Last April when I announced my decision to move to Beijing, China from Houston, Texas I was congratulated by most of my friends and family, but I was also questioned. Everyone seemed curious to know more about this decision I had made. Since then, the questions really haven’t stopped. In fact, people are more curious now, which is no surprise because living in China is drastically different from living in Texas. Typically, I keep my answers short and sweet. Sometimes it’s too loaded to reveal every thought and emotion. My go-to response has been, “Life is great! I love it here!”. Which is true, life is awesome right now, and I do love it, but there’s always more to the story. Below are some frequently asked questions from friends and family members about my current situation in Beijing. Hopefully I can reveal more through these honest answers!
Was moving to China scary?
I remember getting asked “are you scared?” a lot in the upcoming weeks before my move. My answer was, no. I was honestly more anxious about what I was getting myself into, rather than scared of moving to a new country. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I asked myself, “Where will I live? How will I like my new job? Will I like my new friends?” These thoughts made me anxious, but not scared. In fact, I was more scared of not moving, for I would have regret in the future.
Do you miss living in Texas?
Texas is a one of a kind place to live in and I can’t wait to go back to visit, but living abroad is a new and exciting adventure everyday. What I miss the most are the people and things I left behind; my friends, family, cats, and favorite foods. I’m very happy where I live right now, but some days I want to drive myself to Chick-Fil-A, or go shopping with my mom at Urban Outfitters. I’ve had to trade in coffee dates with friends for FaceTime dates. It’s not quite the same, but it’ll do for now. UGH, I just miss my people like crazy! Texas- you rock too, but I don’t think you’re going anywhere anytime soon.
What is it like being a foreigner?
I am reminded each day that I am an outsider here; every time I order a coffee, ride the subway, walk the streets, shop, need to find a restroom, or take a step outside my front door. Some days it’s exciting, some days it’s annoying, and some days it’s intimidating. China is a relatively homogeneous society, which means most people who live here are ethnically and culturally similar. As an American foreigner I am drastically different than almost every person I come in contact with on a daily. For starters, most people don’t speak much, if any, english. Chinese food is nothing like American Chinese food. I can’t drink my sink water. I don’t have a clothes drying machine. I can’t use social media unless I use my VPN (Virtual Private Network). Chinese people prefer to use squat toilets (yes, you squat). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Have you gotten homesick?
Three months after being here I went on a vacation to Thailand with a large group of friends. When our two-week vacation was coming to an end, I was ready to get back home and into my normal schedule again. I was struck with the realization that I wasn’t returning home-home and that I was returning to Beijing. Beijing was my new “home”… what!? That’s when homesickness hit me! Since then, I have settled in nicely and have started seeing this place as a new (temporary) home, so no more homesickness!
To all my friends and family reading this – I miss you so much! Thank you for supporting my decisions and letting me live out this adventure! You are all so important to me! I’ll see you soon!
Keep an eye out for future posts if you are curious about my adventure in Asia!