Today’s installment of Beckoned to Beijing stars Sevilay Cantez, a Turkish mother of two British School of Beijing students -Talya (age 9) and Ali (6) – who came to Beijing when her husband, Ali Cudi Cantez was transferred to Mercedes/Daimler’s China branch. She shares with us about adjusting to Chinese cuisine, how she struggled to ship her belongs here, and more.
My husband has been working for Mercedes/Daimler Istanbul for 25 years. We were traveling a lot, especially in Europe, but not in Asia. So we liked the idea of living and traveling in Asia for a few years, learning Asian culture and history.
Before coming to Beijing we were aware of the air pollution. But when we came for a "look and see trip," we saw that Beijing has nice green parks and lots of trees. We decided to live in Shunyi because of our two little kids.
There are many benefits to living here. Compared to some other cosmopolitan cities, Beijing is a secure city. And we believe that just being here is a great opportunity for our kids to expand their horizons, learn a new culture and become fluent in a third language.
But it’s not always easy being here. Although we had a freight shipment while moving here, a small container, we were only able to get our boxes within eight weeks. That was not a pleasant surprise for us. Another surprise was not being able to drive with an international driving license, even for a few months.
After visiting other international schools, we enrolled our kids at BSB Shunyi. We thought that it was the warmest welcoming school for small children of different cultures.
We chose Beijing United Family Hospital (BJU) for all our health needs. They have a clinic in Shunyi. They work with many good doctors from different nationalities providing international standard care.
If I could give anyone from Istanbul advice before coming here, I’d tell them: Chinese food is so much different than Turkish food, with very different oil and lots of garlic. Also, practice eating with chopsticks if you don’t know how to use them. And be warned: traffic is even worse than Istanbul.
Photos: Sevilay Cantez.