Saturday, June 2, 2012

Beijing, Day 6

It's Saturday. I moved on Monday morning and this is the first time I've had to catch my breath. All week it was get up, work, go to sleep. Today I ran around looking at apartments, which is also stressful, but not quite as rapid-fire as the office. For every single lunch and dinner this week our sales manager paraded me around to meet all her big clients, which means I think I've eaten in just about every luxury hotel in town. Every meal was huge. The other night I had a 118-kuai burger, the patty was wagyu beef ground shortrib. Good Lord. Afterward I came home and looked at myself naked in the mirror (big mistake), looked like the alien life form was ready to burst forth.

Work is really busy but I don't feel overwhelmed, or perhaps each day I feel a little bit less overwhelmed. I used to really bitch in Shanghai because our office wouldn't buy paper towels for the bathroom. In my new office we have to bring our own coffee and toilet paper. No joke. Everyone keeps their own role at their desk. Whatever.  A couple years ago I would've been shocked (shocked!), now I just kind of roll my eyes and carry on grumbling.

Apartment hunting in Beijing is depressing. You get way less bang for your buck than in Shanghai. I'm determined to live within biking distance from work and work is really central which means I'll pay fatty stacks just to get something shoebox-sized that doesn't have a totally grotty kitchen or a bathroom that looks like a set piece from one of the Saw movies.

Since today is my first free time, it's also been my first time to feel homesick. Change is tough. Everything was such a whirlwind before leaving I never really thought about missing Shanghai. I have such great friends down there. Goodbyes were relatively easy because almost everyone said "oh I'll definitely be up to Beijing in the next six months," but for the few who - bless them - told me I'd have to pay them to visit Beijing, and maybe not even then (one of my self-employed consultant friends simply refuses to take work up here). I'll miss my life in Shanghai. I'll miss my neighborhood, and my friends and my Chinese teacher and my ayi and Sundays in the French Concession and TV nights at my wonderful, cozy, spacious apartment where I lived with my best friends. I walked past a movie theater today and felt like crying because I never go to movies without James. He's in Halong Bay right now with my BFF Jess. It was supposed to be the three of us this summer. Oh well. I'm not too cut up about that. I try not to be.

But don't worry about me, loyal readers! (Read: Dad and Aunt Sue). I've already met a lot of nice people, friends of friends, and everyone is kind and helpful. I've already found things I like about Beijing. The people are friendlier than in Shanghai, there's a different energy up here, a lot of art going on and it'll be an adventure getting to know it all. Now I'm off to dinner with my favorite monied Chinese nationalist. She always has great stories.


Ydal Nuf said...

I knew which shoes they would be without clicking on the link, but it was fun to re-read their history.

Leslie said...

Well then, you sir count as a loyal reader!