Mulling life's great questions on lonely nights
Updated: 2011-09-07 09:28
By Lorea Solabarrieta (China Daily)
I've been in Beijing for nine months now. In the same time, I could have had a baby. Except, I'm stuck in that familiar and frustrating place of wanting to be a mother, but knowing that I'm not going to be one, anytime soon.
Recently, two colleagues at CCTV News held a birthday barbecue in our communal garden, at the Beijing Friendship Hotel. It was for their two boys, who were joined by around 30 of their pre-pubescent friends, running around screaming their heads off. I could hear the commotion from my apartment window and prayed the clown would show up soon. Then I could be guaranteed a more peaceful time in the garden.
As I sat on a bench, sipping my cola, watching these kids, I began to think that having children may not be all that wise a choice.
I am at that stage where I both yearn for and abhor them - or rather, yearn for my own but abhor those of others.
I like being alone. I like silence. At home, I like classical music or having the television on in the background. I had always imagined that if I had kids, they would be well behaved and raised like I was - respectful and quiet. Children should be seen and not heard, as the old saying goes. But friends tell me this will never happen. Perhaps, I over-idealize.
As an only child, there is probably nowhere more fitting a place to be now than China. However, I've noticed that they don't really like children in Hong Kong - women there have one of the lowest birth rates in the world. Now, I am half-Chinese and was mostly raised in Hong Kong, so this does alarm me. I'm hoping that being part-Spanish will tip the fertility scales in my favor.
Given the family planning policy, everyone Chinese that I meet in China, who is my age, is an only child.
News is, traditionally, a team effort, but with only-child adults controlling the work place, it's a formula for inefficiency. It's also food for thought.
Since living in this city, I've realized that being single is actually, quite lonely. Growing up in cities such as London and New York, besides Hong Kong, it was always hard to get a little "me" time - that little bit of luxury. There was always something going on every night of the week.
I go to the Bookworm Caf every Monday night. I've been told the Stumble Inn has a quiz on Tuesday nights, but that I won't leave it sober. Now, I'm trying to figure out what other healthy options there are for every night, for the rest of the week.
As a single woman in my child-bearing years, with no family here, I find myself yearning for a good partner and a child. I find myself looking for more spirituality and a better quality of life. I would like to hike, swim in an outdoor pool - hell, maybe even partake in a little religious activity. But these activities are few and far between.
As a single woman, there is only so much pub quizzing, shopping, binge drinking, music festivals, raves at the Great Wall and visits to the 798 Art district that one can do.
At some point, you must ask yourself the question - what can I learn from this city? Is this city fulfilling me on an emotional and spiritual level? Is this city making me the best person I can be?