Beijing is a place that was vivid in my memory before we even stepped onto the plane in London in January 2015. When I visited China in 2010 it was a massive experience for me and it changed my life.
The first time that I had ever ventured out of Europe on my own, it started a fascination with aspects of Asian culture like the food, the drink, and the feeling of community, and cemented fascinations that I had already held from practising martial arts.
I taught in a place in eastern China called Wúxī, it’s close to Shànghǎi in Jiāngsū province. It was a difficult time in my life, after having split up with a long term girlfriend, I’d just graduated university without knowing what job I wanted to do, what I did know is that I wanted to have the best experience that I possibly could in China.
Teaching English to Chinese children was humbling and rewarding for two months, whilst I travelled to local cities on the weekend. I met a lot of amazing people, some of which we are visiting on this trip. After I finished at the school I travelled around China for a month before going home and it was Beijing that finished the trip. Whilst I was in Beijing the enormity of what I had achieved, mostly in the form of the energy that it took to achieve it, hit me. I really was tired so I spent most of the time hanging out with my friend Noelan or at the YHA hostel that I was staying at or going to see a few of the sights. I actually ended up missing my flight out of China and had to spend an extra week there which I thoroughly enjoyed.
It is kind of fitting for me to be starting my second China adventure in Beijing, the place where I left the country 5 years ago so I thought it might be nice to book a couple of nights in the YHA hostel that I stayed in last time. Unfortunately, in 5 years it’s become kind of a dump but we found a nice new one and had a great time there.
Let the good China times begin.