A whole lot bigger

Never in the world could I have imagined enough scenarios about my move to China to have anticipated this one. I’ve been here a week and a half, and I’m still a bit lost in the clouds. Beijing is gigantic, happening, and muggy beyond belief. My first week here was marked by various sorts of detoxification and toxification: sweating from all pores and orifices, readjusting to a formally hospitable environment, and dealing with dirt, dust and tragically underrated air pollution. Yesterday, the air finally cleared, the temperature dipped below 30C, I could see mountains in the skyline, and even some stars at night.

…I am a sucker for these things.

I have to say, for all my recourse, that I rather like it here. My host mom, who the neighbors have dubbed Zhang Zong (since she owns a variety of businesses and is always running busily between her stores) and I have affectionally dubbed Ayi, is pretty fantastic. She’s gorgeous, and successful, and busy: the way I like life to be lived. She has a thirteen year old son Baofeng, who I drag most places with me to prevent becoming lost. This was all expected, and described in detail by HHS Center, but what I did not expect was the largeness of the extended family I had moved into. On the first floor lives Xiaolu Ayi’s family, who are also hosting an au pair: Matthias, from Germany. Our families hang out all the time; in fact, I can barely count the days in which we haven’t seen each other…because there aren’t any.

The other day, Ayi took us out for a welcome dinner, and we ate hot pot, even though it’s the middle of summer and no additional steam source was necessary.


Location: Beijing, China

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