Monday, July 1, 2013

Out and About in Beijing: Thoughts

Photo by Ronnie Macdonald on Flickr, used via Creative Commons license.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my time in Beijing... rather, the time I've spent in my sister's house in Beijing, rather than out in the city proper. That time far exceeds the time spent in the city, and after talking with a good friend of mine, I realized what a great opportunity I've been missing out on. And I have no one to blame but myself and my anxieties.

What if I get lost?

What if I get pickpocketed?

What if I get mugged?

I'm scared about going out into a strange city by myself!

Total Control over Life= Illusion

All of these are legitimate fears, of course, but if I stay alert and prepared (phone with my sister's number, extra cash, etc), I think I will have done all I can about those fears. I can't control every outcome of my life. Do I want to stay huddled up indoors, scared of my own shadow, and not take a chance on an adventure?

I mean, seriously. Girl from a college town in Texas gets to go to China... not once, but twice. Doesn't learn any Chinese the first time, doesn't try to explore the city, either. The second time is a second chance. Will she bomb that chance, too?

Helpful e-book to the rescue!

So I've been reading this e-book Serena sent me the first time I came over to China. It's called The Beijing Newcomer's Guide, written by an expat who's lived over here for about two years (at the time of the writing of the book, that is). And it's incredibly helpful... it has tips on how to navigate the bus system and how to buy groceries, for instance. There are little anecdotes of the writer's experiences here as a newcomer, herself, and most helpful are the basic Chinese phrases she included.

Along with that information and good ol' common sense, I feel a lot more prepared to go out into the city, now. I'd want to take the bus or the subway, especially because it's a busy time for my family and they're fully utilizing the drivers that they hire due to Beijing's driving laws.

Know Where to Go

Now I'll want to research places I might actually want to go to. I remember learning about an English-language bookstore or library somewhere... that's definitely high on my list. I'll also want to check out events that may be going on in the future, as well. I'll keep you guys updated on what I find out!

Your Turn!
Do you have anything you're nervous about? Do you have any tips on how to forge on through that anxiety to do what you really want to do? Share in the comments.

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