Our first month in Beijing has been an epic one. From finding and moving into our apartment, to exploring the area and enjoying the food. I never thought I would ever have the chance to see all the things I have seen. In our short time here, we have learned a lot about China and its people. Our time here has also been full of first time events and great night-outs with friends.
First off, the malls here are incredible. We had to go to the Golden Resource mall to buy Korey a new phone and were blown away by the size of the place! 6 stories of shops, restaurants, tea rooms, etc. At this mall (I don’t know if it is in all Chinese malls), the floors are divided by what goods are offered. For example, one floor is all about kids clothes and kids furniture. Complete with giant animal mascots running around to take pictures with the children. It almost felt like Disneyland. Sure there are a few snack/drink options around, but the majority of the stores were completely dedicated to kids. To get Calvin some new shoes, we knew exactly where to go and didn’t have to run around six stories. Clothing was a little weird though, as women’s was divided between the business clothing floor and then sporty clothing. Sportswear was where you found familiar shops like Nike, Columbia, North Face, etc. I can’t even begin to explain all of the different things that you could find!
One of the best parts of the mall was in the basement level. No one had told me that the basement was literally a child’s wonderland. There were rides, the most amazing games I have ever seen, and a full-sized ice rink. They even had a pond so you could rent RC boats and drive them around. There was enough to keep a family like ours busy for hours. You would think that all of this excitement came with a hefty price tag, but I would say that after conversion, we spent about as much as we would have in the USA. For China, absolutely it would be considered more expensive. But I am still happy to say that I feel for the experience, we got out money’s worth. Keep in mind, we have only been to one mall here in China but I am already thoroughly impressed.
As for other adventures, we have been extremely busy. My coworkers at work are just the most incredible group of people that I could possibly meet. They are all interested in trying new things, new food, and new cultures. One of my new friends is a Chinese local and neglected to tell us it was her birthday, because apparently it is not considered a big deal in China after a certain age. WELL, it is certainly important in America so we insisted on throwing her a birthday party! It was great. We took our first Beijing subway to a Mexican restaurant in the Beijing hutongs. The food was great and the margaritas were even better ;). After my husband and son went home, the adults carried on to KARAOKE! There are places called KTV, which is a professional karaoke business that rents private rooms with multiple microphones and songs to choose from. Because there is always a bar nearby, there is plenty of liquid courage to help anyone who needs it! There were songs in both Chinese and English, so we were all singing the night away!
It is not all play though, Calvin and I have been hard at work when it comes to school. He is taking full advantage of all the clubs and extracurriculars the school has to offer. I believe he signed up for track and field, basketball, and art club. This means he won’t get home until 5:30 pm every night! I told him as long as he keeps his grades up he could be in them, so he has been diligently getting his work done. I even signed up for a teacher swim club to keep myself busy and active. Classes are going great and I am at the stage where I am starting to learn everyone’s name! The kids are almost exactly like my American students. Some dedicated, some not so much, etc. But they are fairly polite and seem interested to get to know me and the other teachers so I am happy! I think that I will be able to teach them a lot this year!
Back to the fun! Because my school understands we all want to see Beijing but have no idea where to start, they are arranging events every month to show us their home (and to make sure we don’t get lost). This month, they arranged to take us to the Temple of Heaven! It was amazing and so much to see! So much so, that I decided I will make a separate blog post next week and devote it to showing you pictures and telling you all about the temple. Either way, our first month in China has been an absolute success and we can’t wait to discover more! We have a three-day weekend in September coming up and we are planning some cool things! Stay tuned!