Beijing Spirit

Posted on by Scott Ferguson

Why I Love Beijing

Chinese and Westerners both ask, what did I really think about living in China?

The truth is I loved living in Beijing. I loved the people, I loved the food, I loved the sense of possibility there—the feeling anything is possible. Chinese people mostly were warm, honest, smart, and pragmatic, though encounters with uncaring, ruthless, self-centered, or infuriating persons were not uncommon.

Favorite Things in ChinaI loved feeling anything could happen every day, never knowing what I might see when I rounded the next corner. Surprises were a daily occurrence—sometimes good, sometimes challenging.   An invitation to share hotpot was awesome, waiting two hours to exchange money at a small bank less so.

Living in China isn’t for everyone. To live in China as a foreigner requires a certain open mindedness and flexibility–in personality and in ways of doing things. Even more when travelling beyond Beijing and Shanghai.

Scott Ferguson - Life in BeijingChina can wear people down. Expecting a scheduled event to occur without a glitch was like making a date with discontent whether it was meeting for dinner, picking up train tickets, or taking a late night taxi. I tried to live the Boy Scout’s motto: be prepared. Challenging times allowed me to practice being patient and smiling.

I miss the giggle of one Chinese friend, the sincerity of another, the Chinese accents of one who learned British English and another who learned from an Australian. I miss the smile of my teacher. I miss the sounds of people chattering, chaotic crowds, and shuffling across the street en masse. I miss riding the subway, sometimes wandering around lost yet confident I could find my way.

Stepping Of the GrindI miss sharing piles of food at a table of 8 friends, eating, laughing, and drinking for hours together, as well as spontaneous dinners of fiery Sichuan food, giant bottles of beer, steamed buns and dumplings with spicy vinegar, and grilled meat on a stick.

I miss the quaintness of the little hutong (alley) on which I lived, the daily wave from the chubby man, amazed looks when I bartered in Chinese. I miss the joy of blue sky days, the beautiful flowers and parks, the respect shown to elderly.

I even miss the curious stares from rural Chinese unaccustomed to seeing foreigners.

For sure there are things I don’t miss, but no need to focus on that. I love the people, I love the food, I love the energy. China’s spirit and vigor remind me of America’s roaring 20’s. For me, it was easy to catch the Beijing spirit.



Life in BeijingScott Ferguson - Why I love Beijing Expat Life in Beijing Chinese Spirit Living in China Living in China Moving to China Scott Ferguson Expat Life

This entry was posted in On China. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2014 Scott Ferguson. All rights reserved. Site design by Smart Author Sites... Websites for Authors.