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  1. Note that the article mixes up right and left towards the end of the article. It should be 右 (yòu) for right and 左 (zuǒ) for left.

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  3. We went to 牛街 about a month ago and it definitely has the best Muslin restaurants! The street is filled with wholesale vendors and butchers (think RMB 25 shaokao grills and raw lamb skewers), and would be worth the trip just for the meat!

    • Beijing Sailing Centre hosts their classes and most of their events at the Azure Beach Sailing Centre, which is in Beidaihe, Hebei (Beidaihe Sailing Center, Huamao Weilan Beach, Beidaihe New Area, Qinhuangdao, Hebei, 066004). I think it’s a 1-2 hour train ride and then they pick you up by shuttle.

      I used to sail as a kid (I was in marine scouts) and it’s been even longer for me…I think I haven’t gone sailing since elementary school!

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  7. Aliexpress are totally different with Taobao, it’s for the foreign trade companies in China to do business with foreign companies or personals while Taobao is a C2C market. But both of them belongs to Alibaba group.

    • Hi Alex, yes, this was explained as an alternative option. The writer explains that this website is primarily for B2B but that she has personally bought single units on the site, making it a viable option for those who do not want to attempt Taobao at the moment.

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  9. Did you know some Chinese call tomatoes xi hong si 西红柿 (Mainland) rather than fan qie 番茄 (Taiwan)? I remember being extremely confused about this before…sometimes you order “fan qie chao dan” at a restaurant and they have no idea what you’re talking about…

  10. My son loves wooden puzzles and puzzles in general! We sometimes receive “free” puzzles with purchases, and those are the ones we “travel” with so that if he loses pieces it’s not the end of the world!

  11. Nice list! My 3 year old easily gets bored when we eat out too and your list definitely gave me something to keep him preoccupied! I love the list!

  12. I no longer have a toddler but this is something I have to think about again soon because we have a baby on the way. Books and art materials really do help a lot but you’re other ideas are great too!

  13. @Jessica so true! It’s disastrous when they lose a piece isn’t it? They really break down and act like it’s the end of the world haha, cute but challenging at times!
    @Nhessie, thanks! Glad you liked it! Thanks for commenting!
    @Janice, I’m glad you found it helpful!

  14. I keep my daughter entertained with stickers but instead of sticking it to the paper, she sticks it to herself lol! I would love to try the Magic Pen Painting books. I remember doing something similar to those when I was young–the ones you need to paint water on then color magically appears.

  15. Having two little kids, I’ve learned my lesson and make sure I bring activities for them when we go out. I usually bring coloring books for my girl and blocks for my boy. So far, these have helped us survive out of the house trips!

  16. Great list, it becomes a problem for me and hubby when we eat out cause my son can’t seem to stay put. We can try some of this activities so he’ll have fun while waiting for our food. I like your finds but I like the cutting paper specifically, saw one like that in Market Market!:)

  17. Thanks @Jerzee! 🙂
    @Melissa, that’s the exact same thing! Haha your daughter gets to relive a part of your childhood through this activity 🙂
    @Kim Reyes, absolutely agree! That’s why I need these, too! Haha
    @Jho Tacorda, My daughter is also starting to like cutting a lot, so I also just bought her that activity you’re referring to. Hope your son enjoys it! 🙂

  18. We have and use all of these except for the sand painting kits. Those sound so cool! I hope they are available locally as I’m curious to try them.

  19. Oh, these are so helpful! My boys are usually a handful when they’re done and I’m just starting. I should remember to bring some of these when we’re eating out.

  20. This is why we dont often eat out with the kids :)) When we do, we always choose kid-friendly restaurants and I usually bring their own art kits to keep them busy 🙂

    • I know right? My kids are so wild! I’m OK with going out to fast eating places like Subway, but sit down hot pots or other nice restaurants catering to adults can be a nightmare.

  21. Always best to bring something for the kids when you know they’ll have to sit still like when dining. I like those paper cut outs!

  22. Alright, I really loving Etonkids because my son likes it at central park campus. The environment is good, the teachers are nice a friendly and he seems to be learning many new things, very quickly. I think that I will keep my son here until he graduates or until we move.

  23. the addresses for Beijing begin with this 北京 and Chaoyang District are 市朝阳 but that’s as far as my Mandarin skills go.

