July 31, 2008

old neighbourhood

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:46 pm by changisme

People like to ask me if I miss Beijing. I find it hard to answer. By "missing", one usually means wanting to see what WAS. I went to the neighbourhood of my childhood. Hardly anything physical is left to be "missed". Except for our building, all that is around has changed. Both my elementary school and middle school have changed names. Restaurants have changed and so do the markets. There used to be little green sheds used by hairdressors and shops, but now they are all real buidings. The sidewalks are no longer covered by bikes.
Nevertheless, the area I grew up in is still much more "beijing" in terms of the residents than the place I’m living now. My friend says that now Beijing has about 20 million people with more than half from outside of Beijing. I can feel it from taking the bus, but walking around my old neighbourhood, people still have very strong Beijing accent.
Before we left, our old neighbour hold us that the government has paid to change all our windows to look the same, to look good for the Olympics. It’s kinda weird, because the building is old, but with brandnew aluminum alloy windows looking exactly the same. Oh well, people are happy to get new windows for free. 
In any case, I don’t know what I feel. I can’t recognize anywhere in that neighbourhood anymore. With the cloudy weather, I can hardly see the sun to know North from South. I guess the old isn’t particularly better than the new, it’s just that the new is no longer mine.

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