First of all – I’m doing well and I am not in China at the moment. I left China a couple of days after the news about a new and contagious virus was out. I planned on leaving for the semester break anyway, but as for now, my planned trip to see John got extended for quite some time. After I have arrived in the US things developed very quickly: airlines cancelled their flights, countries banned (and are still banning) travellers other then their own citizens from entry when coming from China, quarantine measures, and overall an increasing number of…

The longer I live in Beijing, the more I see and hear and feel how this country works. The – I call it – outer world barely has an idea about China. It is way more than that picture that is drawn by the media in wherever country you are at. I am not saying that this is wrong, I am saying that you have to add many more shades to it. However, by living here you start to question common ideas everybody takes for granted without questioning them. But shouldn’t we sometimes question them? Maybe not necessarily in order to abandon them, but to make them better, adjust them.

Living in Beijing is not just sight seeing, unicorns and good food: After waking up in the morning first thing I do is making myself a coffee. As I love reading about what is going on in the world while I enjoy my coffee I usually check the news. To get a full on idea what’s going on I need to peak though the Great Wall of China that is not always easy.

On one of those long subway rides to the center of Beijing, John noticed, that the Forbidden City is actually a tiny icon on the subway map. And it is the only icon – no other sights are indicated on that rather technical map that helps to ease the chaos of how to get from one unpronounceable station to another one. The Forbidden City is literally the center of Beijing, the heart of the city, probably the heart of the nation.

October is a pleasant time in Beijing: Temperatures are cooling down, it is generally dry and as the heating season hasn’t started yet, we are lucky to get some days with a decent blue sky and quite some sun. As the last days had been really pretty with amazing air quality, two colleagues and I decided to venture out on a little trip and check out „Fragrant Hill“ (Xiang Shan 香山)。

Even though I planned on having a lazy weekend, I got itchy feet and went exploring. After an eternity of 1.5 hrs of a subway ride I arrived at „798 Art District“ in the north east of Beijing. The huge areal is a former industrial site and most of the buildings were built by the former GDR.