  24. here is the address for the CapitaRetail Mall Tai Yang Guang location discussed here 北京太阳宫凯德店 北京市朝阳区太阳宫中路12号凯德MALL3层 010-84150776 I just called. They are open 10am to 10pm 7 days a week.

  25. Hello Moms

    I’m new to Beijing with my family aswell. My little 4 year old is super bored at home and I have not found even one suitable play areas that does not bust my budget so her fun days have been limited to once or Mac twice a month and that’s not cool for a little girl. Thank you so much for this post. Can someone advise me as to the Subway directions to the Mall where Molly’s Fantasy is?? Which Exit and how to get there I would highly appreciate it. My daughter will be the happiest girl when I take her there.

    Just a Mom

    • Hey Yshrene! I’ll ask Jackie to respond directly. There could be a play center or park closer to you (and parks are free!). I’ll send you an email soon. 🙂

  26. Hi Liora!
    Thank you for sharing so much valuable information! Will try to include those types of details next time! 😀

    Hi Yshrene!
    Capital Mall is by Taiyanggong Station’s Exit C. It is on Line #10. 🙂
    I agree that Beijing can get quite pricy! I’m really glad you found this helpful! ^^

  27. You should try the Cat Cafe in CaoChangDi, it’s totally magical! Very different to this one and I have to say, superior. It is Cat Village run by the Donna Pet owners. There are indoor and outdoor corridors for the cats to go. It is truly cat heaven in there. High perches, cat “trees” and it’s so visually interesting, like an art museum for pet lovers. I can’t find much info out there about it in English. But if you friend me on wechat I can show you photos and connect you! Liorap2

  28. I’m quite pleased with Etonkids as a whole. There are some minor misgivings that I’ve had over the past two years, but nothing that would convince me to change schools. It has everything that I need, a good environment, and safety are the things that are the most important to me. I know my daughter is safe there, which is something I haven’t always found with my daughter at her last kindergarten. I would definitely recommend Etonkids to any parents.

  29. Etonkids is a very good school, I like what my daughter is learning. Since we are German, the English is very good that she is learning. When she comes home after school she likes to speak English to me.

      • About the hukou I’m not sure…but from what I know it’s address-based. One place in Seoul, Daechi-dong, has really old apartments but rent is extremely expensive because the best schools are in that area.

  30. It’s similar in the US as well…When I transitioned from elementary school to middle school we moved from LA county to OC for a significantly better school district. Even now, the districts with the top 10 schools are so popular you can’t even find a house on the market.

    • I couldn’t imagine! Typically where I’ve lived in the States public schools are at least OK, but most are good and a few have been amazing. A lot of families I’ve known will end up homeschooling if they don’t like the schools in the area, but I know that this isn’t a legal option for Chinese families. And then… who could really afford for one parent to stay home in Southern California?

  31. Hello,

    Thank you very much for sharing. I was wondering if you could lend some insight on how to have these delivered stateside. I have signed an account with 中国国家地理 but they only provide shipping to China. Short of having it mailed to a friend in China and then having them mail it to me, do you know of any other ways to acquire these magazines from outside of China? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hi! I assume the best option would be to contact these magazines directly and ask if they have online versions or sell their publications on Amazon.cn, JD.com, or Taobao.com. If anyone else has any advice, please comment!

  32. Thanks a lot for this recommendation! As a stay-at-home dad my husband is not into mommy groups and especially on very hot, very bad air or cold winter days, my guys are easily bored. There should be another one in Auchan (beside Aika and Decathlon at Laiguangying) according to their website, also not far for the Wangjing based crowd, will check that place out soon!

  33. A teacher at my kids’ school also told me about a time s/he was out visiting a friend at a hospital and was so very hungry. S/he asked the driver with him/her for the day to go someplace to eat. The restaurant they went to smelled really good but when s/he was served the dish obviously with meat – s/he demanded to know what type of food it was – dog meat. S/he almost ate it because of how hungry s/he was, but s/he resisted and walked out – making the taxi driver take him/her someplace else.

    • Did you celebrate this when you lived in South Korea? Are couples more “in love” there than they were here? I didn’t see much hype compared to the Valentine’s Day I see in the States.

