adam was in beijing this past weekend. we got him a bicycle too so now we are both mobile! it's strange - everyone who doesn't own a bike thinks i'm crazy. after all, NO ONE bikes in Beijing in the winter. except that there are tons of bikes on the road. however - i am the only ONE person in the city with a bike helmet. Nice to be unique in in a country of 1.1 billion people.
i also learn this weekend that when you date someone, not only do you get the fun of being with them, but also you get the added bonus of having all your 'favorite' sport teams pre-selected for you. now i know my favorite teams are the Cleveland Indians and the Cleveland Browns (uhh is that american football?). I don't like the Ravens and my favorite English Premier League teams are Arsenal and Chelsea. However, i stand firm when it comes to national football (soccer) teams. My favorite is still Argentina and no amount of dating is going to change that!
i bought myself a bike this weekend. a real beauty of a bike with no gears and no strings or whistles attached. yesterday when i woke up it was snowing outside. i decided to brave the ride to work regardless and here is what i learnt:
1) buses often do not stop before turning right on red lights
2) in fact buses (and smaller vehicles) often just drive through red lights
3) people drive in all directions and
4) everyone else in beijing seems oblivious to the dangers of bicycling.
today, it was blue skies and sunshine when i got up. nevertheless, on my way to work i stopped in at the local bicycle store and equipped myself with:
a) a bell (necessary to warn slow riders to get out of my way)
b) a light (so that i am somewhat visible at night) and
c) a helmet (to protect what little i have in my brain).
i now realise that i am the ONLY person in beijing to wear a bicycle helmet. hooray for leading edge!
I have officially moved to Beijing. Finally. My contract is for one year, but in my mind ... this is the beginning of a new adventure and I have yet to decide where I want to be at the end of it.
I do have several goals in mind - the biggest of which is to become fluent in Mandarin. Smaller goals include playing ultimate frisbee better, finishing the website for my mom's charity, and trying to work out what I want to be doing in a year.
In light of that - it seemed a reasonable time to start up my blog again, and to document the trials and tribulations of moving to Mainland China. However, to my disappointment (?), my move thus far has gone exceptionally smoothly.
There was the minor frustration of having to register myself at the local Security Bureau twice because they got my name wrong the first time, but I hold myself responsible for not checking all my documentation carefully. Then of course there was the difficulty of getting my Mac connected to the internet, but a small investment in a wireless router seems to have solved my problems. It doesn't answer the question - "Why does Apple equipment (Macbook & Airport Express) not work with China Netcom?" but at least I'm on line. Finally, there was my minor bout with food poisoning on my birthday, but luckily Adam was in town for the weekend and was lovely enough to take care of me.
As for living arrangements, I took over the lease for a friend's apartment since she moved back to HK and the place is great. It has two bedrooms, a decent kitchen, a balcony (although it's been too cold to go outside) and best of all, heated floors.
It is centrally located, close enough to work and tucked away in a side street away from all the noise. I bought a bicycle over the weekend, and am excited to start biking to work to avoid the rush hour traffic jams.
Open call for visitors at this point!