Moving to Beijing, by Brennan Grocholski

Moving to Beijing was quite the change of scenery for me. Previously, everywhere I had lived were small communities so the transition from small town to one the world’s biggest cities was a big change. After arriving and getting situated by the amazing Aihua team, it was time to venture out into the vastness that is Beijing. At first, I was hesitant to go out on my own as I potential of getting lost seemed quite high and I only spoke a few basic words in Chinese. The curiosity of living in a completely new city, country and culture took over quickly and I was out exploring.

I have lived in Beijing for four months now and this city is quite spectacular. There really is everything you could imagine here – from amazing public sporting facilities to some of the best food I have ever eaten. Beijing’s public transportation is also very easy and convenient to access which made the initial transition period to life in the city quite comfortable. One of my biggest concerns about moving to Beijing also turned out to not to be quite true. I thought that the vast majority of Beijing’s public areas were going to be full of people and I would have to walk amongst massive crowds of people – not true. Only once in my time here so far have I been in a huge crowd and that was at Tiananmen Square on a National holiday. For the most part, walking down most streets is no different than being back home, other than getting looked at for being a foreigner.

The most pleasant surprise and my favorite thing about Beijing is the people. The local people here are such kind-hearted people and have gone to great lengths to help me even though there is a huge language barrier. For example, I was biking to work a few months ago and my wallet fell out of my pocket without me knowing it. People on scooters and other bikes were yelling at me for a minute until I pulled over to try and figure out what was going on. Turned out, a lady behind me say my wallet fall out, stopped and picked it up and chased me down to give it back! That is what the majority of my experiences with the locals of Beijing have been like and that is why the people are my favorite part about this city.

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