For all the ups and downs, there are days when I definitely love living in this country. On my way home from working a booth at The British School of Beijing’s Christmas Fayre, I was thinking about how to describe my first acupuncture experience. However, instead of walking directly home, I stopped off at a tea shop to purchase my favorite green tea for those of you that requested it! (I’m still more than happy to bring more home if you let me know.) As I was asking a nice employee for additional recommendations, two younger guys at the lone tea table in the corner said “hello” in English. I saw they were eating some kind of seed with tea on the outside, and I asked if it was pumpkin. They were surprised I could speak some Chinese, and asked me to sit-down and have tea!

We chatted a little about what we do, Chinese food and America, and I drank some really awesome, expensive teas. I even got to taste bamboo tea, which I liked a lot. At the end of the impromptu tea ceremony I asked to take everyone’s picture, and one guy offered to pay for the tea I was buying! I declined, and I ‘m pretty sure he thought I didn’t understand the offer. Regardless, it was a very pleasant and unexpected experience.

As I neared our apartment I saw a friendly city donkey and his owners selling fruit out of the back of a wooden cart. It seemed almost too perfect that after a day of feeling very much like an expat I would have tea with locals and then stumble upon a donkey cart; how quintessentially Chinese. To top it all off, I made one last stop at the dry-cleaners to pick up our new roommates dry-cleaning…which was half full of stuffed-animals. Did I mention that most Chinese, especially girls, seem to be about ten years behind in maturation in comparison to their Western counterparts? I don’t mean this in a negative way, but I cannot tell you how many girls dress like little kids, carry around stuffed animals and have toy key chains and all sorts of cartoon accessories. The reason I see this as a slowed maturation process is that most woman never carry these things. Maybe it’s a generational gap, but it’s a major difference from the emphasis on looking “cool” or “grown-up” in the states.

Unfortunately for David, he had a more frustratingly Chinese day, including additional issues with our apartment and a dispute with the water jug people about a receipt without an infamous “red stamp.” Anyway, more about acupuncture later and we will be home for the holidays in a few weeks!