While China and its 1,325,639,982 inhabitants (a 2008 estimate) are busy celebrating the Chinese New Year, one small person in Washington D.C. is reflecting on her recent whirl-wind trip to Beijing.
In December 2009 we learned we will be moving to Beijing in the summer of 2010 (a time chosen so that Simon can finish his school year in First Grade at Murch Elementary School). Paul will work for the Beijing office of the World Bank, Simon and Thomas will go to school, and Anna is sure she'll find something super interesting to do, be it working, studying Mandarin, or taking a Chinese cooking class.
So on January 30 we flew to Beijing to learn about our new home, visit schools, and explore neighborhoods and apartment buildings. While friends (you know who you are!) joked that this was our honeymoon -- the kids indeed were staying with grandpa and grandma from Holland in our house in Washington D.C. -- this was hard work. Running on a steady supply of (mostly) Starbucks-supplied caffeine, we saw about 25 apartment buildings and homes, visited five schools, and spent countless hours zipping back and forth between the various locations. A great way of course to get a feel for the layout of the city (or at least the east-side of the city, with its fancy shopping malls and western-style office complexes. Check out the Solana Shopping Mall Website if you don't believe me.)
In fact, I will leave you at the end of this blog post thinking about shopping malls, simply because that was such a weirdly huge part of my first Beijing experience. Let's hope that my Beijing experience will become a little bit more diversified! Stay tuned.