling mat.
Dislikes about China
It doesn’t even matter what I dislike about China because coming here was a kick-ass experience overall. The only deciding factor that I’m leaving this country in mid-Nov is only because of pollution and that I didn’t want to experience Winter. I’ve had enough -40s in my life that I didn’t want to feel cold anymore.
I have 3 weeks lefts of class and then I write my HSK – Level 3 for my Chinese proficiency. I’m pretty stoked/nervous/ everything above. It’s like my way of showing my progress from June until now (Oct) – 5 months of steadily learning Chinese. I want to keep the learning going – who knows, I just might when I’m abroad.
I do know that I want to do a kickboxing/jiujitsu training camp in Thailand. Beijing has been terrible for the waist line with the constant eating of carbs and the drinking of beers. It’s a good life. Everything has been really good and I’m so excited for the next adventure to Xi’an > Chengdu > Kunming before I leave to Laos by December.
Guys, wish me luck! At times I feel like I’m getting separation anxiety with a city I’ve learned to call home for the past month and a bit.
Figure 1 (below): My OCD with Planning and Scheduling
Figure 2 (below): My Quick Cost Analysis to “Survive” Teaching in China
Once a business student. Always a business student.