‘Sometimes, when two worlds collide, a better one is created’ – Susan Gale.My parents recently came to visit me in Beijing as part of a big Asia travel trip they had planned for their 30th Wedding Anniversary. They stayed for five days and left me with the freedom of planning those days – being their personal tour guide. Their trip was a long time coming, the few weeks before their arrival were exhausting. I felt homesick and emotional as it was the longest I had been away from home without seeing anyone. I was more than ready for my Mum and Dad.Though I was obviously very excited for their arrival, it also felt foreign to me. My life here is so far away from everything in England. My boyfriend is the only person who knows my life at home to any degree. All my friends here I have made here. Therefore the idea of introducing my parents to my Chinese world felt a little unnatural. However from the moment I arrived at their hotel, it could not have felt more natural. I was so excited that they were able to see and be part of the life I have built for myself here.I was eager for them to not only see the way I lived in Beijing but also be proper tourists too. So I created a variety of plans; we visited the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, the 798 art district and the Pearl Market. All particular favourites of mine. I also brought them to the flat and the local area – Shuangjing – I live in. On their last day I was able to bring them into my school so they could meet my class. We ate somewhere different every evening, strictly Chinese or at least Asian food, ensuring they would be sick of it by the time they returned home. I managed to plan it so we took them to places we had also not visited, keeping the long weekend new for us too.It was my boss’s 30th birthday the weekend my parents were here. They were eager to meet my friends and my boss was happy for them to come. What was originally supposed to be a quick hour popping in to say hello turned into an all night party, with many beers flowing (and spilling). We even stayed for the after party in my boss’s apartment. My parents had a ball and my friends thought they were fantastic. It was a highly amusing night and I felt so grateful they were able to catch a glimpse of my current world. I found it refreshing showing my parents Beijing, I began to see the city with new eyes. I did not realise how much I took Beijing for granted until my parents were reacting in awe to building and views I barely give a glance. It made me feel incredibly fortunate and reminded me that this where I live and no matter the drawbacks of China, Beijing is an amazing city.
Combining Two Worlds