May 17, 2017

Not much going on. I had a pretty good week with the kids and thought I would share these. We’ve been studying Europe so for their cooking class we prepared a British tea for Mother’s Day. Kiki brought a ton of flowers so the kids could arrange flowers with their moms too.

The air has been nice since we had the OBOR (One Belt One Road) conference in town over the weekend. The traffic has sucked though, and the police have been raiding bars and restaurants all over the city checking people’s passports and checking for drugs. They occasionally crack down but eventually it eases up. Jess and I took a bus a little ways out to Shunyi Saturday to try to escape Beijing for a little while and do some exploring.

Monday, one of my kid’s moms decided to take the whole class out to lunch. She booked a limo van to take us out to this fancy room at a really upscale restaurant with course after course. We had about half a dozen people waiting on us and a private patio with a waterfall and swinging chairs. The kids really got a kick out of it. I enjoyed it to but on the other hand this is the kind of thing that frustrates me about China. People do things like this, partly as a nice gesture, and I give her credit for that, but most of the time it’s also about mianzi, or the Chinese concept of “face”-anything to make themselves look good and gain face. As evidenced by the hundred or so photos posted on WeChat for all the other parents to see. But I’ll get more into that another time. It was still a nice day.


2 thoughts on “May 17, 2017

  1. Hi Nicole,
    I came across your blog from the ITA Q&A section and I thought I’d get in touch to ask you a few questions about China. I will also be moving to Beijing in September to teach. I was wondering what the opportunities for travelling are like once you’re there? I’ve always wanted to visit Thailand and Indonesia – have you been able to save and go travelling around Asia while working?
    Also, what tips or advice would you give as someone who has been living in Beijing for some time, to a new-comer? How have you been able to cope with the transition of not being able to use social media forms of communication? (Generally what can you tell me about the censorship situation there?) Sorry for bombarding you with questions! I appreciate any help you might be able to offer šŸ™‚
    Thank you in advance – Nataly


    • Hi Nataly,
      Sorry, I’m usually quick to answer but I’ve been kind of AWOL from this blog lately. Traveling Asia is easy from China, especially a big city; I’ve been to South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, and Thailand in the past year. Also Spain for New Year’s, just to have a break from Asia! Salaries for foreign teachers are generally high enough that you can travel frequently. The government is cracking down on media but if you have good VPN software you can still access Google, Netflix, Facebook-everything. I use Express VPN and rarely have problems. You need a good paid provider though-the free ones don’t work well. There’s a pretty large community of expats in Beijing so I would just advise you to network as much as possible-China is all about who you know. The ITA China FB group is helpful if you haven’t already joined. Check out and too for activities, apartment and job listing. The best jobs are usually unlisted though so, again, network as much as possible. Feel free to message me more questions, and good luck!


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