It’s not secret that we have had a love/hate relationship with China over the last 3-4 years. There have been good times, and bad, happy memories, and some we are glad are in the past. Life in China is definitely a harsh yet humbling experience.
We really enjoyed our first Qingdao apartment, but we never knew just how much more we would love living in this new location. Had we known this, we probably would have moved to this area a long time ago. The streets are wider, there’s less traffic, more food options and convenience stores, the ocean is a block away, and we are a short walk away from a large mall. I remember moving to Qingdao and thinking “Yes!! We live in a coastal city – this is going to be amazing!” In those first two years in Qingdao we probably went to the beach about 6-8 times. It amazed me that weren’t stuck in-land, and yet the beach seemed like it was inconveniently far. FYI – the beach was less than 5km away!!
Since moving to our new apartment, we have been to the beach 2-3 times every week. We run along the coast, and go for evening walks after dinner. There’s no denying that moving this close to the ocean was the best move we could have made!
Coming from Cape Town – which I honestly think is one of the most beautiful cities in the world – I have a thing for coastal cities with mountains. The above picture reminds me of my hometown. The ocean, the mountain and the modern architecture. I love that we live in a Chinese city that (kind of) resembles the one that I miss so much!
When the mist rolls over the city, running out on the boardwalk along the ocean is absolutely beautiful. Although it is extremely hot and humid right now, the mist sometimes brings a little relief. When the mist has cleared and the sun comes out, there is no escaping the heat that follows.
Of course, we still get stared at everyday. I don’t think that this will change anytime soon. Running in the afternoon attracts even more confused looks from those that we pass. Most of them probably amazed at how much sweat is dripping from our bodies. We went for a walk without Elijah the other evening, and realised that people still stare at us. After a year of people approaching us to see Eli, we forgot that it isn’t just him that looks different.
The beach has been covered with tourists, and they don’t stop swimming and having fun until well after sundown. During the day, especially on overcast days (they don’t really like the sun here), the you can’t see where the sand ends and the water begins. There are thousands of bodies bobbing around in the waves. The boardwalk next to the beach is perfect for running, but in order to run peacefully in these peak season months, it’s best to go very early in the morning. Even then, there are still a number of people out enjoying the beach…
It really does feel like we are falling in love with Qingdao in a way that we never have before. Despite the ups and downs, we are starting to see a new side of this city, and we really like it! Living near the ocean and close to many scenic running paths is obviously something that makes our lives a lot more enjoyable. We are also realising how much we have missed exercising together, and the extent to which this hour or two a day brings us closer.
After our runs we like to stop at a convenience store, and relax with a cold drink, while we catch our breath and try to stop sweating. By this time Elijah has usually woken up from his jog-induced nap. Some post-workout/nap stretches with mommy…
This has been a beautiful summer, and the sunsets have been magical. The view from our dining room, pictured above, is exactly what we love to see after a wonderful day with the family. As the three of us sit down to share our dinner, the room fills with the glow of pink, yellow and orange. It’s not hard to see why I feel like we are falling for Qingdao, and why we are so excited about our new apartment and it’s wonderful location.