I love the willow trees, all the red here and the lions which play a big part in Chinese folklore and are usually depicted as more mythical than real. Stone lions rival even dragons as the most popular guardians of temples and buildings.
By staying with a generous and beautiful local family ( and meeting many others) where most of the members do not speak English, we gain more insight into the every day life of a Beijing family. The beds, the showers, the food is different, but mostly, we find how much we have in common like appreciating family, loving kindness and education.
I am not a person who ever had Asia or China on my bucket list, so we came mostly for our child's language acquisition, but I find myself feeling ancient roots here, as if I have been here before and some how it feels familiar like coming home on some level.
I never thought I'd come to China in my lifetime, but I am very grateful that we have. When we visited Tiananmen square, I thought of my trip to Moscow, the USSR and Red Square in 1988 and how these iconic place photos in media affected my upbringing, and how I never imagined that I'd see either in person.
It is not an easy life here and I still worry about the pollution and water/food safety issues, but China is turning into one of my favorite places for many different reasons.