      • Interestingly I did, but I don’t think on the same day. In Korea every 14th of the month is a celebration of love, but it’s done so often that people don’t take it as seriously as people elsewhere do Valentine’s. 🙂

  34. “All I have to do now is glue my oven gloves to the handlebars, and I’ll be a proper Beijinger.”
    This is sooo funny cause it’s true. I hope that one day, for everyone’s sake, people acknowledge that the cycle path is for, well, definitely not cars.

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  41. I feel you. The separation is not easy, and I too have felt like a single mother in the months I’ve spent apart from my (Chinese) husband.

    Our son is also two years old, and there are certain activities that I haven’t been able to engage him in over the last three months first due to my pregnancy, and now because I have a newborn. So, every now and then he’ll point to his soccer ball, frisbee, or tricycle and yell “Baba!” because every time he asked me to play with him, I’d tell him daddy would play with him later. I’m lucky because my family has been very involved in his care, but every now and then I’m left alone with my two kids and I can see how hard he tries to accommodate me. Suddenly, he’s a big boy who can pull down his own diaper, change his own clothes, or bring me something for his baby sister.

    Hang in there! Wish you the best 🙂

  42. This woman was clearly hormonal 😛 She actually called to file a complaint about no one giving up their seat for her even though there are reserved seats for pregnant women…

    My personal experience on line 10, especially at 10am ish (when she halted the subway), has been that the subway is very full and people do not necessarily give up their seat. It’s not always because they don’t want to, it’s just that most people are too tired or busy to notice a pregnant woman could use a seat.

  43. Have you considered moving to Germany with your husband?You could take advantage of Freedom of Movement rules and be together as a family.

  44. “But in the end, we elected to go through it for what we believe will be the long-term health benefits – particularly the lowered risk of many forms of infection as he grows older.”

    Stupid. What other body part or tissue do we treat like this? Any part or tissue of the human body can become infected. In fact, the uncircumcised female genitalia are more prone to infection than the uncircumcised male genitalia. Do you not realize this?

    And yet we do not cut off other normal, living, healthy body parts or tissues as a preventative measure against infections, or even *research* the health benefits of doing so. So why a different standard for curiously specific male genital tissue only? “It will prevent infections” is inconsistent with the general rule of respected afforded the human body in its naturally-occurring state and is just one of many attempts to justify genital cutting culture.

    • From my experience, I have only known men to have their foreskin rip during intercourse (not females – though circumcised women experience discomfort during intercourse). Both a family member and a college peer ripped their foreskin and had to get emergency surgery as grown men.

  45. Oh my gosh, how eerie indeed!

    But come to think of it, we were in a similar situation too just recently. Our cab was parked in the middle of two islands and a delivery motorbike zoomed from an inner lane, around our cab and then into the main road. Naturally he didn’t see the incoming van, whose side he almost rammed into. He immediately pulled back his bike and ended up coming straight towards us, missing me by a few inches. The speedy devil almost got himself killed! I have no idea what happened next, considering our cabbie was rushing me so that we could get out of that scene as soon as possible, but there was no panic, no crying save for the man on the floor—just people reaching out for their cell phones calling and photo-taking and vehicles just passing the bleeding man by his fallen bike.

  46. It was eerie… it all unfolded so slowly and quietly, then there was the moment of panic when we realized we were locked in, and finally the odd sight of four westerners (including two kids) wandering down the third ring road (we were on a raised carriageway), trying to flag down a cab….

    Glad to hear you weren’t hurt, in what must have been a frightening incident!

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  48. Wow! My son (and husband) would love this! We have driven to Tianjin in the past and it’s a really quick drive if you take the highway (and skip the outlet in the middle). It’s like driving from Los Angeles to San Diego–a daily commute for some people!

    Renting a car in Beijing is quite affordable (especially if it’s just for a few days), and it’s really hassle-free if you have an existing membership at Hertz, for example.

    I think I’m going to make a weekend trip out of this place. Thanks for sharing!

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  65. Dr. M. Amin on

    PPM is not the only matter you should test. For example, Watson’s Water has very low PPM, sounds very good. But, it is not, bcs the pH is ONLY 6.5, acidic and dangerous. Water with less than 150 PPM TDS and 7.5 to 8.0 pH is a good one.

