As anyone who has ever tried to get me to go to anything knows, if it involves lunch or some other meal – even tea and cookies – I’ll be there. So when I saw the invitation to join the beijingkids Club at the new Italian restaurant Alio Olio for a special workshop for third-culture kids and their families, I knew Reina and I had to attend. Not necessarily because we know anything about third-culture kids or have questions, but because we love Italian food.
The workshop was run by three Parent Effectiveness Trainers Cherie Emigh, Ulrike Gemmer, and Kathryn Tonges and highlighted activities and ideas from their new book Slurping Soup and Other Confusions: True Stories and Activities to Help Third Culture Kids During Transition. They kicked off the event with a fun skit about slurping soup and why it is done in the Chinese culture but not in some foreign cultures. After that were activities involving mazes, making paper hats that represent our cultures, and even a quiz on food rules. As it was a workshop for parents and kids, the authors kept it to about 90 minutes, during which time Reina managed to wander over every inch of Alio Olio restaurant, but no one really minded. There were about thirty families in attendance and it was great to meet some new people, including Cindy Tarratz, another Parent Effectiveness Trainer. It seems parent effectiveness is a growing field in Beijing and I look forward to trying some of the workshops on offer in the near future. For more on Slurping Soup and its authors, check out www.slurpingsoup.com.
Afterwards, Reina and I loved the bow-tie pasta, salad, and pizza on offer from Alio Olio. If you get a chance, check out this restaurant run by a real Italian owner seeking to bring a little of his culinary culture to Beijing.