The Finn family is originally from the US and France. They are mom Marie, dad James, Ariane (age 16), Chloe (14), and Julien (11). All three children attend the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB). James works for Volkswagen while Marie works at the Swedish School Beijing. The Finns have lived in Beijing for eight years; prior to that, they lived for three years in Nagoya, Japan.
Favorite Family Restaurant
Mugen in Lido. When the kids were younger, the staff was always very attentive and would give us a private room.
A lot of our favorite neighborhoods have been knocked down, but the kids still love the area around the Drum and Bell Towers. They enjoy exploring small shops looking for unusual items and talking to shop owners.
Favorite Places to Shop
Page One for books or browsing and dreaming at Cuccina (Indigo Mall) for kitchen supplies. If we’re paying, the kids like H&M, Pull and Bear, Bershka, and Zara. If they’re using their allowance, Yashow Market or various vintage shops.
Alameda. It’s nothing too original or fancy, but the service, drinks, and food quality are consistently good.
Sports, sports, sports! We all do karate. Chloe and Julien play rugby while Ariane plays softball. Early on Saturday or Sunday, Mom, Dad, and whichever teenager we can pull out of bed will go to circuit or spin class at Humans in Motion.
Rainy Day Activities
Read books at Page One, The Bookworm, or the French Cultural Center; visit art galleries; or drop the girls off at Solana.
We recently found a Korean supermarket in Wangjing called 1004. The kids loved buying foods there that reminded them of Japan, such as onigiri and mochi.
We all love bingtang hulu, jidan bing, and the Beijing “street yogurt” (lao suannai) in the grey ceramic containers.
Best Autumn Activities
Hiking in the mountains on the west side of Beijing. They’re a bit far, but not as crowded as Miyun or Huairou. We also buy chestnuts, walnuts, and giant pumpkins from farmers, and enjoy the changing of the leaves.
Best Way to Relax
We’ll usually watch a movie at Megabox in Sanlitun, but we also like Stellar Cinema behind The Place and The Hutong for indie films. We saw a documentary about Mongolian hip-hop there and loved it!
photo by KEN
This article originally appeared on p96 of the beijingkids October 2013 issue.
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com