17 Truths All Beijing Expats Know

1. If you can see the mountains()...it's going to be a glorious day. If you can't see the building 100 feet away, it's going to be one of the days that you ask yourself why you still live here.

2. If the air is clean and the sky is blue, you must go outside. You might feel some Beijing guilt if you don't.

3. Upon leaving Beijing, you are still skeptical that any mist it is actually “fog()”. You can also eye the sky and estimate the pollution levels.

4. Construction hours do not exist. Anytime, anywhere- something is being built!

5. You drive(开车) two and a half hours out of the city and you are still in Beijing.You are naturally not actually driving anywhere.

6. Rain is the enemy(对手) if you are biking or walking and the savior in Beijing if it clears up the pollution(污染).

7. One must never go to south of the Qianmen. That's where the tourists(旅游者) creep.

8. Going to Shuangjing or Wudaokou is a trek. It takes some convincing to go there.

9. Line 10 and Line 1 are the subway lines of your nightmares(噩梦).

10. A weekend trip/ visa run to Hong Kong(香港) is a normal occurrence.

11. You have not really lived in Beijing until you buy a bicycle, get it stolen(), mourn , and then buy a new one.

12. No matter what time it is, you can always find a restaurant, convenience store, or a bar that is open. Street food is also readily available.

13. Ladies Night is great…if you like disgusting, fake alcohol(). But hey…it's free(免费).

14. Time moves really fast and so many things are happening at once. Down time is a rarity.

15. You have attended going away parties(送别会) in Beijing for people who are now back in Beijing. You are not even that phased by people leaving anymore.

16. Friends back home have no idea why you would chose this airpocalypse bio-dome of a city but you miss the city and the pace when you are gone.

17. Proper work visa and residence permits are the holy grail of documents.

Kristen Carusos is from Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. She graduated from Kennesaw State University with a major in International Affairs and a minor in French. She studied abroad in China for the first time in Shanghai in 2010 and again in 2011 at Beijing Language and Culture University. She graduated and moved to Beijing in 2012 and has been studying Chinese since then. She works in the Marketing Department at the Sinology Institute.