Marc Henderson, 48, born in Chicago, Illinois, US
Susan Dietz-Henderson, born in Papua New Guinea
Louise Dietz-Henderson, 15, born in Australia
Hane Dietz-Henderson, 13, born in Australia
Marc: Beijing is our second city in China. We had been based in Shanghai for a few years prior. Altogether we have been in China for over four years. Before this, we were in Los Angeles, California, and before that in Australia. Although I’m technically retired (after 20 years in the US Navy), I now run a business importing high-end beef from Australia for the expatriate community. During my career in the military, I have traveled quite a bit. I actually feel more at home being overseas than being in my own country. That does not mean I don’t love my country; I truly do. I just have learned to appreciate what experiences the rest of the world has to offer. China has welcomed us with open arms and I plan on making the most of our time here.
Susan: We came to Beijing in 2009. I’m the chief representative for my company, one of the largest and oldest US-based fund management
firms in the world. I’ve lived in China on and off since 1978 and the changes I’ve seen over the last 30 years have been phenomenal. Each time I come back it seems like a whole new place. I like seeing how Chinese and Western ideas get tangled together in new and interesting ways over time. There’s never a dull moment. Even my downtime is pretty full! I love to read and play board games to outdo Marc, who is terribly competitive! Summer is also a great time for eating out at one of the huge range of restaurants here or hosting BBQs in our backyard. I also enjoy contributing to the Australian Chamber of Commerce, where I’m a member of the Board. Currently, I’m in training for my second half-marathon and am looking forward to reviving my old skills in flamenco dancing when my brother visits in November. He’s a flamenco teacher and will hold classes while he’s here. There isn’t much that you can’t find here. It’s a matter of keeping your eyes and your mind open.
Louise: It is pretty cool that my family moved to Beijing for my Mom’s job. I go to school at the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB) and enjoy hobbies like playing soccer (on the school team), Pilates, studying Chinese, creative writing and reading. I don’t really have a future plan for life, school or my career yet. For now, I just want to get through high school with good grades and go to a good university. In contrast to life in Canberra, Australia, where we used to live, Beijing is much more fun and exciting. I especially enjoy going to the markets in Beijing, like Yashow and the Zoo Market.
And it’s easy to buy DVDs here for just RMB 15 each. Prices in Australia compared to other countries are much more expensive. One day, my friend and I were walking out of Yashow, and we were passing by a bunch of DVD sellers. They were selling pirated DVDs that were mostly new releases and no doubt bad copies. A DVD seller jumped up behind us, accidentally pushing my friend, and shoved his pirated DVDs in our face telling us, “Buy one! Buy one DVD!” It was so unexpected that my friend yelped. Even when we said no, the seller kept walking behind us saying “Yes, yes, buy one.” I guess it just goes to show the determination of a pirated DVD salesman.
Hane: I also go to WAB and my favorite classes are music, art, drama, English, humanities, and physical education class. My hobbies are track and field, soccer, badminton, Pilates, cooking, shopping, listening to music, and playing piano. In the future, I want to be a record producer, because I love music and it would be a lot of fun managing an artist and meeting important people. Or I would like to be a chef and own a lot of restaurants. If I could choose where we could move to next, I would move back to Australia or Los Angeles. I want to go to college somewhere in California. It’s been fun living in Beijing, though. There are markets where we can shop for great bargains. There are also a lot of historic places to visit. It is crowded but fun.