Rewind 10 months ago I landed in Beijing with a some expectations. As one of the most populated cities in the world, I half expected the streets to be shoulder to shoulder with people and every building to be a sky scrapper. To my surprise, this wasn’t the case. Of course the streets are busy, but no more so than any populated city in the UK. Of course there are sky scrappers but again, no more than you would find in certain cities in the UK. But with time, I came to truly appreciate the size of Beijing. Lets just say, you can be driving for a few hours and you’re still in Beijng!!
Fred, the Foreign Headmaster picked me up at the hotel I had been staying (I arrived a few days earlier than others, through my own choice) and brought me to Shijingshan, a district west to central Beijing. I was taken to my apartment in an area known as Rongjingcheng. Rongjingcheng consists of a series of high rise apartments in different complexes, that all have the same exterior. I remember my first day vividly, my future housemate was still on holiday, I had yet to sort my foreign SIM card out. I decided to go for a walk which lasted 5 minutes for the fear of getting lost.
The apartment itself is lovely. Very spacious with two good size double bedrooms, living area, bathroom and kitchen. To my surprise, there was no oven in the kitchen. My intention of cooking regularly soon evaporated. Thankfully though, there are lots of restaurants within a short walking distance, all of which are Chinese!!! If like me, you crave pizza or KFC from time to time, there are many apps that will deliver such food to your door which is a god send in winter!!!
I live in one of the smaller complexes but some of the larger ones have fantastic communal gardens which in warmer months are lovely. Its not uncommon to come across Chinese people doing their group exercises, such as dancing or Tai Chi. Also, during the warmer months little street venders selling fruit and vegetables pop up in such areas.
Rongjingcheng is around one mile away from the nearest subway station. In spring and autumn it’s a pleasant walk that takes around 20 minutes, however from experience during summer said walk can result in you dripping in sweat and in winter, well its just freezing. The nearest bus stop is a 10 minute walk for me, the buses come very regularly and are very, very cheap. Alternatively, you can MoBike to and from the station. MoBike is a bike sharing app and again, costs very little and can cut your journey time in half.
A vast majority of the other FTs all live in within this area which is great for socializing. Whether it be going for food after work, ordering in and gossiping or having a roof top gathering (party) the possibilities are endless. Rongjingcheng is a community within a community and a great place to live.