Let Me Count the Ways…

11 Mar

Beijing, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

How the elderly dance every morning in the park outside my apartment. They are much more talented at dancing than I shall ever be. I hear the constant repetition “Yi, er, san, si” (1, 2, 3, 4)

In fact I love your outdoor dance classes happening all year round. Through freezing, cold, sticky, hot weather, there will always be a dance class.

How the people stare at me, call me beautiful and nod with understanding when I try speaking my broken Chinese.

How those same people take it upon themselves to become my teacher for the moment and I learn a new word.

I love how the city moves, constantly going, rushing, pushing, elbowing…maybe I don’t love this part as much as I did when I first arrived.

The smell; no not your pollution Beijing. I mean when I walk past the little vendors selling egg and sausage sandwiches or breakfast soup.

I love it when the weather is clear, on a glorious spring day, real air seeps into my lungs and I instantly feel lighter, happier.

Your food…I love it. But it is so unhealthy! Even your vegetables are covered in oil. But I eat it anyway because; its too hard to say “no”.

The internet here, it is amazing. I can download movies that were in theater a few months ago for free right in my own room!

Your cost of living is so very agreeable. I can save and still have a nice time without feeling as if I should be saving.

The opportunities here. I have a job that I enjoy, I have an internship in my field of study, a volunteer position and I am meeting someone new every day here. Its wonderful! I just have to learn discernment and careful planning. I constantly feel as if I’m juggling too many “possibilities”. I have a great fear that I’ll miss one and everything will crash from mid-air; I would be left with nothing Beijing.

Your transportation. I love how I can navigate it so easily without having to consult someone.

Your language. I can understand Chinese somewhat now and I know that means quite a lot for me, for others it might not be enough, but its good enough for me Beijing…good enough for me.

Stress. I don’t love this Beijing. I used to have two gray hairs that I found occasionally if I looked hard enough. Now I have about ten, and they’re easy to spot. And you can argue back with “genetics”. I could agree with you, but then I know that gray hairs come with either stress or time. I’ve not been here that long…that leaves one option. Its not just genetics Beijing. But this is not a list of what I don’t love, this is a list of what I do…

I’m challenging myself to think positively of you Beijing. We’re enduring some turbulence in our relationship so I’ve decided to be proactive, I want to love you.

Conclusion? There are many many many things I dislike about you my dear Beijing. But I’ll list them when I’m angry it’ll make for better writing. But there are many things I enjoy; even love about you. What we have is known as “the sweet & sour, love/hate” relationship. It isn’t craved, but it isn’t something to disdain either.

Beijing, how do I love thee?
I love thee with a love I lose,
I love thee with my breath,
Smiles, my tears and hardship of life…and if it must be
I shall but love thee better after death.

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