Beijing is still sweet home to my children and to see them happy and carefree there makes my mommy heart swell. This was our second visit back since we moved to Delhi nearly two years ago. I think it’s important that the kids understand that moving doesn’t necessarily mean leaving.
The landscape of Beijing has changed a lot. Neighborhoods disappear and new buildings rise in a mere blink. There’s now a subway station near our old compound and an outlet mall on the corner. Our nanny’s village is gone. It’s covered with dozens of apartment blocks, row after row of windows and concrete. Our cat Winston is buried below one of them in what was once the village cemetery.
It’s easy to be a kid in Beijing. There are parks and playgrounds and indoor jungle gyms. You can eat street food and walk around without fear of stray dogs or other animals. It tickled me to see my children teasing and giggling with our old driver and using chopsticks to eat spaghetti. Now that we are home, Eddie insists on eating every meal with chopsticks.
We stuffed our bellies with juicy dumplings and feasted on duck ( Eddie asked if this was the chicken that goes “quack quack”, versus the chicken-that-bah’s or the chicken-that-oinks.) We also ate a lot of beef: minced, stir-fried and BBQ’d. A friend cooked us a generous 2-kilo slab of tenderloin and the Yardleys made sure there wasn’t much left of the chicken-that-moos.
Oddly, the air was clear but the skies were that monochrome white that doesn’t have depth, doesn’t move. There’s rarely a sky with definition or dimension in Beijing. The city was brown and far from lush – a noticeable contrast to Delhi where color bleeds into everything.
We left Beijing for Hong Kong, a city that blends to perfection the best of the Chinese and the best of the British. The children loved riding the double-decker buses, the ferries and the tram up Victoria Peak. The food is delish, the shopping endless. There’s sea and mountains and views in every direction. And all those buildings packed tightly, rising from seabed and mountain side – it looks other-worldly: a galactic city in a future century.
“Who told Daddy to move to Delhi?” Eddie demanded when we were walking the yellow brick road around Victoria Peak. This is a city paved in gold and it takes a bullion of it to get through one weekend.
“Daddy’s work”. It was easy to displace the decision when no answer would satisfy my beautiful son.
Here he is in my driver’s arms in Beijing. Shao Qiu Lan helped me raise Eddie – she held him from the day he was born and she never let go.
Fishing in Chaoyang Park:
There are never enough dumplings!
Lala at play:
Girlfriends and foot massages – a perfect combination!
Hong Kong at night:
Swimming in the sky:
Daddy joined us for our last two days in Hong Kong. He kissed me after this photo and Georgie declared that is wasn’t “Happy Hour”.
A matter of physics or age? When the kids were in the air I was just leaving the ground and when the kids were landing I finally made it into the air. Being silly on the beach in Repulse Bay:
Hong Kong is humid and tropical with palms at sea level and lush rain-forests on the mountain sides:
Again, Repulse Bay. This is where the kids say they want to live: