Eden P. is currently a junior at SYA China and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from The Brearley School in New York.
Recently, I've been taking the subway to school. It takes me about an hour to commute by subway; it takes about half that to commute by bus. So it seems a little counterintuitive to favor the subway.
The reason that I've been taking it is the fifteen-minute walk from the station to school. And again, this seems like nothing more than a reason to take the bus, which gets off almost directly in front of the school. On the contrary, though, it makes me enjoy my unnecessarily-too-long commute all the more wholeheartedly. In the morning, I'm able to walk past a street full of small vendors and food, of baozi frying up in pans and of zhimaqiu being put into clear plastic bags. I can buy something—it's all wonderfully cheap—to take with me as I hurry down the street, inevitably running a minute or two late.
It feels like home. It's a commute that I've grown familiar enough with to let myself take detours and pit stops, to try and chat with a vendor in the morning (if I'm caffeinated enough). I can walk it on the way back, too, and though it's usually much more crowded and much more high-energy, it still feels, somehow, like my own place.
Obviously it's not. It's a small street on the way to school in the northeast part of Beijing. But it's become my new normal. The idea that I even have a new normal is something that took a little bit of time to wrap my head around — you mean I'm not still in New York City? Were it not for the far superior Beijing metro, I would never have known.
Seven-forty-am shouts in Chinese and pan-fried baozi and some deliciously bland convenience store coffee that reminds me that even miles and miles away from New York, this place can still taste like home. That's how I spend my mornings now as I try my hardest to put the six flights of stairs I'm about to climb as far out of my head as I possibly can.
- Campus Reporters
- SYA China