Beijing Nights

The cold wind rips down over the Mongolian plateau and hits our fair city. Here in the heartland, all is silent. I look out over endless apartment complexes and 24 hour massage parlors. These are the Beijing nights.

Oh to be young, to be alive in such a time.

Winter is here. Last day was the official start of winter according to the solar calendar. Still, the temperature has risen since only a few days before the end of October, and I can now ride my bike without two layers of pants

We are all buckled down in our offices trying to finish out the last three months before Chinese New Year. Projects to be finished, KPIs to be assessed, bosses to appease.

I am excited for this week. I will be reading a short piece of flash fiction on Thursday night at the Other Place in the hutongs. I have written a few different stories and still have yet to decided which one will be in my hands come Thursday night.

The event is being put on by Spittoon Literary group. A small, indie magazine startup that is trying to make a splash in the English literary scene. Good for them. I’m psyched to be a part of it.

These cold Beijing nights make me feel at home. It reminds me of my first months living in the city, when I couldn’t speak a lick of Chinese and was teaching all the way out on the west side of the city. A lot has changed since then. But I still love jianbing.

So much history here I will never fully comprehend. That’s OK. It doesn’t detract from the old man carrying pigeons in cages to the park, or the young children in yellow caps running to school each day.

I wake up with the city every morning. And I fall asleep in the same way. Millions of people just trying to etch out their lives somewhere in between. Sometimes we get so caught up in it and we forget to laugh.

I forget to laugh. I forget to laugh at the funny way my life has turned out. How much I love a city I once hated. How much I cherish these Beijing nights.

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