I write about Haiyang a lot since it’s still part of my life in Qingdao. Haiyang is 2 hours north from Qingdao, our home for 3 ½ years, and where hubby works. It seems relatively close to Qingdao, but life in Haiyang is totally different. Away from the hustle bustle of Qingdao city life, Haiyang is sleepy, rustic, farm country.
As soon as school let out last Tuesday, we were on our way back “home”. Going back to Haiyang is a throwback to my pre-millennium days in New York. For long weekends and holidays, I’d fly or drive back to where I grew up in itty-bitty Amherst, Ohio. That’s what Haiyang is to me now, a Chinese version of my Amherst, Ohio.
Only if you come from small–town-middle-of-America can you really appreciate the sweet and calmness of that life… err… let me rephrase… Only if you come from a small town and then LEAVE that small town can you appreciate that life. In my teens, I wished to be anywhere but Amherst. Then 25 years later, my wish came true. So, careful with what you wish for, eh?
When we moved here in 2012, Haiyang was so remote it made Amherst look cosmopolitan. It took 30 minutes to get downtown to the local grocery store. Every weekend, there was a bus to make the 2 hour trek to Yantai or Qingdao so us expat villagers could load up on western necessities. Outages were swapped from week to week– either a day with no electricity and internet or a day of no water –with little to no notice. Our kitchen consisted of a countertop, a sink and an oven the size of a microwave. There was no stove, just 1 portable induction plate that I had no idea to use. Want to take a hot shower? Did you press the little button, dear? No? So you gotta wait at least 2 hours until it gets up to a bearable temperature. Lets grab a beer and kick back at a local bar while we wait for the water to heat up! Yeah, right. Our best bet was picking up room temperature beer from the store and pop-a-squat on the stoop. Which is exactly what we’d do.
Reliving our initial years in Haiyang, it amazes me how much it has transformed over the years. Like most things in China, a mere 4 years has changed Haiyang’s landscape drastically. There are several bars and plenty of delish restaurants we can swing by, even during the day. There’s a Leader grocery store a convenient couple miles away, a Zhen Hua shopping center for your fashion needs, several cute cafes, two movie theaters, a built up the waterfront, an amazing blueberry farm and not just one but TWO water parks! Even the outages have decreased significantly. And as for stooping, that hasn’t changed. It’s still a good time to kick back with the gang.
Haiyang may not be the self proclaimed:
But if you’re…
An easy road trip just straight up Songling lu, stay tuned for more Haiyang highlights! In the meantime, here are a couple new posts on the Great City of Haiyang:
See ya soon!