  66. Good experiment. I was also curious and did the same at-home TDS test with a variety of bottled waters. After doing some online searching and posting my test findings to friends I discovered that a higher TDS reading is not necessarily bad- many natural mineral waters have higher readings than tap water. Evian water is listed on its website as 309 ppm.Fiji water lists itself as 224 ppm and both of these are considered premium brands. Beneficial Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium are present in higher quantities in many mineral waters. TDS solids can come from natural sources as well as manmade sources. I also measured distilled water, which of course was 0ppm. World drinking water guidelines say that TDS readings under 500ppm are desirable for drinking water. I had thought my TDS reader would show impurities like microorganisms or bacteria, which it doesn’t. So when I discovered my TDS readings for my tap water and expensive bottles mineral water were both over 300 I panicked. But it’s safe to drink one and not the other! Anyway, kudos to you for doing this — with vendors reusing and refilling bottles with who knows what it can be nerve wracking. Thanks again!

    • Wow you’re right! This is interesting. It’s such a struggle to find the best bottled water for our children, isn’t it? Glad you liked the post though, will see what additional research I can do. Thank you!

  67. The new SLAA website for China is up: SLAAChina.org
    If you feel some of the above article applies to you and your sexual behavior, please feel free to contact us.

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  69. Natural Position Toilet is a much nicer sounding name. It took me awhile to get used to squatters, and have seen some horrific ones I’d love to erase from my memory throughout travels in Asia. But it is good to know the health benefits from going to the toilet this way. Very informative post on such a taboo topic!

  70. Hi, my name is Kevin Cook – AKA the guy wearing the red shirt in the photograph at the top of this article. Please provide proper attribution (Photo credit: monkeyabroad.com). Thank you.

  71. This is interesting haha! I initially was not a fan of squatter toilets, but now i don’t mind either, if the general vicinity is clean and hygienic!

  72. Wow. I thought this was funny at first, but there was a lot I never knew before about this subject.

  73. I really enjoyed your article! I especially liked that you were informative but also quite funny, given the subject matter haha. I actually grew up in a tiny village town in Mexico and defacting al fresco was commonplace so it makes sense to me that anatomically speaking, the squat toilets have more benefits than our western ‘thrones.’ And while living in korea, I use the squat toilets on the regular, I cannot say I prefer them.

    • Thank you, I’m glad you liked it! Yes it takes awhile to get used to it, but I think that is why many still prefer the squatty toilet over the normal toilet here in China. 🙂

  74. When I first came to Korea, I thought squatters were a pretty crazy concept. But now I know the health benefits and how it’s good for the colon. I still don’t use them quite often but I will when there is no other option in the public washrooms. Cool and interesting post!

  75. When I was a kid in the 80s-90s I traveled a lot through Turkey with my parents and there were a lot of these squat toilets. I hated them then and I still hate them now. There’s also this solution that puts steps next to you toilet to put your feet up higher so you basically have the same benefits as the squat toilet. That would be a better solution for me.

  76. It’s hilarious for someone to convince me squatty toilets are better for me. haha but you’ve done so.
    I’m not entirely sure I’d make a switch though haha
    Very interesting post.

    • Haha! I’m glad you liked the post. At least next time you see those squatty toilets you’ll know some positive tidbits about it.:)

  77. Chen, so if i dont have china’s simcard, china’s address, and china’s bank account, it means i can’t set up alipay? China entry date means visa right? How about if the entry date has been passed? Is it valid?

    • If you live outside of China and are wanting to use it for import/export or the one-off purchase, you probably should contact Alipay on their global page (typically the site redirects there if accessed from a non-Chinese IP address). Chen isn’t an expert in non-resident Alipay users and so can’t help.

  78. Thank you! I tried and it just rang and rang. Maybe they are closed on Mondays. I will try again tomorrow –

  79. Yeah, I just tried again and no answer. I hope they are still in business! So strange there is no website or email or even a phone number listed – just an address. But I need an appt before I go there or at least to know the hours so I can know when to drop by to make an appt in lieu of contacting them otherwise. Or, is there another place you reccomend? I’ve been in Beijing since Sept 17 and desperately need color for my roots (my last appt was in America on Sept 10). I get blonde highlights/lowlights on my naturally light brown hair –

    • I heard at the IAB, the admin have a motto, “We’ll make it work.” When they’re short on teachers, they’ll go to the non-teaching spouse, “Can you teach?”
      When they’re still short, the teen is next, “Can you teach?”
      They’ll even go to the imported pooch, “Can you teach?”

      At least the last teacher could lead PE with a couple of chasing tails games.

