I can’t believe I’m writing what I am right now, but since these are the feelings that pull at my heart, these are the feelings I must put to paper. I don’t want go home. I don’t know how to leave Beijing. In Taiwan, I have friends, an apartment, a job, and numerous kids counting on me to teach them, but I don’t want to go back. Everything I feel tells me to stay. I love this city.

Walking around in the bustle of the hutongs, I feel more at ease than I have in years. I’m making friends, both local and western at a prodigious rate. I’m surrounded by both the ancient and the modern. I’m in a city of 16 million, and yet, it’s the most bicycle-friendly place I’ve seen in my life. I can feel the energy of all the young who come here chasing their dreams. Why shouldn’t I stay here and do the same?

From what I’ve seen and experienced so far, this could well be the best place on the planet to be a Chinese student. I’ve saved enough money that I could live here as a full time student for two or three years without working. By the time it ran out, I’m sure I’d have skills far beyond what I would if I stayed on my current course. It would be a bit scary to bet the entirety of my hard-earned savings like that, and I don’t like the prospect of having to start over from scratch at 30. Who said dreams were free, though? If I were just concerned with saving for my old age, I’d be working and living in the US.

I could be really happy here.