Three and a half years ago when we first arrived,
I hated the change and drowned in self-pity,
But now that we’re leaving, my mind keeps turning
To all that I’ll remember about this funny old city:
Spitting men and honking cars,
The smell of burning coal baked into my hair,
Taxi fare scams and rickshaw rides,
Gale force winds that bring on clean air,
Old women walking across multi-lane roads,
Couples in the park waltzing to Edelweiss,
Old men in wheelchairs outside shopping malls
Staring at a landscape they barely recognise,
Fake DVDs that stop working half way,
Staff lined up on the street outside their work
Chanting motivational songs to start each day.
Ayi’s leek pancakes and the leaking shower,
The achingly slow internet and the Great Firewall,
Chinese New Year fireworks on every street corner.
I’ll recall these things fondly, but most of all,
Thank you for our precious boy safely delivered,
And friends who in tough times kept us sane.
When I’m in Canberra staring down kangaroos,
I’ll think of you, Beijing, and be glad we came.*
* Er… unless baby develops lung cancer later in life because of this early exposure to smog… not that we could ever know whether that was the cause… #parentalguiltmindfuck