So I’m in Beijing.
And I want to be all like, “oh, this smog is like some pretty mist like in a fairy tale, blah, blah, blah,” as usual, but I just can’t do it.
Because I sort of don’t like Beijing.
I really miss Shanghai.
Snap. I feel as though I ought to have whispered that or something so that the city doesn’t hear. Beijing seems slightly- insecure, as though it knows it’s dirty and unpolished, and this knowledge has manifested itself into some sort of inferiority complex, running just beneath the surface. If it could talk, it would say, “Alright! I know I’m not pretty and fun and cosmopolitan like Shanghai, but I’m cultured! And old! And…the Olympics were here!” But like the brainy bookish sister in countless TV movies, her outspoken opinions sway no one-especially not her lovely sister, Shanghai. No, she’s too busy flipping her hair and winning everyone over to really care.
But here’s the thing: the Beijing’s overwhelming cons add up to one big pro.
Essentially: It’s not Shanghai. It doesn’t glitter, there’s no skyline, the weather isn’t tolerable. Here, there’s very, very few distractions and comparatively little Western influence. Coupled with a program that runs like butter (Associated Colleges in China/Hamilton & Minzu University), this gray, serious, sensible kind of place will make me a better Chinese speaker. After two weeks here, I can already see improvement.
Which is why I love Beijing.
More later, darlings. I must do my work, as I am, after all, a sophisticated, responsible adult who does these things. A better, longer, more inspired update will hopefully be coming soon.
I love you.