Melisa Rodriguez and Bamdad Jabbari hail from Canada. Rodriguez is a naturopathic doctor, while Jabbari works as a senior project manager lead at Microsoft. They have two kids: Dante Rodrigo Jabbari (age 7) and Ariana Maya Jabbari (5). Ariana attends The Family Learning House and Dante goes to a local school called Fuxue Elementary School (府学小学). The family has lived in Beijing for four years. We caught up with them recently to discuss some of their favorite hangouts.
At home, it would be popcorn for a snack and fruit for dessert. If we had to pick a restaurant, it would be ice cream from Häagen-Dazs.
Kids Beg Us to Go
Blue Frog and Steak and Eggs.
Favorite Day Trip
We enjoy visiting farms outside of Beijing for picking organic strawberries and peaches.
Favorite Family Restaurant
Matsuko, because of its great food and value. We love that the staff are so attentive with children. For younger kids, they have high chairs and kid-friendly dishes and cutlery.
Favorite Places to Shop
Melissa likes Zara and Mango, while Bamdad goes to Zhongguancun for electronics. For the kids, we go to Yashow Market; Bamdad also stocks up at Target on US business trips.
Every two weeks, we have a meeting where the kids can contribute to family decisions and get their voices heard.
We don’t go out very often, but when we do, we like Spanish restaurants like Niajo, Saffron, and Agua.
Indigo Mall in Jiuxian Qiao. The kids love books from Page One.
Best Places to Play
We like Chaoyang Park, because we can choose between relaxing in green spaces or going on a few rides with the kids. An indoor option is Sony ExploraScience within the park.
We love Tuanjiehu Park, because it’s quaint, there are fun things for the kids to do, and we can experience authentic Chinese culture. There’s also a good market called Tianyu Market near the east gate that doesn’t see a lot of foreigners.
Best Place for a Special Occasion
We enjoy going to Rumi.