After moving abroad I started compiling monthly roundup posts about life as an expat in Asia and all the nitty gritty that goes on behind the scenes here at Travel Lush. You can find all of my previous monthly roundup posts here.
Life in Beijing has taken on a routine. I’ve only been here for a little over two months, but somehow I’ve quickly settled in. It’s kind of strange how much Beijing feels like home. Living in China sounds incredibly exotic, but I can’t say my life is all that exciting. I’ve basically spent my time here working, a lot. I’ve been freelancing my ass off. I’ve been writing more than I’ve ever written. Sadly, the fact that I’m working so much means that I’ve been neglecting this blog far too much. I really need to find a better work-life-blog balance.
Working has been slightly draining but all in all it’s been good. One of the major reasons I had such a rough time living in Phnom Penh was because work was so slow. It might be a city of millions but the employment opportunities felt scarce. So I think the fact that I have been so busy in Beijing is one of the reasons I’ve adjusted to life in China so well.
When I’m not working I try my best to get out, though it’s challenging because I live so far away from the action. I am contemplating subletting an apartment downtown this summer (so if anyone has a hook up, please feel free to let me know!). I did manage to be a bit more active in April versus March, however.
I sampled some of the city’s trendy restaurants. I attended a screening for the Beijing International Film Festival and saw Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor in 3D! I’m kind of a film nerd (well, Aaron is, so that makes me one by association). For those who don’t know, The Last Emperor was filmed in Beijing in the 1980s. It was downright bizarre to see it in 3D. But it was really cool to see a historic representation of the city I’m now living in, which just so happened to be filmed in some of the amazing historic sites I’ve had the privilege of exploring since moving here. (If you’re traveling to China, I highly recommend watching this movie…just not in 3D.)
The real highlight of April was seeing all of the pretty cherry blossoms around the city. I wrote a whole post about my crazy experience viewing the flowers at one of Beijing’s many amazing parks. But to recap I’ve literally never seen so many people in one place in my life. So if you want to see some funny photos of crowds, people taking selfies and pretty trees check out that post.
Living in Beijing
There have been some frustrations. I mean I do live in China, so those are just bound to happen.
The internet: One of the most obnoxious things has been dealing with some major VPN woes last month. For those of you who don’t know, China is home to ‘The Great Firewall’, which means that sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all blocked here. It’s basically a blogger’s nightmare. So before I ever moved here I got a VPN, which makes it so I can actually access these sites. But for some reason, lately, I can’t for the life of me get onto my VPN. Which means that my social media and blogging life has been virtually non-existent.
My apartment: My once blissfully quiet apartment now seems like it’s turning into a construction zone. I was so happy when I moved in and found out we were on the top floor. After dealing with nightmarish neighbors in the past this was a welcome surprise. But now it seems like they’ve taken to doing construction on the roof above us. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been woken up by hammering and pounding on the roof.
The building directly across from us is also under construction. Guys, I hate construction. Like, it makes my blood boil. So you can imagine how dejected I became when one day I woke up to see the entire building across the way surrounded by scaffolding (see above). They haven’t started working on it yet but when they do, it’s going to be loud. I don’t want to live through any more construction projects. Yet another reason why I need to move downtown this summer!
The air: The air quality was another annoyance last month. But the weird part is that I was less put off by the bad pollution days, of which we had more than a few. It was actually the catkins that made breathing outdoors a bit of a challenge. For weeks in April the sky was filled with these little cotton ball like things. They are actually plant seeds and they look kind of like the fuzz on dandelions. It might sound like I’m exaggerating but in some places in Beijing it literally looked like it was snowing. It was so odd.
I actually traveled to a new country. Wait, does Hong Kong count as another country? Well, they might not have stamped my passport at immigration but Hong Kong felt different enough from Beijing for me that it might just be country number 31 on my travel list. I was only there for a fleeting 36 hours but I fell a little bit in love with Hong Kong. I’m going to write about my trip more in depth soon. But I had a blast just getting lost in the city’s streets, taking tons of photos and eating amazing vegetarian food.
An added bonus was that Aaron’s high school buddy lives there and we were able to meet up and have a boozy night on the town, bar hopping in the trendy Soho neighborhood and snacking our way through the city. It was so much fun and I know I’ll be back there soon. A day and half wasn’t nearly enough for Hong Kong…although my wallet was more than happy to get the hell out of there.
Also, I booked a ticket to Tokyo! I’m headed there next month and I am beyond excited. Seriously, Tokyo has been a dream, pretty much forever. If anyone has any travel tips please let me know in the comments. Because I need all the help I can get!
Due to my VPN issues, I wasn’t able to Instagram half as much as usual. But I still managed to post every so often. Here was my most popular post last month. It was my favorite photo I took in Hong Kong!
I finally had the chance to go to Hong Kong this weekend. I had no idea what to expect but I kind of fell a little bit in love. I can’t figure out how to describe that city. It’s like some sort of bizarre mix of San Francisco and Bangkok. I might have only spent a quick couple days there but I’m pretty sure I’m going to live there someday 🙂
Pin me for later!
How did you April shape up?