This week marks my second anniversary in Beijing.
In some ways time has flown by, but in others, it's been a long journey.
I had hoped to leave Beijing around this time, but the global financial crisis has forced all of us to rethink our plans. For me hunkering down in the Chinese capital proved to be a good choice. With a new job and new apartment closer in town, hopefully my social life will kick up a notch.
However, it's already evident that my new job eerily feels like my first one (see previous posting "Power Struggle") and I won't have much to do. Nevertheless, I intend to make the most of my time in the office perfecting the art of looking busy...
All is not lost. I do try to periodically wander the city or revisit places as if it's my last time so there are no regrets. I still take visitors to my favourite restaurants and savour every bite.
Maybe it's because I know Beijing isn't really my kind of city, but am trying to enjoy it for what it is. I've now accepted the overwhelming size of the place, with its monstrous buildings hovering over us having to walk for ages to cover one block.
But it's my local friends who have really given me more insight into China and the city. One has recently been so helpful in helping me find the best route to get to work and home each day. After lunch we wander around the office, checking out the bus stops to see which bus would be best for me.
And while I don't know Beijing off the back of my hand, I can get around by public transit quite confidently and find my bearings. I prefer taking the bus to see where I'm going and notice landmarks along the way. Bus fare is also only 0.40RMB.
Language is still a challenge, as Beijingers constantly roll their r's creating their own dialect. However, I'm understanding more and recognizing more Chinese characters. It's an ongoing process that gives me more confidence as I increase my vocabulary.
I still can't follow a news broadcast because the anchors talk so fast, but once I know the context I can figure out what is being said.
So I'm looking at this upcoming year as possibly my last in Beijing. I don't know for sure, but it could be. I'm still keen to explore new places, try new eateries and meet new people. I haven't tired of the city yet, which is probably a sign more adventures are ahead.