Time heals all wounds. It also helps to see familiar faces and hear familiar voices. Yesterday morning I hit a new low. I knew that I could only go up and I did. I got out and about, ate lunch, rode my bike to a unique networking event where I actually knew one of the people because we had met a week earlier at a fashion exposition. I made a new friend with whom I shared dinner after the event. At dinner I noticed a young woman with blonde hair whom I had met ten days prior at my Mandarin school and I had even seen her four days prior at another networking event. What caught my attention was the gentleman speaking with a Dallas, Texas accent. I inquired, his eyes grew large and he responded with a confused “yes.” I love being able to pick accents out of a crowd.
The dinner was fine but my company at dinner made me remember that there are truly wonderfully lovely people out in the world. I hope to share (at least) another meal with last night’s dinner companion…..soon!
On another note- I’ll have gorgeous beach and water photos in a few days.
The phone call that I took this morning did more than sting. I broke into a full on (9 year old boy) cry when I hung up the phone. My best friend in Beijing told me we could not be friends anymore. His wife, the mother of his two young children, gets a bad feeling about me and she prefers that we discontinue our relationship. Out of respect for this guy whom I really like, his kids, and his wife, whom I have only met twice in person, I agreed to discontinue the friendship.
That phone call hurt and hopefully, (I know) with time, I will not feel so sad, lonely, and beat up. It came like a punch in the belly. Sometimes I get a tremendous sense of loneliness in Beijing. Right now happens to be one of those times.
I spent my entire adult life in central Texas until April 2010. I never imagined that a move out of Austin would suit me as well as it has done so far. With my unique job I find it unnecessary to call any one place home. This week I call Beijing my home. With my regular hiking group, regular Mandarin lessons, and regular coffee shop visits I have routine. Routine allows me to feel “normal.” Friends come and go. In Beijing as in Austin, making friends takes time, effort, and openness. I enjoy challenges. I have the time, I enjoy putting in the effort, and I am open when I need to be. The cold weather creates larger challenges (to me) than the language barrier. I prepare for the language differences. Sure, I prepare for the cold weather but it differs so much from my central Texas climate. When the temperature drops to freezing and below back in Texas, I get in the car and then go into a building. Here, I bike or walk for half an hour or more, then walk some more. With that kind of activity I must prepare accordingly. It’s very different.
With the approaching holiday, folks (200 million of them) plan to move around the country. Traditionally, ( I am learning) folks go back to see their families for a solid week or more during the lunar new year. Businesses close down for weeks at a time. This will be my first Chinese new year in China so I have been instructed to stay in Beijing to experience it once. Next year I imagine I’ll leave the country for a few weeks along with many other people.
I have been dancing a bit lately. I really enjoy dancing. It’s great exercise and it’s f-u-n fun. I am also trying to get out and swim on a regular basis.
New Years eve started out like any other day. I spent time reading and knocking out some computer work at a local Starbucks. I finalized my evening plans around 4:30 in the afternoon. I enjoyed some pizza and salad with a friend and her two children before heading out to the art district know as 798 for a party with 2,000 of my friends. We danced for a few hours, yelled happy new year and then safely went home.
Saturday January 1, 2011 fell on a Saturday so our hiking was pushed to Sunday, the second. We started the hiking with a visit to the Jetai Temple for some reason related to the new year… I think. We then visited a familiar hiking place for a short (less than two hours) hike up and down a fairly steep mountain.
One of the most exciting events of 2011 for me involves my new park pass. I really am local now that I have my very own pass. Last year I paid 40rmb or 50 rmb many times to get into parks for hiking. Now, with my very own id I am free to go as I please without paying any more money. This pleases me. This is one more reason I am having such a great time here.