I come bearing good news.
Thomas and I, after six long and arduous weeks of school, finally have some time off. This week China celebrates its National Day, which celebrates the formation of the People’s Republic of China. We have the whole week off school, and while most of our colleagues are jet-setting around Asia, we are taking the week to relax, recharge, and clean our apartment.
One thing you may not know about our neighborhood: we love it, but it’s a bit of a commute to work. Most of our coworkers live one metro stop/a ten minute walk from school, but we have a 15-minute walk plus 5 metro stops, so at a brisk pace, we can get there in 35 minutes (sweaty by the time we arrive.) Also, our area is newly developed, meaning that I don’t think very many people live in our building (though there’s a cute toddler who lives across the hall) and the delivery people will get lost on the way a fair amount of the time. We are lucky that we have a method of ordering most things we need online…but unfortunately, food options are extremely lacking. There are so many days, especially if we’re coming home late after a faculty meeting or something, when we just want to order from a restaurant and have it delivered to our door.
There are a few hiccups with this plan: Firstly, we don’t know Chinese, and secondly, there are no restaurants nearby. We had pizza delivered once, but they charged an outrageous delivery fee because we live so far away (but it was raining, and we weren’t about to walk 15-20 minutes to the nearest grocery store.)
The last 3 Fridays, Thomas and I, as a reward of getting through the week, have stopped at McDonald’s on our way home. I typically order a Big Mac meal (with seasoned waffle fries!), chicken nuggets, an iced coffee, and a McFlurry. Thomas usually orders a more reasonable human amount of food.
So the process goes like this: We get off work, walk down to the metro, and go 4 stops. We exit the metro, go to McDonalds, and order a mountain of food and drinks. We go back to the metro, go one more stop, and then walk 15-20 minutes to our apartment, and then put our fries and nuggets in the toaster oven, because of course they’re cold at that point.
Anyway, the point of this story is that we decided to investigate a slightly different way home yesterday. We’d spotted a bridge that seemed a teensy bit more convenient than our usual route, and we took it, not knowing exactly where it may lead.
We passed this.
We walked a little more and saw a different angle of the view from our bedroom window.
We walked a little further, into what I can only assume will be part of some sort of financial district. The whole plaza was unfinished, and as we passed each building we looked into the big windows and saw emptiness. Vacant buildings, in the final stages of construction, waiting for the ribbon to be cut so they can open their doors as the next investment bank or whatever.
Then, in the distance, I saw a familiar image. I yelled at Thomas.
“There’s a Starbucks! I saw it! It’s up ahead!”
I walked excitedly ahead, anxious to show Thomas what I’d seen, and that’s when it happened.
A McDonald’s, not quite ready to open its doors, but beckoning us all the same. We exchanged a moment of silence, not quite believing our eyes, imagining a world where we were within a 5-minute walk of all the McFlurries our hearts desired.
We pressed onward.
And in the distance, the Starbucks.
I’m not even much of a coffee drinker, but I’m excited to have options at my fingertips.
People told us that Shenzhen was rapidly growing, and that our area would probably be the Next Big Thing, but I don’t think it really hit us until today.
It’s only a matter of time before these paths are crowded and businesses roll in. I’m excited for the possibilities. They seem endless now.
I’ll leave you with the view from my bedroom window. If I walk a few minutes along that purple line, on the other side of the long black building, I will find all my dreams coming true. Maybe one day, if I’m really lucky, I might even get someone to deliver those dreams right to my door.