It's my last night here, and I can't believe it.
I have a wretched Olympics hangover, and I think that the city does, too. It was go, go, go, at a frantic pace for the month leading up to and the three weeks during the Games, and then, all of a sudden--nothing. The tourists are gone, the glare from the neon lights of temporary clubs have diminished, the traffic is thick, the people are going about their lives.
I picked up Noodle from the animal hospital today, and myself and the three vet technicians who took care of her for the last six weeks were all sad to say goodbye. These random Beijingers didn't have to become a part of my everyday China life, but fate (and the nuttiest hutong mutt in all of Asia) made it so, I suppose. I won't miss the things in Beijing, I'll miss the people.
Alright, that's not entirely true.
I'll miss cheap beer and cheaper dumplings, miss the serendipitous alleyways and the ridiculous taxi rides. As much as I've complained about the chaos and language barriers that have come to dictate my everyday routine (or desperate attempt to develop one), these frustrations and misadventures have come to define my Beijing experience.
I managed to avoid eating mystery meats here, which is a plus, but of all the things that, upon arrival, freaked me out the most about being in China, that's the only one that I didn't attempt to overcome. Squat toilets, sketchy massages, raw vegetables, gigantic spindly bugs, street noodles, street dogs NAMED Noodle--these are all things that I was terrified to encounter, but now are as normal to me as morning coffee in Davis Square.
I have no idea when and if I'll return to Beijing, but, if I do, I'll do so whole-heartedly.