The group blog WWAM BAM just published a collaborative article on Differences Between Northern and Southern China, inspired by my recent move to Beijing. Four Western women married to Asian me, including myself, share our experiences about leaving one latitude for another. Here’s my contribution to the post:
In China, I’ve lived the southern life for years, residing in the Hangzhou region my husband calls home. But recently I’ve moved from Hangzhou to China’s great northern capital of Beijing. Sure, I’m looking forward to enjoying a fully heated apartment in the winter, something you don’t often have in Hangzhou (where it’s common for people to wear their coats even indoors during the coldest months). But I’d like to share some of the differences I’ve experienced that you might not necessarily expect.
If you follow my blog, you probably know my husband and I drove up to Beijing. One pleasant reality we discovered in the city – they allow free street parking on designated parking spots, something increasingly difficult to find in Hangzhou. However, Hangzhou beats Beijing hands down when it comes to green buses. The vast majority of buses in Hangzhou are either electric or powered by natural gas, but I’ve yet to see even one example of this green public transport on the streets of Beijing.
Our eating habits have also changed since moving up here. Back in Hangzhou we bought our vegetables from the community fresh market and cooked exclusively at home. But here in Beijing, my employer has a cafeteria that serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner, and there are several super-affordable cafeterias just across the street at the university. All of them serve up some of the most mouth-watering cafeteria food I’ve ever tasted, and because the price (and flavor) is right, we’ve cooked maybe a handful of meals at home. Does Beijing have more of a “cafeteria culture” than Hangzhou, thanks to its wealth of state and government-owned institutions that also provide food service? I don’t know, but I’m loving the experience of leaving the cooking to someone else for a change!
Head on over to WWAM BAM to read the full post. And if you like it, share it.