  80. I saw somewhere that their wechat ID is london_loft so I sent an invite, but no response yet. And I’ve tried calling 4 different times 🙁

  81. Actually, as it turns out, that number (minus the periods) is Scarlet’s Wechat ID – not a phone number 🙂
    I went and had a great experience – I recommend LL!

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  83. If you’re the backpacker type used to camping in the wild, the beautiful island coves of Zambales provide an opportunity for you to teach your kids a thing or two about camping. I have brought my daughter camping overnight at Nagsasa Cove once and she had spent most of her time playing by the beach, roasting marshmallows over campfire, and enjoying a rustic family picnic with my friends.

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  86. Dear Jackie, I’m glad that there are moms in Beijing like you who are concerned about the quality of our drinking water. I work in the bottled water industry and hope I can answer some of these concerns. Please contact me via wechat “maiaquaservice”.
    As a general guide I would say that the good things you want in your water are minerals such as Calcium and Magnesium which is also how you measure the hardness of a water. But also Iron, Zinc and other elements are beneficial in small quantities. Furthermore you want to have some electrolytes such as Chloride, Potassium and Sodium especially if you want to quench your thirst after some exercise. And as mentioned above by others the pH or alkalinity levels are very important. Especially if you eat salty foods like snacks or anything fried. I actually suffer from acid reflux that sometimes turns into stomach ulcers and I have discovered that water that is more alkaline helps to balance my body again.
    What you don’t want in your water are of course bacteria, pesticides, hormones, heavy metals and other microbial inorganic chemicals that are harmful to your body. The question of course is what are these specifically and are they in fact in our water. To answer that we must determine how you consume water. Please let me know whether you drink tap water or bottled. And more importantly if it’s tap water which filter do you use and if it’s bottled water what is its source? Is it natural mineral water or spring water or is it purified water? Then we can continue to determine how we test our drinking water and I think that is where the misunderstanding with the Xiaomi TDS meter occurred. Since it was meant to measure the tap water before you use the Xioami water filter but you went ahead and tested it with bottled water. Don’t get me wrong, some bottled water is nothing more than tap water in a bottle. I’d be happy to tell you more about a) different types of bottled waters b) Chinese and international standards for bottled water c) standards for tap water d) How to test our water and perhaps which water is best suited for your lifestyle.

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  88. Thanks for the link, I had a look and derived many pearls of wisdom:

    “It is good time to start, change, or improve everything about finance and career.”

    “To get your health at better condition, it is good to eat healthy food.”

    “Balance between works and family is essential in 2007 for this zodiac.”

    I shall enter next year a wiser man for this sage advice.

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  91. I like this kind of market, and has been involved in two years, many of my customers are very like my paintings, hope that you can join the fair, thank you very much!
    Guo Ying painting

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  95. So, I can select Canada when I am on the register by phone page (but living in China I have a chinese mobile number. But then when I hit the link to register by e-mail, I cannot change my location from Mainland China, and I never the option to use my passport as the ID. Do you know a workaround for that?

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  102. Im aileen from indonesia. I heard that you opened a makeup training in Beijing. Im going to beijing next year, in 2017 and im planning to join a makeup course in Beijing. I want to ask where is the address of your makeup course in Beijing, how long is the training and how much it costs? Thankyou 🙂

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  107. Human decency is always at jeopardy when the opportunity to take advantage of someone exists. Nevertheless, your experience with the Chinese judicial system does give me a sense of optimism that justice can be carried out in a pragmatic, clear-cut manner.

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  110. Crepanini has also two other restaurants in Beijing:

    -Crepanini Park View Green (可百尼尼 芳草地店)
    “B2 Parkview Green, No.9 Dongdaqiao Road,Chaoyang District”
    Opening hours: Everyday from 10am to 10pm.

    -Crepanini Nanluoguxiang (可百尼尼 南锣鼓巷店)
    “No.33 Nanluoguxiang Dongcheng District”
    Opening hours: Everyday from 9am to 10pm

  111. Joan Eischen on

    Pauline – thank you for the insight in this fair. I love the handbags and can’t wait to buy one

  112. Took two cats to USA November 2026, Beijing to USA. At all check points we removed cats from carriers and held them while going through metal detectors and the carriers went through the X-ray. I assume they have new safer protocols now than when the cat above went in 2010. Smooth process though there is a risk of escape at that time. A leash and tight collar for panicky cats would be a good idea.

