Sometimes living overseas can be exhausting. You’re away from familiar friends and family, food is different, customs are different, entertainment is different, sometimes even going to the bathroom is different. Every once in awhile an expat needs to get together with some other expat friends and revel in the ‘normal.’ I put normal in quotation marks because there is no such thing, really (except as a setting on the dryer). But it’s a convenient word to use to describe the traditions, customs, and foods that one gets homesick for while living abroad.
These past few weekends (technically they’re weekdays, but they come at the end of my work week), I’ve indulged with some fellow expats in some bouts of ‘normalcy.’
To make our own fun we decided to have a sleepover at a friend’s house that included people playing mancala on my back, watching Bambi until 3 AM, and lots of hair braiding. Hilarity and hijinks ensued and we all gained a little of our sanity back.
The following weekend my friends and I held another sleepover, this time with a theme! It’s Christmas in July! We even brought gifts for a Yankee Christmas exchange. (I shamelessly used this as an opportunity to get rid of some junk I don’t need to take with me to Egypt.)
This second sleepover included much less shenanigans and we utilized our time the next day to visit Houhai, a popular area of Beijing among tourists.
Activities in the 100+ degree heat included a walk around HouHai Lake, a pedal-boat ride, lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant, and general revelry in the beauty that is the Beijing we live in.