I look at the window at the crowded streets and sidewalks. I can spot men with shirts rolled up to expose their bellies to cool them off in the sweltering sun. They call it the “Beijing belly.” Apparently during the Olympics, they tried to discourage the Beijing belly as a form of impolite behavior, but alas, the tradition continues on. And it hits me, once again. I live here. I live in China. I’m not here on vacation (even though my current residence is a hotel) or for a semester abroad. I’m here for two years…and perhaps much longer.
There are moments when the sights and sounds of China seem overwhelming. I know those moments will come and go, with some days being far more overwhelming than others. I’m sure there will be times when I think, “did I really move to China?” Okay, let’s be honest, there are times when I’ve already thought that.
But then yesterday, we had some English students take us around the city. As we talked with these two students, my heart overflowed with joy. And I was reminded of why I’m here. To see their faces. To hear their stories. To be a part of their lives. And of course, to stealthily capture some photos of the Beijing belly.
And yes, I’m wearing bunny ears. They are pretty cool.