他们都在逃离北京,我却搬进了胡同

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本文来自“孟庆伟英文写作”,作者是孟庆伟 Justin。周末读一读吧,欢迎你来北京和我们面基~

[本文来自:www.666j.com]


[原文来自:www.666j.com]

一周多前,,我从北京的 5.5 环搬到了二环安定门,过上了一种可能只作为文化符号存在过的北京胡同生活(从这个意义上,我的朋友说我更像一个老外了)。


黄章晋在十年前的文章中说,还有半个北京是信奉公平和个人努力的。虽然十年后,这半个北京被不断压缩,但它还是让我留下了。搬家前后有一点随感,写出来和各位分享。



Moving has characterized mylife. By Chinese standards, I move fairly frequently. Ever since when I was 12, I have been on the move. Pingyao, a small city in centralShanxi Provinceknown for having the country's best-preserved ancient city walls, became myfirst adoptive town, where I went to middle school and high school. I later relocated to Tianjin for college. Four years later, I rode a bus to Beijing by choice, determined to make good. After one and a half years exhilarating and footloose life, I bid Beijing goodbye and boarded a New York-bound airplane. Then, it was Annapolis of Maryland and San Francisco of California. It went full circle, and here I am in Beijing again.


他们都在逃离北京,我却搬进了胡同


Of the past eight years, five and a half years has seen me somewhere in Beijing. Within the city, I have moved a few times, an indication of rising housing prices on the one hand and a testimony to the ebb and flow of myincome and relationship on the other. Wudaokou, Huilongguan, Sanyuanqiao, Jijiamiao, Jimenqiao, Shahe, and most recently, Andingmen all have a place in my memory. Although they never shaped me, they comforted me with the idea of home.


I have felt the pulse of the city: the Panglossianpost-Olympicsboom and the stock market crash in the summer of 2015;a cheery influx of homegrown and expatriate talent (from programmers and entrepreneurs to artists and moviemakers) and the shockingly deplorablelow-endpeople evictionandthe unfortunateexodus of translators who found it increasingly hard to make ends meet; foggy and smoggy skies that smothered the capital and the unbelievably blue skies--a godsend thanks to a set of prominent events: APEC (2014), a military parade (2015), the two sessions (2016 and 2017), and Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (2018); the omnipresence of cranes (a sure sign ofimprovement of city-wide infrastructure) and a rash ofhigh-profile scandals (one involveda kindergarten and a few others concerned vaccination) that wracked the nerves ofelitist middle-class parents who were forced to admit that unless the social ills are addressed all shall suffer.I have been at the epicenter where all of these took place. I could sense the Zeitgeist.


他们都在逃离北京,我却搬进了胡同


The moving was very personal, too. Every time I moved, I was remindedof the classic line from the movie Fight Club, "The things you own end up owning you." You can live in an apartment for years without realizing how much stuff you have piled up, often not driven by necessity.Once you realize you are enslaved, first, you are startled, and thenyou start to have this irresistible sense of self-disgust. You wonder why on earth you bought so much and sink into deep disbelief.You vow to never ever buy shit you don't need, although deep down you know you are not dead serious.


Sometimes it's not easy to disown things. Over the years you become attached to the things you own becausethey carry traces of you, however subtle they may be.By nature, I am madly protective of things that I own. A Casio electronic dictionary has been working dutifully for mefor over ten years. A pair of Bose headphones followed me over the Arctic and throughout the continental US. Six years on, they are still perfectly serviceable. When my Vans Atwood Buck leather shoes wore out, I gave them a proper send-off by sparing a moment of silence. Before I let them go, Itook a picture, an attempt to immortalize them.


他们都在逃离北京,我却搬进了胡同

fallen shoe warriors


I am acutely aware of the danger of being overly sentimental. Life goes on. Pauses are fine, but should not stand in the way of moving on. Over the years, I have learned to build an organic relationship with things in such a way that validates and perpetuates them and yet makes the break with them easier. Many years ago, a friend of mine remarked that knowing how to properly say goodbye to things is an important part of life.I agree and have been perfecting the art of doing so.




P.S. The following program is the brainchild of Eric and I. We stay up for it. We sometimes are unable to fall asleep because of it (no kidding!).We work our tail off to bring about the best possible English-learning materials, webinars, and offline events.


We would appreciate it if you could help spread the word. Every retweet counts.We pay you back in the form of articles, as usual, and humor, with greater frequency. Bounties are easy to claim: come back and visit us.


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他们都在逃离北京,我却搬进了胡同

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