02 - Beijing - Settling In
You will have noticed there have not been many reports!Life has not been particularly adventurous over the last few months, it has been a case of ‘settling in’ to a new country, new jobs, new accommodation and a new lifestyle. Having said that, we have been happy, have done some exploration, some spending, and are enjoying our time in Beijing. It is, however, time for another report. So, here is an update.
Our shipping has arrived, and the apartment is looking a bit more like ours! A lot of things we really like have been packed to go to Beihai, to stay safely and permanently at home. A lot of books, especially for maths, were not needed this year, so have gone into storage in Shanhong’s school. So, the apartment is not too crowded … although I still have one room to sort! The accommodation has been working very well – and now the heating is on (and included in the rent), we are very cosy indeed – don’t notice temperatures outside now regularly go below zero!
We bought a car! After much debate on the merits of a good second-hand car, or cheap new car, we ended up buying new. The bike battery was flat, we were walking home, and we passed a Nissan dealership. So, we went and asked if we could charge the bike battery while looking at cars… they agreed, and so we looked, and discovered the Livina (cheap version) was within budget! So – here we are. It looks good, is very comfortable, drives well… but it is cheap… no central locking even! Still, my journey to school each day now only takes around half an hour, and I stay warm!
One of the disappointments of Chiang Mai, was the lack of theatre shows or musical concerts. Apart from ‘Cats’ which was a weekend trip to Bangkok, we saw very little. So, part of coming to Beijing was a decision we would try to go out once a month. The good news is, we are doing so – there are a number of shows passing through Beijing regularly! So, last month we went to see a Rogers and Hammerstein version of Cinderella, as well as a classical concert of orchestra and voice, and last night we saw the Elton John/Tim Rice version of Aida. Next month it is the turn of ‘pop’ as we are going to see Kylie Minogue!
Most people, thinking of Beijing, seem to think of a dirty, polluted, busy city. That may be true for the downtown centre on a bad day – but the suburbs are clear and sunny – and a one hour drive takes you into beautiful countryside. We joined a group for a hike around the foothills of the Great Wall one Saturday and these pictures show just how beautiful it can be.
PonsVista International Study Centre
For the first time in many years, I am not teaching. My job this year has been to set up and create an International Study Centre for visiting school groups to be able to come and visit Beijing and experience a little bit of Chinese culture. The centre is now open, and in September we had our first group come to stay. The photos below show the PonsVista centre, and our visitors enjoying their stay. Please help me to spread the word. Tell your friends in schools and universities, that we would be very happy to host a group from their school or college! If you have friends who are teachers, tell them about our centre! Thank you! Our website is http://www.ponsvista.com/
While I have been enjoying setting up PonsVista, Shanhong has been very busy in her new school, teaching Music to older Elementary School students. The school is still young, but growing fast, and there are many activities and extra-curricular events to organize. Last week it was ‘an evening of music’ for students to demonstrate their playing of instruments, next week it is the winter concert in school, and carol singing in a major hotel. The school itself is beautiful, with a fantastic blend of traditional Chinese furniture and furnishings, and modern school spaces. Unfortunately, the best pics on the website cannot be copied, so head to http://www.bcis.cn/ and look for yourself!
Trevor, Shanhong (&Teddy)