We’re walking around Florence. About an hour's drive from our lovely hotel in the Tuscan hills. It’s hot and sunny, the ice creams are yummy and we’re sharing a bottle of prosecco at lunch to celebrate this beautiful city (any excuse works, innit?). Next (and last) stop on this seven-week European summer holiday is Rome. Rome where our two sons were born and where we lived until 2002. I am, of course, over the moon about this exciting opportunity to show the kids around and relive wonderful memories from back then. Yet I catch myself thinking that I would actually rather drive to the nearest airport and fly back to Beijing. Than be in ROME for three days.
I think I owe you an explanation
The kids and I left Beijing on 19 June and my husband joined us later. Our tour d’Europe has taken us to our 3 home countries: Denmark, Belgium and Italy. We have enjoyed bright, Scandinavian summer nights, hygge with the family, two days on my brother’s sailing boat, mussels in Brussels, catching up with friends, one beautiful Sardinian beach after the other, family lunches by the seaside with piglets roasting on the fire, food, food and more food – and last but not least the time to bond as a family!
But travelling is also tiring and seven weeks of living out of a suitcase have almost come to an end. This normally puts me in a reflective mood. Exactly like one year ago today when I wrote about going back to Beijing after the summer. This time, I realise that a year makes a huge difference and that my love for Beijing has grown fonder.
We know the city better now. While bikes are still our most used mean of transportation, the car we bought last September has given us a bit more liberty and allowed us to explore the beautiful areas around Beijing. Although the language barrier is still very much present, we understand a bit more Chinese now. I’ve made new friends and as for the friends I made in the very beginning, I have slowly opened up to them – and they to me. I have enjoyed being part of the party planning committee at our compound “Park Apartments” and I thrive on that sense of community.
But two particular events are nominated for “the-best-thing-that's-happened-since-last-summer-award”:
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities we're given in China, I will go back to Beijing with a sense of happiness and serenity. Reassured that our friends and relatives in Europe are doing well and ever so pleased that I have friends who are waiting for me in China. Just like last year, I am ready to get into everyday life again and the excitement about new projects makes me extra eager to get on that plane.