A Hutong night

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Xiaojingchang Hutong

Flag of China  ,
Thursday, June 21, 2012

Good evening (well, it is for us!)

A real mix of a day, I (Tracy) had a mini wobble today & did the 'I don't know if I can do this' thing at work, and a few tears. Really not quite sure why!! Andy & I have been doing our first meeting presentations to each other which has been going well, and I went to do a few new bits & the words just didn't come out. Had to have a 'man up' conversation with myself, and remind myself that it's all new, it was never going to be easy & remember how I've felt with my last few jobs starting something totally new.

So, I got over it and know where my weaknesses are & am determined to start next with with a confident positive attitude! Andy has been supportive & convinced me that I can do it!! He's doing well with it all so that's cool.

Enrolled for some Chinese classes today, the local Chinese school is offering free elementary classes to residents of the Diplomatic Compound where we work, so it's 2 weeks starting on Monday, double sessions on a Mon / Wed / Fri morning 1000 - 1140 so we're going for it, it's a start anyway & it's free which is a bonus. We're getting frustrated not being able to communicate passed hello & thank you. There aren't huge amounts of people that speak English to be honest, so we really need to make a start.

Just back from a fab evening, we met a couple that we met at the Inter Nations evening last Friday, Roberto (from Chile) and Annick (from Belgium), they invited us out for dinner. They are both architects, a bit younger than us, mid 30's maybe, and have lived here for 4 yrs, prior to that they lived in New York for 10 years. They took us to a fab Hutong (see below re: Hutong) restaurant, we sat outside in a courtyard setting. We had a fab Chinese meal, a set menu - loads of various dishes, meat, veg, fish, rice, noodles etc. washed down with a few beers of course. A lovely warm evening sat outside, but all of a sudden a wind that came from no-where turned into a massive storm! Heavy rain, thunder, lightening..... luckily we'd finished eating so went inside to finish our drinks. Good company, and good food.

The first Hutong appeared in Beijing in the Yuan Dynasty in the wake of Genghis Khan's army, there was more than 6000 hutongs which criss crossed the city in the 1950's, sadly there are now only 2000 left after the construction of office buildings & blocks demolished them, the oldest being 900 years old. Most of the buildings are single story and are traditionally courtyard houses, many are now bars & restaurants (which are very difficult to find as they are hidden away) and lots of Beijingers have been moved out to more modern apartment blocks. It seems that rich ex-pats are keen to live in them to experience the real Beijing and have some outdoor space, willing to pay a hefty price for them.

We walked there which took around 35 mins through what's known as Ghost Street (named after an eerie night market that was once here), a long section (1.4km) of the street with loads of restaurants (approx 150), mainly Chinese with loads of red Chinese lanterns lit up outside, very beautiful, busy and full of character, buzzing with lots of locals & pleasantly, hardly any tourists.

So, it's raining, we need to get home - don't want to walk as it's raining hard, couldn't get a taxi as they were so busy, so jumped on a bus, a first experience, and a good one, packed at rush hour, you wouldn't want to be on one, only cost 1 yuan, approx 10p. Drying out back at home now with a glass of vino.

A few ticks off the list tonight, our first Hutong experience, Ghost Street, bus ride and dinner with new friends!
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Lorraine on

Just couldn't 'read and run' after hearing about your wobble. It's hardly surprising, I'm sure you know it's perfectly normal and it would happen sometime or other! So, best to get it out of the way, give yourself a 'good talking to' and remember the answer to the question is - yes you can! Tracy you could climb a mountain if you had to and, with your lovely husband, cheering you along all the way, you WILL make it work. You will carry on having the most amazing experiences and sooner rather than later those things you've been worrying your (pretty) little head about will just seem like a distant memory. You are both absolute heroes for taking on this challenge in the first place - never doubt your bravery, nor your abilities XXXX

Lou W on

Here Here Lor! Just remember how you felt that first day you walked into the training room as a newbie, then walking into training as a newbie! You can do it - just keep your focus and move on from the wobble!
Go Ginger Go!!

Kim on

I still remember being a baby controller thinking I am never ever going to remember all the call signs, let alone anything else - including good old HORIS' + signs!! (wait, did you know HORIS, or am I really old????). You will both get wobbly bits, but hopefully not at the same time!! ;-)

You are doing what many dream of....XXXXX

Mum and Dad on

Hi guys, yes we've managed to log on in an internet cafe here in Santorini so we've read all your blogs up to date now.
The apartment looks cool and just you !!! It sounds a bit too hot for us out there, we've been struggling with 32 degrees plus and that's with a very strong wind most of the time.
Your workload sounds good and you're getting the hang of it now by the sounds of it. All those coffee mornings sound good !!! Beijing seems like an amazing place with so much to do and see. We'll skype you when we get home again.
We're having a lovely time and Thira is lovely but not as gorgeous as the sunset place, Oia, in the North of the island. It's absolutely so pretty and different and you would really have loved it and taken so many photos !! The sunset wasn't as amazing as it's cracked up to be though, we've had a car for the last 3 days so we went to see it last night with hundreds of others. nearly every third couple there was Chinese !! They take photos of everything and anything.
Love to you both, really missing you, and Trace we keep seeing lovely redheaded girls and thinking of you. Take care and lots of love, Mum and Dad xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

tracy-andy-pez on

Thank you so much Lorraine, you always know just what to say xx
Lulu, I just keep thinking of all my pep talks to students in the past & had one with myself!! Talk about role reversal!! xx
And Kim, hmmmmm no you're not old, or am I?!?! I was a HORIS girl too, as were the 2 ladies above on the comments!!! +FT +OM and the classic 'sorry, HORIS has gone down on me' ;) Memories hey!!!

tracy-andy-pez on

Ooohhh spooky Mum & Dad!!! Must have just been writing at the same time!! Just re-sent a text to you too which I don't think came through to you yesterday. Holiday sounds lovely, and I can imagine all the photo's I'd have taken, will look forward to seeing some of yours hopefully. Definitely Skype when you're back & catch up, although you may have seen that you can ring us from the UK now from a landline or mobile no. and if we're logged on we'll answer & speak rather than the video call.

Funny that there are a lot of Chinese there, and yes - photo mad!! There were a lot of big lenses here today when we were out on the lakes, but they didn't seem to know what they were doing with them, it was all show I think!!!

Glad you've got out & about with the car too, and Dad didn't have Lou or I to drive this time!! Hope you're enjoying a few cold beers & have managed to watch the footie too. Just about to do another blog, but sure you'll catch up when you're back home now.

Don't see many redheaded girls here...... funny that!! And yes, I do get stared at A LOT!!!!!! I just stare back really & smile, it's quite funny!!!

Anyway, love you too & miss you loads, speak very soon - enjoy the last few days of your holidays.

Lotsa love,

Lizzie T on

Tracy/Andy... glad my favourite married couple are still having a great time. Just wanted to let you know that even if I don't 'comment' I am loving the blog and read all your updates. Life sounds so busy and exciting for you both (it's quite exhausting just reading all about it!!) - tons of love to you both xxxx (and big hug for Tracy) xxxx

tracy-andy-pez on

Thank you Lizzie! xxx

Tina on

sounds like u had a lovely evening x

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