Adventures of Life in Beijing


As we prepare to move to Beijing,  I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about what to bring and what to get rid of.

I follow the advice of best-selling author and organizational guru Marie Kondo, sorting my possessions to find the ones that spark joy: gifts given by new-found friends waiting for us in China,

treasures and drawings made by my sons,


and of course my orchids, which I love.


I’ll miss my orchids. Who wants to adopt them?

But some of those things will have to stay behind. You see, I’m trying really hard to travel light. I want to live this experience, to take in all of the new sights, sounds (and yes, even the smells) of ex-pat China living. If I am too heavily laden with baggage, like my favorite coffee and preconceived notions of how things should be,  I risk missing out on new experiences, like learning to drink tea. Expectations often lead to disappointment, and stereotypes act as barries to forming new relationships.

Instead, I want my suitcase to be filled with a sense of adventure, an open mind and lots of patience. I’ll also be bringing my strong faith and a sense of humor, packed right between the smog masks and a few good jars of face cream.

I’ll need to bring boldness to try new things, like getting on a bus even if I’m not sure where it’s going, or ordering a basket of dumplings with mystery filling.

No idea what’s in them, but they smell good!

Flexibility will help me accept changing rules, adapt to different ways of thinking and wedge myself onto the almost-full subway.

Curiosity will entice me to buy one of those little white jars and discover a new favorite yogurt drink, and nudge me out of my comfort zone to ask questions and interact with strangers.

Yogurt is a popular street snack, along with candied Hawthorne.

I also want to leave room to bring some things back, like new friends, priceless memories and a tolerance for spicy foods.

Meat skewers dipped in chili powder

Acquiring functional  Mandarin skills and cute new shoes (in a size 5 1/2) would be a bonus too.

What would you bring if you were moving 8,000 miles away?





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