Figuring out where we were going after Mussoorie was a bit of a surprise. As Adam applied for opportunities, we had very open minds: we wanted to explore the world. It came down to two places: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and Zanzibar, Tanzania. Adam was initially going to be accepting a position at a school in Mongolia (which we were extremely excited about) before something personal came up, and we could no longer accept that position.
Luckily – something came next, and we were able to accept it. We are thrilled and excited that we will be going to Beijing, China with Harrow International School Beijing, this coming August. We have the Fidlers not far away, the Husthwaites also in the area, and are within an easy plane flight of friends in Japan and South Korea. Adam will be teaching English, and while we are a bit sad he will not be engaging with mathematics more, hopefully that can come in time. I, meanwhile, am excited about returning to Mandarin and studying – and speaking! – it for real this time, and not just in an academic setting.
We have already been in touch with a buddy in Beijing at Harrow, and Ashlea introduced me to a friend of hers who is a staff spouse there as well, so we are feeling a lot more prepared and with a better understanding of what to expect and what we will have, or need to bring with us. Harrow is able to provide us a lot of things, and there is an IKEA trip already in the works, planned by the school, and so we have already started peeking at IKEA hacks for making our apartment a bit more ‘our style’.
We are also already preparing for the poor air quality. I’ve been monitoring it and it’s not actually as horrible as the media makes it out to be – much better than Delhi, for certain, on average! – but we are not often in Delhi. It will certainly necessitate buying air filters for the apartment, and we are okay with that (frankly, I miss having a nice HEPA filter anyway!). I am particularly excited that our little people will have friends nearby, and A will be eligible to enter school in August. Apparently, staff and staff families are also allowed to use school facilities (like the pool!) after school hours… And Beijing is an eminently cycle-able city. Friends are already looking out for bikes for us to buy as staff at various places depart.
Here’s a video from the run-up to the 2008 Olympics; it features a number of famous Chinese people, and was filmed at a number of landmarks.