The end of 2022 is here, and if I’m being honest, I’m ready for it!
2022 was a year that started off strong, with the Spring Festival and the Olympics, and high hopes of opening up. But little did we know it would turn into possibly the hardest COVID year.
It has been a year of uncertainty, with an underlying current of worry and anxiety. Beijing went through a “soft lockdown” in May, meaning all restaurants and businesses closed for dine-in or in person services, and could only do delivery or remote. We then had this again from the end of November into December. Then China has suddenly opened up in December. The crazy 180 of the policies are enough to give anyone whiplash.
It made it difficult to predict what might happen in a day or two, let alone a week or a month.
Overall, I’m so thankful I’ve had a job throughout all of this, I’ve been healthy, I’ve had the best partner and great friends here in Beijing through these times.
For myself, this year looked a little different with work projects, since we didn’t travel as much as I did in 2020 and 2021.
Here are some highlights from the year.
In January, I celebrated New Year’s with friends at Xi’an Bar with Stevie Mac and the Mac Daddies, a fantastic pop swing band here in Beijing.
On January 31, 2022, I performed at the 2022 Spring Festival Gala in Beijing! The Spring Festival Gala has the largest audience of any entertainment show in the world and is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s most watched television program, with over a billion people watching on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
You can read the full post here: I Performed In China’s 2022 Spring Festival Gala: The World’s Most Watched TV Program
I also hosted a few livestreams for the Chinese New Year: one about Baoyuan (colorful) dumplings, and another about Peking Duck. So I got to eat lots of delicious food!
Nathan and I went to the Longqing Gorge Ice Festival in Beijing, which had lots of Olympic themed art and decorations for the upcoming Olympics! It was weird to be so close to the Olympic Games, but still so far because of the closed loop system they had for the Olympics.
I made a few videos around Beijing for work during this time, like trendy edible coffee cups, and the hot springs in Beijing.
We hosted a screening for Nathan’s documentary film, Smiling with the World.
And we went to Shanghai for our first DNC Shanghai event, a Speed Dating Event we hosted with Michelle, and caught up with friends in Shanghai.
I was featured in an article by That’s Magazine. In July 2021 my Instagram was account wrongly being labeled state media last year, (which is just dead wrong and Instagram and Facebook have still not fixed) and you can read a little bit about it in this interview: Rachel Weiss on The Day In the Life of a Foreign KOL in China.
We did lots of green screen filming for Date Night China, which was lots of fun!
We also went to a 90’s Prom themed party, tried rock climbing, and continued swing dance lessons. Also, went hunting for the “cilantro” ice cream McDonald’s offered for a short time here.
April was full of many social events: DNC bowling event, camping with friends, and podcasting for Date Night China.
I celebrated the start of my last year of my 20s with a Roaring 20’s birthday bash! We had BBQ and cocktails on the Eudora Station rooftop, with so many friends from Date Night China and other Beijing communities as well. It was so nice to celebrate with such a large party, as I knew so many of my friends would be leaving this year. It was also great timing because of the imminent soft lockdown Beijing had shortly after….
In May, Beijing went into a “Soft lockdown,” where restaurants closed for dine-in service, and we all worked remote. It was a strange time, nice to slow down for awhile, but also very strange. I reflected on many of my expat friends leaving in this survey and article: Expat Exodus from China: Is the Time of the Foreigners Over?
People started hanging out by Beijing’s LiangmaQiao (Liangma River) since no one could go inside. It actually was quite nice to spend more time outdoors!
On May 23, Nathan and I celebrated 2 years together! I planned a scavenger hunt around Beijing to some of our favorite and memorable spots.
Summer birthdays for friends, hanging with good people and Beijing opened back up again. June was a great month.
More time with friends and a Universal Studios trip to see our amazing friend Myra perform in the Waterworld Show!
Also, a 4th of July party at the Local.
In August I went away for my first real film trip of the year for a series called Incredible Young Talents. We would meet young kids around China who had exceptional skills and passion for different sports, games, etc.
This was a 2 week trip where I went to Zhejiang Province to Qiantong Ancient Town in Ningbo and met these young Lion dancers. This was a really cool project to be part of! We also met Bobby, a young climber, as well as a soccer star.
I went on another work trip, this time to film in Shandong about the agricultural tourism and revitalization. I hosted several livestreams and filmed some vlogs about the experience.
I also took a trip to the Forbidden City (for maybe the 5th time)! See more photos here: Mid-Autumn Festival at the Beijing Forbidden City
Nathan’s birthday! He wanted a fun hang where people could just drop by whenever, so we had a celebration at the Local. Nathan and I also did a staycation at the China World Summit Hotel.
The fall marked a busy time for me and Nathan – we were both being sent on work trips at alternate times. I went to Zhejiang first, then he went to Ningxia, I went to Shandong, then he went on a three week trip about wetlands in China right after his birthday to Wuhan, Hubei, then to Haikou, Hainan, and Hangzhou. Another trip was added on for him during that, so he went right away.
We hosted a Beer Olympics for Date Night China, celebrated Morag’s birthday.
I also started hunting for fall leaves in Beijing and went to Mutianyu Great Wall: Stunning Autumn Scenery and Leaves.
In November we had a Thanksgiving with friends, renting an Airbnb house together to celebrate.
Right when we returned at the end of November, Beijing went into a soft lockdown again. So for the second time this year, all restaurants closed for dine in, and we had to work remote from home. Many of my friends went into lockdown in their compounds for 3-5 days at a time. Read more in this post: An Update From Beijing: November 2022
2022 was also a year of saying goodbye to friends in Beijing: Molly, Lettice in January. Michelle and Carl in March. Morag and Waldo in November, Myra and Cale in December. And many many others. It’s been a big shifting year for many expats in China deciding what to do with their future here.
The big surprise of this year was going home to the US for the first time in 3 years! I usually am in Texas, but this year I went to Charlotte to see my sisters and my parents!
After 3 years away and such a different life in China with COVID, it has been so nice to catch up with family, and enjoy US things again like Target and Chick-fil-A 😉
And while I’ve been home the big announcement came: China will no longer require quarantine after January 8!
I’ll be returning to China in January, and I’m hopeful for a more open and more normal way of life in China in 2023.
Wishing you all a happy 2023!!!