My new life in Beijing: Daniel Osborne, September 2018



首先,大部分的北京人不能说英文, 可是就是塞翁失马 :因为我比较害羞,比较喜欢用英文解释、解决问题。可是现在这是不能的。从第一个跟房地产中间人的商量到迷路时向保安问问路, 得不得用中文解释自己。可是最难的情况是跟出租车司机讲话 – 他们的口音太重了,没有耐心!

其次,北京的生活步伐快极了。尽管几点,谁都赶紧。高峰时间,在地铁上通勤的人都摩肩接踵。另外,等候红绿灯变绿才过马路的人很少 :虽然比较危险,但入乡随俗!

View from the Summer Palace

View from the Summer Palace

最惊人的事情之一是北京的规模。在英国我住在一个非常小的乡村, 所以提到都市,联想到伦敦。可是北京比伦敦大得多。想去一个地方,用手机看地图,在屏幕上我的位置和目的地的距离似乎比较短,可是事实上需要一个小时以上的公交!

其次,北京比我想象中绿色的。我本来以为北京没有公园或美丽的地方,只拥有丑陋、灰色的、混凝土的大厦。但我快快地发现北京充满绿意。比如,在人行道的旁边,巨大的树伸到地平线。 另外,所有的公园是非常漂亮的。有时候,爬小小的山之后可以向远处眺望,一望无际的视野让你逃避忙碌的生活。


The local tipple, baijiu

The local tipple, baijiu

I have now been in Beijing for two weeks. Until now, my daily life has been very busy, but I’ve already found out that Beijing both meets my expectations and is completely different from what I imagined all at the same time.

Firstly, the majority of people in Beijing can’t speak English but this is actually a blessing in disguise. Since I’m naturally shy, I default into English when asking questions and settling problems, yet this isn’t possible here. From my first discussion with the estate agent to getting lost on the street and asking a security guard for directions, I have no choice but to use Chinese. However, what is hardest by far is talking to taxi drivers – their accents are really strong and they don’t have any patience!

Secondly, the pace of life in Beijing is extremely fast! Whatever time it is, everybody is always in a hurry. At rush hour, commuters on the metro all jostle and shove each other. In addition, very few people wait for the traffic lights to turn green before crossing, and although it’s a bit dangerous, you just have to do what the locals do!

Deciphering Chinese grafitti

Deciphering Chinese grafitti

The most surprising thing about Beijing so far has been its scale. In the UK, I live in an extremely small village, so whenever a ‘big’ city comes up in conversation, I think of London. But Beijing is so much bigger than London. When looking at a map on my phone, the distance between my current location and the destination on the screen seems to be relatively short, but in reality it turns out to be more than an hour’s bus ride away.

Also, Beijing is a lot greener than I had imagined. I originally thought Beijing had neither parks nor any attractive districts in the city, and it only had lots of grey, ugly concrete buildings. But I quickly discovered that Beijing is filled with so much green. For example, on the sides of the pavement, huge trees stretch out into the distance. Also, all the parks are stunning – sometimes, after walking up the hills you can gaze out into the distance and the stunning view lets you escape the bustle of everyday life.

Next week I’ll start class and I hope I can make the most of this opportunity to improve my Chinese!

Posted in Monthly Reports