What does it feel like for anexpat to leave Beijing?
As a North American who has lived in Beijing forseveral years, what does it feel like to move back to the US or Canada?
Charlie Flint 【 赞（259）获赞最多的答案】
Isuppose it depends on how you feel about Beijing, and how long you were there.
I was in BJ for over 5 years, from late 2007 until early 2013. Moved backto the US not because of any lingering issue withChina - although the smog, lack of taxis, increasing cost of living, etc allplayed a part - but because I found a better paying job stateside. Moneytalks, at least for me.
I miss Beijing everyday. I miss the vibrancy of Ol'Chokey. I miss the hustle and bustle andfeeling that on any given day, anything could happen (good or bad). Imiss the booming, if chaotic, restaurant, bar and livemusic scenes. I miss the food - obviously the Chinese food - the tons ofamazing regional cuisines (whereas here in the US, more often than not, its alljust "CHINESE FOOD" mostly made up of kung pao chicken, sweet n' sourpork, and all the other Americanized dishes)... but also the large selectionthat living in a booming international metropolis brings - great French,Italian, Latin, etc, etc that you don't get in the US except inthe biggest and most metropolitan cities like NY, SF or others.
Most ofall I miss the default camaraderie that comes with being anexpat. You meet people and instantly have a common bond that makes iteasy to strike up a conversation, make friends, and have people to do stuffwith. Back in the states its freaking hard to meet people and makefriends. There's just not that same sense of common ground that you havewith other foreigners in BJ. You have to actively hunt out groups -parents usually find friends through their kid's classmates or after schoolactivities, I know people who've joined Meet-Upsaround subjects they find interesting to try to meet folks, etc. But ingeneral, its just harder.
My Chinese wife and I go to the part of Atlanta that's heavy with Chineseexpatriates, restaurants and businesses nearly every weekend. There's a huge grocery store that is just likebeing back in China - its loud, packed with pushing and shoving people, smellsfunny... just like back in Beijing. You couldn't have paid me to go to aCarrefour on a Sunday afternoon in BJ - it's chaos embodied. Here, I LOVEit. It feels like "home." I often tell my wife that myfavorite moments here are in that crowded store, getting bumped around by some'lao taitai' as I pass the stinky tofu stand.
Oh yeah- when I go out to dinner and want another beer, or ketchup for my fries, orthe check... I miss screaming "FUYUAN!" at the top of my lungs, andinstead having to wait politely for someone to happen by.
Enjoy the experience while you can. You'll undoubtedly cherish it whenyou do eventually return stateside. China gets into your blood and itssomething that never comes out. In a few years, when its time to job huntagain, I'll look at China again and see what opportunities exist. And itsvery much a part of my long-term retirement plans.
I thinkthis will probably vary so much from person to person that you're less likelyto get an actualanswer than to get a range.Here's my data point:
I first visitedBeijing when I was 18 and fresh out of high school, and moved there right afterI'd turned 20. My first visit to Beijing was for a summer study program atBeida, and it happened to be a week or two after it was announced that the cityhad won the right to host the 2008 Olympics. For the next seven years there wasan incredible excitement and optimism to the city, a sense that anything waspossible. I haven't found that to be the case in the post-Olympics Beijing, butit's entirely possible and maybe even probable that the problem is with me.
I leftBeijing on August 1, 2013, and have been back in a major-ish East Coast US citysince then. (Philadelphia.)
I miss food. I miss being surrounded by 北京話 -- thoughthese days that's rarely even thecase in Beijing anymore, and in any event I'm still pretty immersed inChinese back here in the States. Once the weather gets warmer I'll probablymiss some of the nicer features of spring in Beijing, but there isn't a wholelot to miss about Beijing winters other than the 糖葫蘆.
I miss friends -- but many of myfriends, Chinese and foreign, are leaving Beijing too, or have already left, orhave been priced out or smoked out or forced out by tightening visa policies.There are places I miss -- but there's no chance of returning to many of those,either: one of them got knocked down in late 2005; another few changed unalterablybetween about 2007 and 2010. I miss the city that I fell in love with in 2001and 2003 and 2005, but it's been gone for a long time, and the city that tookits place is, I think, a lot less lovable.