  113. Nick Baxter on

    “Always watch what is happening in front of you – don’t worry about what is happening behind you (be aware and alert)”

    Very useful advice that contradicts the entirety of the rest of the article.

    It’s also incorrect in any ski resort in the world. When starting off from stationary, crossing a piste etc, you need to be aware of what is above you as you don’t have right of way.

  114. More details have emerged about the two accidents. According to one news report, the father of the 10-year-old boy said that if the resort had proper trail fencing, his son would still be alive today.

    The father said that his son was found off the trail on a rocky 10-meter dropoff just behind protective netting that lines both sides of the slopes. He claims that there are up to 1-meter gaps in the fencing in that area and that it appears his son had slipped through the fence and fallen down the rocky embankment on the other side, pictured here.

    The father also criticized the resort for not having security cameras on the slope, as now no one can say for sure how the accident happened.

    Meanwhile, the accident at Wanlong that resulted in the death of a graudate student happened on the resort’s Tenglong Trail, an advanced slope featuring slalom flags. Reports say the woman was an experienced skiier who had competed for her university in the past, and was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

    Witnesses say that the skiier failed to make a proper turn at the conclusion of the slalom course and careened into a bank of trees.

    Some reports said the slalom trail was closed and had been for some time, though a check on Wanlong’s website this morning indicated the trail was in fact open.

    One safety officer at the resort, surnamed Guan, said it the Tenglong trail has a 30-degree slope and skiiers can reach up to 80kph coming off the slopes.

    Guan said the skiier was attempting to cross over from one trail to another by traversing an area with trees and crashed into a grove of them. There is no protective netting around the trees in that area because skiiers like to go ski through the area, he said.

  115. Pingback: Signing Off For Chinese New Year w/ a Nugget of Chinese Humour | Our Chinese Wedding

  116. Pingback: Fortune Telling: Is this the “Year of Doing This and That?” – coolkid

  117. Pingback: Fortune Telling: Is this the “Year of Doing This and That?” – coolkid

  118. Pingback: Hongbao Madness: the Digital CNY Tradition – coolkid

  119. Pingback: Hongbao Madness: the Digital CNY Tradition – coolkid

  120. Hi, I have a question you might know, my iPhone got updated at night and now I cant see the “transfer” tab anymore . instead of 9 tabs, I have 8.

    • Try uninstalling and re-installing wechat? Maybe your iPhone update downgraded the wechat version or wiped your verification info. Sorry – we’re not tech experts! WeChat has a help desk, by the way, if you want to check their suggestions first.

  121. hi, i try this method but it told me to verify my real name verification when i try to open a red packet. please help

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  125. Hoi Pauline,
    thank you so much for the dutchysnacks link! Didn’t know about that yet – nu is er weer hoop voor mijn erwtensoep. 🙂


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  133. If you’re looking for a “Western” education for very young children, be very careful what you wish for. I am now writing from Ontario Canada where test results indicate that our math scores are in constant decline and where literacy scores have become suspect, given that technology is now being used to read TO and FOR children instead of teaching that essential skill of reading. Here is what I wrote recently for my LinkedIn blog:

    “Text-to-Speech” or “Teach-to-Read”?

    I have in front of me an up-to-date IEP of an Ontario Grade 3 student. “Text-to-speech” software appears as both an “Instructional Accommodation” and an “Assessment Accommodation”. An alternative program for teaching this child to read appears nowhere.

    An accompanying professional psychological assessment indicates “above average” oral functioning. He is typical of so many children who arrive inmy study for help with learning to read. And who DO succeed.

    This is his fourth year of schooling and no one has even considered moving away from drilling that deadly, ROTE, list of “high-frequency words” compiled by Dolch back in 1932. Here is one of many children who would have been much better served by a Mr. Mugs approach, or something equally meaningful and properly scaffolded.

    Why on earth is it so very difficult for our Ministry – which espouses “differentiated instruction” and “multiple intelligences” – to put their propaganda into action?

    When “text-to-speech’ software is acceptable for both instruction and assessment, it is clear that this normally intelligent child will not be taught literacy skills; he will simply be read TO. It appears that our Ministry has convinced parents that this is the best they can do…

    “Text-to-Speech” software is destroying our children’s ability to read in the same way that the far-too-early introduction of calculators has destroyed their ability to add.

