We’re back in Seattle for a while this summer (well I’ll be going back and forth between Seattle and Beijing). It’s nice to be here with the family; as I mentioned before, it was a little weird last time to be in our big house all by myself (although not altogether bad…)
In addition to my observations from the last trip, here are few other things I’ve realized now that I’m back:
- I’m mixed up by Beijing prices. I can’t believe how much I’m paying for stuff like dinner or clothes in Seattle. On the other hand, there’s a huge range of great wine at much lower prices than in Beijing. (Anything imported into China is expensive, but local stuff is much cheaper.)
- I feel much more empowered and free in the US. This isn’t a political statement (although that’s true too); it’s just very exciting to be able to read signs on the street and labels in stores. It’s also very liberating to drive your own car (although I don’t mind having a driver some times…)
- On the flip side, I like walking to places – dinner, hair cut, grocery store. Even in the suburban boonies where we live in Beijing, we walk a lot more. I’m not a fan of having to drive everywhere like we do in Seattle (at least at our house.)
- Clean air and water rock. I can’t stop drinking the Seattle tap water; it’s sweet and delicious. It’s great being able to regularly see the horizon (full of mountains no less.)
- I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Americans are fat. I’ll cop to being a little overweight, but OMG, there are a lot of fa-a-a-at people here.
- I like saying “hello” to people on the street or as I’m running and having them say “hello” back. Seattle is a friendly place. (Of course, it’s not just Beijingers who are more stoic. I mentioned the same thing about Wellington, NZ a while back.
In some ways, it’s a little surreal being back. In some ways, Beijing feels like a dream or a long vacation; it feels very natural being back. On the other hand, I miss things and people in Beijing already and am looking forward to heading back in some ways (cheap two hour massages within walking distance of home anyone?) I guess that’s the price I pay for having two homes in two amazing places.