"You are not the first to have this thought... 1000's of English teachers and backpackers with trust funds are already here."
Hahahaha ... bring your scubba diving gear if you have any :)
Also get yourself a life jacket .. LOL.. We gonna swim again mhen ...
At the moment, I'm living in Germany, so I don't know how different will the prices be in Beijing, about food, expenses, living.
Depends on where in Germany you are living. If you are not living in city like München, Frankfurt or Düsseldorf. The housing part in general wouldn't be too much different comparing to a middle size city in Germany. But in the end, it also depends on your living standard. If you aim to live in a modern single flat in a high building with ca. 50qm located closed to e.g. 3rd East Ring, you can calculate a monthly rent for at least 5000rmb.
Food are averagely slightly cheaper than in Germany if you buy from a supermarket. You would have a greater choice of dining-out. The possiblity of eating cheap and good in a restaurant is bigger.
Going out/clubbing is pretty much the same, i mean prices for drinks, if you do not intend to go to those expensive venues..
Is it hard, as an american, to meet new friends, meet new people? How open are for that matter? Is it hard to move around the city? Are the products in the grocery stores very different from what I might be used to?
Getting to know people shouldn't be too hard. I mean, it's a city with more than 19million population! And a lot of people may be very keen to talk to you, if you do not mind the motive of their approaching is to practice their English...But the "move around the city" part wouldn't be that comfortable, if you tend to use the subway, or cabs during rush hours. The dairy products might be quite different than you expected though, comparing to both German and American standards.
Well, Beijing can really offer you much more than you can imagine. Good luck!