Part of what I love about Beijing, and I think what is calling to me, is the presence of people connecting with each other. I mean, sure on the subway you see people on their phones, absorbed in their own worlds, but the parks and streets are full of people who are connecting in real life.
My first afternoon here I saw people sitting out on the street, probably avoiding the heat inside, playing card games, playing ball games, large groups of people talking to each other and interacting in non-tech ways.
A group of Chinese playing a card game on the sidewalk. It looked like people were walking over, introducing themselves, and just joining in. I might have misinterpreted, but even if these are all friends and family, I love that they are just connecting on the street, no phones, no tech in sight, just people connecting.
A family in Olympic Forest Park, mom playing as happily as her children, blowing bubbles and laughing with her kids.
I know these things happen in America and that people make real life connections, but I just don’t see it the same way. And perhaps that’s just a matter of the fact that I’m looking for it here and I’m more aware of it here than at home, but if that’s the case, then that says something about who I am here. Here in Beijing I’m more aware of my world and my tiny role in it, and I think that’s something that has brought me a measure of comfort and peace. It’s part of why my soul feels so settled here, just seeing that we are all both a tiny and replaceable piece of the machinery of the world, and at the same time an integral part of it, brings me clarity and sets me on a path of self-acceptance and joy.
*I took both of those discretely and then pantomimed taking pics and showed them, trying to confirm that it was okay. It seems like everyone was accepting of it.*