    The West is definitely in decline…

    “Miss Ann” Thompson

  134. Thanks for your comment Ann. It’s interesting that while there are concerns across the western world about the decline in teaching basic skills (and I come from the UK where similar concerns are often voiced), Asian education is often criticized for not stimulating creativity and individual thinking. We have such great expectations of schools and teachers, it’s very hard for them to find the right line.

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    • This is the opinion of one student from one school from 2011. I personally don’t feel that this blog represents the whole of all IB programmes implemented in the 50ish schools in Beijing that use the programme in 2017. Practices are always changing.

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  137. Pingback: Weekly Family Activities for Beijing Mamas and their Kids

  138. Pingback: Weekly Family Activities for Beijing Mamas and their Kids

  139. Hello, Beijingkids,

    I’m wondering is there any football club (English speaking coach) that we could find for child 9 years old?

    would be posssible have courses on weekend or after school activities?

    Thank you.

    • Hey Iris, it depends of your location. If you’re in Shunyi, I would suggest reaching out to Sports Beijing (info@sportsbj.com) or try Club Football in Chaoyang area (coaching@wanguoqunxing.com, 5130 6893).

  140. China has become a real isolation cell for me as an expat wife because I found out that a circle of what I thought were good friends back home, has begun to joke behind my back. My other half reassured me that things would be fine on his appointment to China, but this really caught me by surprise.
    There is actually little that interests me here and besides a couple, lol the other expat wives I meet here, seem so shallow. Now this has been blocked, I have even less to do and as it is just about all the other sites that I had back home, are blocked. Can’t wait for the day to come when I can get out.

    • Hey Ggirl. I’m sorry to hear adjustment has been so rough. I hear you – I remember coming to Beijing and feeling so fed up with cultural pet peeves and pollution. I felt so depressed for a time. But now I’ve been here for 4 years, and I’ve come into contact with so many different types of people. My guess is that probably you should pursue here in China what you were passionate about back in your home country. For example, if that was knitting… I know a knitters club, if that was volunteering or exercising or singing, opportunities with these things abound, too. If you get involved in these passions, you’ll find other people who are passionate about this, too, finding a community of people here you connect with. You’re welcome to reach out to me personally via email at vanessajencks at truerun dot com.

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  142. Hi Pauline, I am currently working on teacher turnover in one of the international schools here in Macao, SAR. Is it possible to provide more details about the research published in 2010 on ‘Teacher Retention in International Schools’ focusing on the Near-East and South-Asia region as mentioned by Archer?

    Thanks for your help 🙂

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    • Hey Katy, are you an expat mom? Actually direct feedback to the writer via social media from expat mothers is that they can understand the writer’s struggles and relate with similar experiences, so it might be that to understand the article, you would have had to experience a similar situation.

  148. Pingback: Weekly Family Activities for Beijing Mamas and their Kids

  149. Thank you for such an informative article. We (myself, husband, 4 year old and 2 year old sons) are planning a trip to Beijing in May. I am trying to preplan as much as possible so when we are in China I can fully concentrate on stopping tantrums before they start, an impossible task. 😉 Can you share any more information on how much Mister Dong charges? Also is there a way to get in touch with him if we do not have WeChat? I would also welcome any other advice or articles you might share about getting around town with young children. I fully understand how hectic a life with a 4 year old, if you only have time to answer the first question.

    • Hi Emily!! Thanks for your lovely feedback! This is Tom’s information. He charged us RMB 600. He picked us up early and was super helpful. It was truly not a waste of money! And the fact that his English is great is such an advantage.

      WeChat: Tom105780102
      Phone number: 13488698386
      Email address: tomku007@aliyun.com or tom@Beijingbrother.com

  150. The simple answer here is learn some Chinese. A little goes a long way. Use that 30 minutes a day wasted on feeling guilty about not speaking Chinese to engage studiously.

    • In theory, yes, it’s a simple answer. Not sure of your parenting experience, but life, especially with young children who cannot even wipe their own butts, is not so simple, especially not in another country. Makes sense to me why Chinese parents of young children enlist the help of their parents, so it’s four adults with one child. And hey, they ask for help even in a country where they can speak and read just fine.

