Just Living Abroad is the Adventure


Day 2 in Beijing

The kids were jet-lagged and I was the first one to stumble out of bed with them, so I’d been up for four hours already when my husband woke. I’d had two cups of coffee, built a tower or two with LEGOS, watched “My Neighbor Totoro” and managed to throw some breakfast together from the basic shopping trip we did after arriving at our new home.

The kids were doing their own thing for once, so I sat at our table, planner and Lonely Planet Beijing in front of me, and started doing what I do best: planning.

By the time that Dan groggily walked out, so tired and still so excited that finally, we’re here, I had ten places picked out for our first adventure in Beijing together.

I poured him an Americano that I’d fashioned from the Nespresso and microwave our apartment came with. He took one sip and proceeded to make himself a Via from his business trip stash.

Great. Now that he’s up, we can figure out what to do today! I start rattling off cool places we could go - museums, parks, restaurants I’d found. He stares a bit blankly and mostly interacts with the kids. After about five minutes where I talk to myself and get no input whatsoever from anyone in the room on what sounds good to them, Dan sits next to me and says, “Listen. Your talk of where to go today is stressing me out. We’re here. After four years of planning and wondering and setbacks - we’re here. Let’s just be here a minute.”

Right. We’re here. To live, not to visit. Minimum two years. We have time to run through the Top 10 Beijing lists, then hit all the places in Lonely Planet and beyond.

We have time. That’s the point.

Why don’t I just enjoy the view, see how the kids adjust to an apartment versus a house with a big yard? We’d spent the last three weeks in a hotel resort, so describing the difference between temporarily living in a hotel and long term living in an apartment that probably still feels like a hotel to them...it’s tricky.

Most of what we need to do to live here - set up a bank account, then WeChat Pay, then get a Chinese phone number - we are scheduled to do in two days.

I close my planner. I open my eyes.

Welcome to Beijing.