fully agree that BJ is difficult place to make local friends. Maybe b/c I was there during the Olympics, but I don’t know if I even met a single native Beijinger there during the whole time.
However being there for longer, I think with effort you should be able to meet and befriend locals, or at least immigrants who have fixed jobs or families there who are planning to stay. But you need to be pretty very selective with how you spend your time and with whom you spend it with. In the end, the real reason for the ex-pat lifestyle might just be that its more difficult to relate to the native Chinese than it is with westerners. Therefore you automatically tend towards certain types of people. And those are exactly the types of people who aren’t likely to stick around for the long haul.
So it’s not necessarily a move needed, but maybe just a change of mindset. Would be very interested to hear what Barbara M-L would say about this.]]>