I love China, especially Beijing. Honestly, Beijing is my second hometown. My mom and dad fell in love and got married during their study in Beijing University, and then here came me. I spent my childhood in Beijing. Though I was living in Beijing, I attended kindergarten run by embassy because my grandmother wanted to protect me as well as she can. In this way, my life then was isolated from Beijingers.
Now I am 22, and I came back to Beijing again for graduate education. Chinese language gets more difficult as I learn more about it, but I am fascinated by China.
Back in Beijing, people sometimes call me Laowai, but I would always tell them that I am just a foreigner, not Laowai. To my understanding, the word Laowai is more or less disrespectful. In my opinion, not all foreigners living in Beijing are freaks binging drinking in Gulou and Sanlitun. Now I have made many friends form different countries who have all settled down in Beijing or Shanghai. Some of them are freelancing and some of them are working in international companies. We often share our life stories. Many of my friends like Shanghai more than Beijing, saying the European-like life there is more comfortable. One American friend told me that when there are 5 foreigners and 5 Chinese having meal together in Shanghai, they would speak English; while the same circumstance in Beijing, they would speak Chinese and he must be the worst one. Shanghai is a more westernized modern city that caters more to foreigners. Beijing welcomes people from all over the world just as Shanghai does, but meanwhile, she still keeps her traditions.
Beijing is different from the one I remembered in my childhood. Beijing on the 1990s had fewer factories, private companies and education was not expensive. Today, China has become the second largest economy in the world and Chinese people become wealthy as well. But Chinese, Beijingers in particular, didn’t abandon their tradition while developing economy. Beijing is a young and energetic city with long history and she comes with myriad tastes.
Last September, I came to University of International Business and Economics for study and this is my 8th visit to Beijing. Famous touristic destinations don’t attract me anymore since I’ve been to almost all of them, let alone the famous Palace Museum. I have visited there 5 times. Now, I prefer to see the places where local Beijingers would go on weekends and at these places, I can experience the real Beijing. One who has never been to Huilongguan, Dahongmen or the 5th ring road can’t call him or herself a Beijing Tong—someone who know Beijing very well. They are the places where you can see old people playing Chinese chess while others quietly sitting and resting under the trees. There are kids who do not speak English and many traditional dishes that are both tasty and economical. People here still follow many traditions. They are rich in spirit and sincere.
I find life in Beijing fantastic!
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