Should We Stay or Should We Go?

The euphoria at being back in a land where we could speak the language, knew the customs and food, and already felt comfortable was beyond description. We sat, discussing our options, until the wee hours of the morning. A friend had agreed to let us stay with him until we decided what we were going to do. We took him up on his offer and moved into his living room.

Walking around Beijing was like returning home after a long trip. We’ve spent time in China, in our adult lives we’ve probably spent more time in China than in America, and the comfort of knowing where things are, how to get things done, and how to be comfortable were almost irresistible. The original plan was to visit friends in Beijing and Shanghai and then head to South-East Asia and eventually make it to Thailand where we’d learn a new country and a new way of life. Yet now, in Beijing, we were so eager to stay. Mike wanted to learn Chinese, to become fluent in a language he’d been learning off and on for a few years. Lauren wanted to refill her bank account with a little work, and spend some time in one place. They had been on the road for over a year and a half, having left their apartment in Shanghai on May Day, 2009. It was now mid September, 2010 and the first time they were asking where they should go.

We checked into a hostel a few days later so as not to bother our working friend by living on his couch. We took a few interviews, saw a few apartments and generally got the low down on what had changed in Beijing since we lived there in 2006. The answer– a lot! Prices were much higher, apartments were harder to find and costed around 2000RMB more a month. Salaries were lower, strangely, and yet food prices were sky rocketing.

We decided we’d like to stay for a while. Should we?– I don’t know. But we talked about it and both decided that Chinese was important to us, as was taking a break in our travels for a little while. We’d make it to South-East Asia soon enough, and in the meantime, we could wait out the winter and maybe even the spring and summer, here in Beijing, China. It is easy to get a job teaching English, and to enroll in a Chinese language school. Finding jobs in Beijing is also fairly straight forward.

Tune in again to learn how to get an apartment in China’s capital city.

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