“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”—Ferris Bueller
On my way to Beijing, I thought it was only appropriate to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In my mind it made sense to leave a city I love by watching the quintessential Chicago movie. It didn’t disappoint. If anything it made me miss the city and all the wonderful people I’ve left behind even more. I remember this quote from the countless viewings of this classic film, but this time it really stuck with me. While it’s probably because I am older and each year is a smaller proportion of my life, but I’ve already been in Beijing for two weeks and it seems like I just got here. I am experiencing so much and its almost overwhelming how every sense is assaulted everyday by Beijing life.
The last few days I’ve done so much. I had the opportunity to speak at American’s Promoting Study Abroad (APSA), an organization that grants scholarships to lower socioeconomic American high school students to study in China, as a young professional. I introduced these teenagers to ideas regarding careers in global medicine and global health. I remember being in a similar room in 2012 when I was a mentor for a different generation of APSA students. Now that I’m on the other side of the coin, how time flies. I look back at how young I was then, I’ve done so much growing up in the last two years, I hardly recognize the now me equivalents in the back of the room, mentoring these students of today. Life moves pretty fast.
I’ve also dealt with the worst of Chinese bureaucracy. In China, to be an official document it has to have a red seal of whatever organization represents the document. I’ve spent countless hours on buses crossing from one end of Beijing to the next trying to collect these stamps on all my documents in hopes that I can legally reside in China. After so many days of this constant leaping through hoops, I have finally collected all the correct forms, with all the necessary red stamps, and I can finally collect my proverbial $200 in the form of legal residency. At least I hope, I won’t get my passport back for another 20 days, so who knows what unknown roadblock might be lurking next.
Beyond that though, I’ve made time for my research project, tightening up the proposal for IRB submission. I’ve made time for myself, visiting different parts of Beijing, including the Wukesong Camera Market (SO MANY LEICAS/HASSELBLADS/EVERYTHING), dinners with new friends, and now I stand before the next adventure: Xin Jiang.
I am so excited. I will have a large amount of pictures to upload when I get back and a lot to share about what I saw/experienced.