Sunday, August 19, 2007

Expat Life

In the over four months I've been here, I haven't had too much trouble adjusting to living in Beijing.

OK - I am still struggling with being understood with my broken Putonghua, but that will come with time and practice.

And I am getting used to paying for my gas, electricity and water in weird and wonderful ways.

But the hardest thing so far for me has been meeting people, particularly expatriates.

Maybe it's because I'm not 10 years younger and hitting the bars and clubs every weekend. Or that I'm not living in the centre of town.

Many of the of the foreigners I meet are in their mid to late 20s or early 30s, still eager to party. They mostly come from Australia, the UK and a few from the United States. And with them they bring their insecurities.

I must admit at times I have a hankering to complain about the way the Chinese do things. But sometimes I feel like other expats take it one step further and have to constantly show off their superiority, or they are somehow better than me - be it money, skill, language or marital status.

And they tend to congregate in cliques that are hard to penetrate.

At times I want to shout, "Hey people! We're all from somewhere else, so can we just all play together?"

But at the same time, as my friend in the US likes to say: "Expats are like cheese. There are all different types, so you have to select them carefully, according to your own personal tastes. And a lot of them just stink, and so you don't want to indulge in those types, because the smell can stick to you."


ks said...

' birds of a feather flock together' be it skin color, religion, language, profession. just try to settle yourself in to the group. age does not matter that much so long as you are catching up with the current.

IheartNY said...

the best friends i made in NY were totally random. one person i met at macy's when her company was doing free facials! go out there and meet people!