10 Signs You’re Thriving in Beijing as An Expat

PicMonkey CollageA year ago on October 3, I moved to Beijing. Even though I had visited Beijing many times before that, I still had little idea of what to expect when actually living here. A year has almost passed and I must say I think I’m doing pretty well. I know my ways around, know where to get things I need, know how to negotiate with people, etc. And these are my observations of 10 signs that show you’re thriving here:

1. You have almost the same number of WeChat friends and Facebook friends.

2. You buy things from Taobao or WeChat store instead of eBay or Amazon.

3. You know the streets better than half of the taxi drivers.

4. You have a mask in your backpack and can just pull it out anytime.

5. You have tried multiple brands of VPN and finally settled with one that works best.

6. You complained when the subway fee rose from 2 RMB flat to 2 – 6 RMB depending on the distance.

7. You cheer with all your heart when there’s blue sky just like during APEC.

8. You call taxis on cell phone app “Didi” and pay with your fingerprint instead of waiting on the side of the street and searching in your pocket for cash.

9. You know to ask for no chicken powder and no MSG every time you go out to eat.

10. Even though there’re so many crazy weird things happening in this city, you still miss Beijing whenever you’re away because it holds a special place in your heart.

Beijing is crazy. Polluted. Congested. Overwhelming. It’s also beautiful, alive, vibrant, and inspiring. It’s a mix of the old and the new, the bright and the dark, the rich and the poor, the west and the east. I’m so lucky to have the chance to experience life here and it humbles me to see how no matter where we came from, we’re all trying to thrive and live a meaningful life.

p.s. oops I guess there’s one more sign – you start calling everyone “dear” 😛

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