Dear reader (all four of you), today I woke up feeling worried for the first time about my upcoming adventure. And my worry was not about Chinese culture, language, food, work, school, or any other logical thing a person might worry about, but it was entirely about our house in the suburbs. Yes, my friends, we will live in a house in the suburbs and I am nervous about that.
Of course it is not by accident that we are moving there: The school is close by, you can live in a house, and your kids can bike around a cute little neighborhood. Making friends should be relatively easy, as all your neighbors speak English and are kind of like you: Expats (short for expatriates: persons living in another country than their own) living in a tiny European-American bubble just outside Beijing.
And that is the problem: We'll be just outside Beijing in a European-American bubble. How will I practice my Chinese? How to get delicious fresh noodles within five steps from my home? How to get my hair cut by a Chinese hair dresser who doesn't know curly hair?
I am afraid to report that we have opted for easiness, a good school, and the joy of living in a house and close to the school. I am sad though it will diminish our cultural experiences. In the U.S., we've always managed more or less to do like the Americans do (get overweight, get into debt... :-) ) and now we are already setting ourselves up to be somewhat separate from Beijing and its inhabitants.
On the positive end, we should blend in nicely in our new neighborhood. (I wonder if one day they'll read this blog :-) )