Recently Beijing had a full week of truly blue skies – amazing! Blue sky days bring hope to the grey days. Blue sky days are a reminder that grey is not the way life should be.
I have written about the Great Wall before, but mostly in general. Today I am writing about one particular section of the wall – Badaling. My parents visited in 1983, I first visited in 1999, and most recently in 2012. Comparing the photos is fun!
A year ago today I said goodbye to China. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been so long! I still feel connected to China and leap at any opportunity to talk about China. Here are some things I miss about Beijing, but ALSO things I am loving about Sydney. It’s important to acknowledge what I’ve lost while also appreciating what I’ve gained.
Tiantan is a large temple complex and one of my favourite tourist spots in Beijing. I’ve seen it in dusted with snow, full of blossoms, shrouded by pollution, and sparkling in sunlight. I love the peaceful stands of trees, the beautiful old temples, and also the chaotic noise of many groups of (usually older) people doing exercises or enjoying music together.
Today is Chinese new year’s eve! It’s such a fun time of year to be in China and it’s strange not to be there – a reminder that I really have started a new season of my life. This is actually the first time in ten years that I am outside China for Chinese new year! Here is a collection of those stories I’ve written about Chinese new year and its various traditions.
After ten years living in the thick air of Beijing, I still remember not only what smog looks like, but what it FEELS like. There are physical consequences to breathing smog (which I suspect has affected my health more than I care to know), but there is also an emotional impact to living in a darkened world.
A lot of people have made comments along the lines of “but you’ll be back”. I hope that’s true, but I don’t know for sure. It’s important to me that I close this chapter well, that I don’t leave things hanging. I need this to be a real ending.
My third year in China had highs and lows, but I wasn’t going through the tumult alone. And while there was pain, challenge, disappointment, stress and strain – it was all laying a foundation for who I would be in the years that followed.
The modern hukou system started in 1958 to register citizens and control migration between rural and urban areas. The government has started changes to these restrictions, but many Beijingers are prejudiced against rural citizens.
This year ANZAC Day comes with terrible timing, but it’s important to me to go to the Dawn Service at the Australian embassy one last time. While I’ll be groaning when I get up in the morning, I know I’ll be glad I went.
Spring is more than new life – it is hope. Knowing that new life waits under bare surfaces is the hope that sustains through Winter. Life is the same. The knowledge that things will not always be this way keeps us going through hard times.
I was surprised by how many people were intently staring at hand held touch screens of personal electronics. 75% of the people in our full subway car were looking at a screen – most playing games or watching TV dramas.