It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post but I was pretty busy all that time. I was either gone for Chinese New Year, freezing my butt off in Harbin, climbing the Great Wall, or studying Mandarin. So, sorry not sorry :-)
I often get the question from friends and family: How is China? Well…. China….! China is all or nothing, it is big and small, it is loud and quiet, it is expensive and cheap, it is ugly and pretty, it is welcoming and it isn’t, etc…. I could continue this list for ever. What I want to say: there is not only black or white, and you can’t describe it with just a few words.
There are days I love China or better Beijing, the sun is often shining, you can get pretty much anything you ever dreamed of, people are nice and life is good. But on the other hand, there are days, everything is grey because of the smog, you get annoyed by the chaotic life you have, and that things usually take longer than they would at home, and on top, Mandarin is the hardest thing you have ever learned in life! Yes, there are days like this. But you don’t only have them in China but anywhere you life.
But back to the question how is China/Beijing (compared to Germany): Beijing is biiiiiiiig. I have never lived in such a big city before which makes it interesting. Just because someone else lives in Beijing, doesn’t mean she/he is close. The other day I went to dinner with a friend pretty close to where I live (looking at the map of Beijing it was “right there”) but it still took me almost an hour to get there buy subway and it was far from crossing Beijing.
Beijing is not a beautiful city in my eyes, with all it’s skyscrapers, ugly, grey, communist buildings, thousands of rundown housings and the all present dust covering whatever is not moving regularly. But, to its defense, there are many beautiful places, as the forbidden city, the different temples spread across the city and some nice parks, not forgetting the Great Wall around one to two hours outside of the city.
China is crazy and no outsider understands the whole thing. You sometimes think you got the hang of something just realizing in the next moment, that you actually didn’t. Some things just don’t make sense, like why are some accesses to the Great Walls are blocked during an important national summit and why others not?! Why is the internet better controlled at mentioned times?! Why do people not obey the rules in the traffic and no one seems to care?! So many questions but so little answers. But there is only one way how to deal with those things: acceptance!
There are many other things I could talk about when I speak about China: the amount of people you see everywhere, the crazy consumer society, stupid rules no one obeys, the air pollution, etc… but also, the friendly people, the good food, the availability of pretty much everything all day long every day, the culture, the sights, etc… This list is endless.
But, to sum things up, I am happy I get the chance to experience this city and this country. There are good days and bad days but all in all, I am very happy to be here and to meet wonderful people and see something different.