Mar 31, 2009

We should've moved here in 2008

In the four years we've lived in Beijing, the city, and particularly our neighborhood (the "Central Business District," or CBD) has become infinitely more comfortable, more liveable, more convenient for expats. All within a quarter-mile radius, we now have: dozens of cafes and restaurants , all with wi-fi and english-speaking staff; clothing stores like Zara and Mango, which actually stock women's clothing larger than size 0 and size 2; a beautiful park (which I actually think has reached its zenith and is now in decline, thanks to plenty of pooping doggies); and multiple playground and indoor play area options for the kiddies. None of that existed through all of Bella's first year, when my closest option for getting out of the apartment was to dodge traffic and construction to get to the shopping mall half a mile down the road.

Other proof that we moved to Beijing a few years too early, from the point of view of convenience and availability of Western comfort items? IKEA now stocks Bamse bread, and oh my goodness hallelujah, plain Kalle's Kaviar instead of only the weird Dill flavored kind. Round that out with our usual 8 bricks of medium roast coffee, and I think it was the happiest I've ever left the Swedish blue and yellow box in a long time.