Moon Living Abroad in Beijing
By Shannon Aitken
First Edition, January 2014
Price: $19.99 USD
Shannon Aitken has all the insight on what it’s like to live in Beijing—she’s made the move there herself. In Moon Living Abroad in Beijing, she offers firsthand advice on navigating the language and culture of this exciting metropolis and outlines all the information needed to settle down abroad in an organized and straightforward manner.
Moon Living Abroad in Beijing is packed with essential information and must-have details on setting up daily life, including obtaining visas, arranging finances, gaining employment, choosing schools, and finding health care—plus practical suggestions for how to rent or buy a home for a variety of needs and budgets, whether it’s a small apartment downtown or a sprawling villa in suburban Shunyi. With extensive color and black and white photos, illustrations, and maps to help you find your way, Moon Living Abroad in Beijing makes it easy for anyone to transition to a life abroad.
What’s inside Moon Living Abroad in Beijing
Here’s what author Shannon Aitken loves about Beijing:
- The sense that if you’re not currently doing something great then that opportunity is just around the corner.
- The feeling of freedom. Living in a modern communist country does not curtail your lifestyle one bit.
- How safe I feel walking home alone along a quiet, dark street at 3am.
- Perfectly flat terrain, wide bike lanes, and electric scooters that you can park anywhere you like.
- Beijing Duck (no one calls it Peking Duck here).
- The abundant but short-lived mass of blossoms in spring.
- The constant change. Things you want may not be here now, but wait a couple of months and they probably will be.
- Next-to-free public transport. An average trip in a taxi will be the equivalent of US$4.75 (RMB30); a subway ride US$0.32 (RMB2); and the average bus ride US$0.15 (RMB1).
- The exhilaration of going to one of the many fresh-food markets, which stock everything from freshly roasted sesame oil to hand-made noodles, to shockingly cheap avocados.
- The enthusiasm with which locals accept foreigners, whether they speak a word of Chinese or not.
- Extremely wide roads that seem to make the city far less intense and populated than it really is.
- The infinite and ever-expanding number of restaurants and bars.
- The fact that you can go out for a fine meal for about a quarter of the price that you’d pay in the States.
- Free home delivery–for almost anything.
- The constantly surprising diversity of Chinese people living here.
- Streets and markets that dedicate themselves to one thing, whether it’s photographic equipment, musical instruments, or trophies.
- The fact that going for a massage doesn’t have to be a luxury.
- Free Wi-Fi in virtually every café and bar.
- The endless social and networking opportunities for expats.
Shannon Aitken was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, where she first worked as a speech pathologist for several years before returning to school to study journalism. After graduating, she went on to write for many of Australia’s top food magazines, including Master Chef, delicious. and Vogue Entertaining + Travel. Despite thriving in her career, Shannon longed for a wilder adventure, so she set off on a cycling trip through Yunnan province in southern China and later backpacked through Guilin, Shanghai, and Beijing. Things really clicked into place for her in Beijing, a city that felt both foreign and familiar at the same time. At once she decided this was where she wanted to live and work, so she returned to Australia to pack up her life, moved to Beijing in 2007, and has been there ever since.
In Beijing, Shannon took over the Managing Editor position of what was then the city’s oldest English-language magazine, Beijing Talk. She’s written travel and lifestyle stories for the China Daily as well as international publications, edited for various publications, including travel companies and charities, and even dabbled in teaching English. Her work has connected her with people from diverse industries and backgrounds and given her rich insights into the city she loves so much. Shannon has studied spoken and written Chinese since her arrival in the country, and though she fears it will be a lifelong battle to truly master the language, she can hold a decent conversation with (patient) locals.
Food and travel continue to be Shannon’s true passions, and she frequently sets off on trips around Beijing and into the surrounding countryside to hike, rock climb, or just relax. She loves to explore Beijing’s multitude of food markets and restaurants, and she blogs about her favorite food findings at mychineseappetite.com. When she has free time, you can find her lazing around at outdoor cafes, on rooftop bars, or on a chair outside her hutong home with one of her many wonderful Beijing friends.