Travel Diary: From Beijing

Having once lived in China for 11 years, I still travel there frequently. This post is from my trip to China in May 2010. View more stories from that trip and other China trips here.

My Grandma has lived in the same gated retirement community for more than a decade. There are 5 low-rise apartments in the community. Grandma lives in building 3, second floor, first unit – unit 321. As a child, I always found humor in the convenience of that apartment number.

When I attended elementary school in China, my parents both worked late into the evenings. Every day after school, I would walk to my Grandparents’ place, eat dinner with them, and do my homework there. Then, my father would come pick me up just before 8pm. This was my after school routine for many years, like clockwork.

I have a lot of childhood memories at my Grandma’s house: riding my bike in the courtyard, doing my homework on the sewing machine, and telling jokes with the gatekeeper.

Even after 9 years, I still have vivid recollections of this home. But the place is smaller than I remembered, and dimmer. Everything and everyone seem a lot smaller, now that I’m bigger. The apartment is undergoing renovations for the first time since it was built 20 years ago. It’s out with the old furniture and old windows, and in with the new tiles and new technology.

I took these photos as a last memory of this home, as I remembered it. A lot of the appliances and kitchen utensils in this place are older than me; Grandma is stuck in more traditional times. This was how people lived here, 10 years ago.

Going to a different city in a few days; updates later this week.

Much love,



15 responses to “Travel Diary: From Beijing

    • Thanks! I’m going to miss all these things, but the change with the renovations is also going to be refreshing – finally bringing my grandma’s house up to date with the latest technology and interior design!

  1. Hi Tracy,

    Nice photos there – I agree with the previous visitor. They have a certain dimmed tone (sepia?) that seems to be soaked with childhoood memories. It’s interesting what grandparents symbolize…mine have brought a large piece of China here with them.

    Thanks also for your updates from your trip 🙂 For me China is still a personal mystery, and reading your posts make me want to go back sometime soon. I guess that’s the hallmark of good travel writing, making someone else want to go where the writer has been?

    With warm wishes from Ottawa,


  2. So, you’re good with WordPress and other stuffs in China, huh? I remember you were afraid of living without these stuffs. 🙂

    • haha….I hope I wasn’t TOO dramatic about the lack of social media during my trip. WordPress doesn’t operate as smoothly here as it does back in North America, but I make do. I just want to keep posting photos and sharing my trip with everyone.

  3. Tracy, you’ve got a way with storytelling. I’m not sure if it this comes natural to you but I’m sure it took practice, as with any other good writer. I just stumbled upon your blog a few days ago but I’ve been hooked ever since! And I must say, this entry has got to be my favorite. I’m too lazy to place comments in anyone’s blogs but for me to actually leave one here must say something about how drawn I am to this piec – simple yet engaging. And to a certain extent, inspiring. Keep it up!

  4. Love, love, love these photos and this post! Were they taken on film? They certainly have that dreamy feel to them 🙂

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