Beijing had a super sunny side up this summer whether you managed to escape it, or braved it headlong, all that is about to become a distance thought. The run around the mill begins now as we prepare to send the kids off to awaiting new adventures of learning and making friends at school.
Although the cooler temperature readings of autumn have yet to make themselves felt, there is no denying that it is back to business hereabouts in Shunyi. If, like mine, your children require uniforms, it means that this week you may be heading to the school to purchase the uniforms and get them altered in time. There will also be a few trips into the CBD to buy accessories such as shoes and basic school supplies. I remember, as a young girl, looking forward to opening up a fresh box of crayons or turning a brand new notebook to the first page and starting afresh.
(Not Just) For Newcomers
If you are new to Beijing, and to Shunyi, welcome! There is a great group of volunteers called the International Newcomers’ Network (INN). They hold a variety of gatherings that are an opportunity for new and not-so-new residents to meet, socialize and pick up valuable information about this big, bustling city.
Plan on heading into Chaoyang on Monday August 26th for INN’s biggest monthly meeting of the year called “Arrival Survival: Living Smart in Beijing”. Expect to learn from INN volunteers and expat experts on the best ways to navigating and getting settled into life in the city.
For networking with people who live in the same vicinity, INN organizes once a month neighborhood coffee mornings. The first Shunyi coffee morning after the summer break will be on Thursday August 15 from 10am to noon at Comptoirs de France in Europlaza. Regular INN Shunyi coffee mornings are held every third Thursday of the month, except for June and July.
Some resources you should get your hands on
Download a Beijing taxi guide app for your Smartphone. The best ones will list addresses and phone numbers and Chinese names of business establishments, schools and major tourist attractions. It makes navigating the city much easier. Check out Beijing Taxi-Book or Beijing Taxi Guide.
If you prefer a hard copy of addresses for places frequented by foreigners, then keep an eye out for the ring-bound pocket-size book the next time you are in Wangfujing. It is available for RMB 50 at the Foreign Languages Bookstore.
The latest copies of the free issue of beijingkids and the beijinger magazines can be picked up from Jenny Wang’s, Starbucks, or Beijing United Family Hospital, Dental Clinic in Pinnacle Plaza and Comptoirs de France in Europlaza. Aside from the monthly themed articles, these provide invaluable hard copies of directories of the city’s best shops and services.
Watch this space too, for a few more tips on Shunyi living that will hopefully be of help to newcomers here.
Computer Shop Recommendations
Your home will inevitably need some computer-related paraphernalia or services throughout the school year. Save yourself a trip into town and make your first stop right at Pinnacle Plaza, in the little shop that could, Johnson’s Computer Connections.
The staff at Johnson’s Computer Connections are friendly, speak fluent English, and go out of their way to help you figure out your needs or order merchandise for you. The staff at Johnson’s is the only one who have not made us feel like we were insisting on something out of the ordinary by refusing to buy faulty merchandise. There was a problem with an order we made in regards to the Apple adapter, for there was only the wall adaptor therefore we took the product back but couldn’t get a new one so we had to settle for a refund. Kudos to Johnson’s for understanding the sort of service that foreigners expect.
Filling Up Bellies
Readers of this space will notice that our family takes careful note of new food offerings in Shunyi. We take eating quite seriously!
So we were happy to receive an email from the former Sausage Club, informing us that they have now partnered up on deliveries with Two Guys and a Pie. Run by three Australian men who take their food even more seriously than we do, the new venture is called Pies and Sangas. I don’t know about you, but the thought of enjoying a home-cooked meal prepared by men is such a treat.
They offer a gourmet of handmade sausages include traditional pork, sun dried tomato, mexican jalapeño, moroccan merguez lamb sausages, as well as gluten-free varieties. Pies are available in beef, pork, chicken, lamb, veggie, and apple varieties. You can order both sausages and pies, or only either one. These are freshly frozen with the promise of all natural ingredients and no MSG, preservatives, additives or junk. The goodies freeze well for two months and can be an indispensable part of your kitchen with growing kids coming home hungry at the end of a long school day.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “I have the munchies” to get yourself on the mailing list. You will then receive the weekly email menu as well as instructions for ordering. Their contact number is 186 1255 7637 in case you seek further clarifications.
The structure that was being built at the far end of Pinnacle Plaza is now getting its finishing touches. And the sign finally announces what it’ll be: Burger King. This makes a good addition to the global brands on offer in Shunyi (although I’m not sure health food advocates will agree with me). I predict this will be a popular hang-out among teenagers after school in this part of the central villas area, and will definitely up the burger wars in the suburbs.
I hope you and your children are all looking forward to new beginnings.
Photo courtesy of Swan hotel (flickr)
Dana is the beijingkids’ Shunyi Correspondent. Originally from the Philippines, she moved to Beijing in 2011 (via Europe) with her husband, two sons and Rusty the dog. She enjoys writing, photography, theater, visual arts, and trying new food. In her free time, she can be found exploring the city and driving along the mountain roads of Huairou, Miyun and Pinggu.