Monday, August 23, 2010

I just moved to China

So I just moved back to China last Monday.

I know, I know. I moved back to China last June right? Yes. But, no.

The part of town where we lived this last year was a bit of Chinese utopia. It was sort of China lite. There were very few people, little street traffic or food vendors. There was a lack of blatant staring at the foreigners, local restaurants and stores, or unexpected nasty smells. There was an overabundance of luxury SUVs and a shortage of bicycles. It was green and clean. In short, it wasn't typical.

You wouldn't think that moving to a part of town where the opposite of these things being true would be desirous, and I'll admit, it will take some adjustment. But the other night, our family ate Muslim food on the street at the bottom of our building, then I got a 15Y haircut a few doors down. The other morning I saw a guy sitting on a rickety stool, sketching some trees. There are old men who gather at one corner to play ma jiang each day. There's food everywhere. People are curious and friendly. The produce market down the street is gigantic (and I'm told it's the "smaller" one). Within walking distance of my house I can find a dry cleaner, hair salon, restaurants, convenience stores, pharmacy, vet, and I'm sure hosts of other things I'd never imagine I need right here.

Sure, the unabashed staring will get old, as will the fact that it can take about 15 minutes to travel from our north gate to the stoplight two blocks away because people make it a free for all in terms of how many lanes they make (and which direction they flow). But last night as we walked back from a friend's house, we bought a bag of street popcorn for 3Y and thought, "This is going to be fun."

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