Back in September, Daystar Academy told parents that the welcome back BBQ was going to be postponed until after the October holiday due to the resurfacing of the sports field. As the date of the “welcome back” BBQ finally came around this past weekend, I was pleased to see that the school had managed to plan the event on a day when the pollution was at bay and the sky was a glorious blue, even if the temperature was a tad crisp for some.
The event itself was fairly low-key: kids were playing pickup games of football (soccer to my fellow Americans), swinging on the swings, and zooming down the slides. Near the entrance to the school building, a clown was handing out long balloons that kids and parents transformed into animals, flowers, and intricate patterns. Nearby, a pair of ladies busily painted flowers, butterflies, and cat faces for a never-ending line of children while an equally popular table dispensed cotton candy. And of course, there was the BBQ. Daystar had catered the event by hiring Culinary Capers to provide the eats for the 300 or so guests. The spread was typical western style BBQ fare with mini burgers, sausages, seasoned grilled veggies, baked sweet potatoes, soups, and plates of cookies, banana bread, and fruit. To cut down on trash and make things a bit friendlier toward the environment, families brought their own picnic hardware: blanket, plates, cups, cutlery, etc.
It was a fun event, but the real pleasure for me was having a few hours to put faces to the names Reina had been talking about over the past six weeks and to meet more fellow Daystar parents. I continue to be impressed with the caliber of those who have chosen to educate their children at Daystar. Many are professionals with international and local companies based here in Beijing, but there is also a sizeable group of entrepreneurs who have built businesses in the capital, including a few that I was already a customer of. Yet despite our varied backgrounds, at the end of the day, we are all parents faced with the same challenges of contending with homework, extracurricular activities, and play date schedules. Busy people? Absolutely! But we all recognized the value of a good BBQ on a sunny afternoon at school.
Photo by Christopher Lay