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  152. “He couldn’t care less about these questions. In the future, they will be his to answer, or―if he doesn’t like the questions asked―his to ignore.” I like your attitude. I think it’s a mistake to be looking for problems or taking offense too easily. My three half-Chinese daughters grew up in Manila and then in Seattle, so maybe they weren’t seen as unusual as frequently. But even when people did make thoughtless comments, it didn’t bother them. They knew who they were and they liked who they were.

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  157. I found this so insightful! We had left our son with my inlaws for a month or two at s time and I just couldn’t understand why they were so tired when they were two (and often three with s relative or ayi to help) while my mom could care for him on her own. I also had a lot of doubts about the things they left around the house as when’s i went to pick him up he was playing with empty pill bottles (because he kept taking them out of the cupboard) and pushing a stool around. When they came to visit, I was depressed about all the negative comments they had on my way of watching him (he played in his play corner while I worked in my corner). Now I feel I understand them a lot better 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  158. Thanks for your comment, Jessica! I haven’t mentioned this, but my mother-in-law actually watches closely how I keep baby safe and we’ve already come a far way in terms of safety compared to a few years ago. I still do feel more at ease if both my in-laws watch both children instead of only one of my in-laws watching both (my toddler son is at kindergarten during the day, so they don’t usually have to watch both children at the same time).

  159. Тhat is exactly what my ayi was doing when my daughter was less the one year old😂 She was literally watching her closely or most of the time just was carrying her around. When I was thinking to buy the playpen- she was so surprised why ppl need such a thing as we have enough ppl at home to look after the kid. But since I am not big fan of play pens in general and she is right- we have enough ppl, I did not buy it. Anyway her attitude is totally the same. And I can bat blame her, she is a great ayi to my kid:) even we have different approaches an many little things)

  160. If it works, then that’s great. Personally, I want my baby to also be able to crawl and train his neck/back/arm muscles, but he still gets to train them when he’s with me, so no need to worry about all the carrying grandma does. Most babies are quite content being carried, no harm done if different people do things differently.

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  165. Kunal Chadha on

    Worked! As you said it would. Only thing to note is if the person sending you the red packet is not your friend your money(the one he sent via red envelope) will be gone. So add him as a friend. Yeah that’s my bad. I asked the hotel front desk to send me 1 yuan. So it deducted from her and didn’t show up on mine. Then added and sent another yuan. I suggest installing the chinese version of WeChat(not chinese language, but wexin version from baidu). That also let’s you use all the amazing functions. Red envelope and payment sending options will be available in your chat drawers.
    Btw, great website. Keep up the good work. 🙂

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  167. One if my friend recommends a series of textbooks called “Chinese made easy”, which is really good, and my friend can talk with Chinese and text in Chinese now.

    • I like Tuttle and Chinese Reader myself. I think I’ve tried Chinese Made Easy, but honestly I’m not a textbook person. I like Rosetta Stone and speaking to people in a Chinese-full environment.

      • I’ve begun training my ear to listen to Chinese people who speak in different speeds. It’s amusing that I get to understand them (albeit so little) by just picking up usual words or string of familiar syllables. This is a big challenge wooh. I also heard of Rosetta Stone, but I’ve yet to try it myself.

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  169. My hat goes off to all of these school who offer extra assistance to students in need. However, your list is not comprehensive of all the international schools that offer these types of service. How do select the schools that is often referred to when you give information?

    • Hi Freda, good question. In our School Choice Guide, we asked schools who participated to tell us if they provide extra help to students. About 80 schools participated in the 2017 School Choice Guide. The other way we find out is by word of mouth through Education-based Beijing groups. Is there a school you know provides extra help but you didn’t see on this list?

  170. That’s awesome that Tribe Nutrition gives u threee meals and three snacks a day. I hope you become healthy and happy and skinnier, back to a healthy weight. I’m rooting for u!!! 😉🤗

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  172. Thanks Kipp, I, like you, am a pollution nut. I really am interested in learning more about it and taking action. Is there any blogs or other information you would recommend? Any discoveries that you don’t think are obvious to most people (thinking of taping your ceiling).

    • Hey, sorry for the late reply. One thing you can do if you have an ayi that takes care of the house and kids while you’re away is to make sure she knows of the dangers on bad air days. If she knows how serious it is then she’ll be more vigilant turning on those purifiers and making sure windows are shut when the air gets bad. Maybe even have her download and air quality app so that she’s updated. Hope this helps!

  173. Joan Eischen on

    Dear Pauline; I missed your posts and was worried about you. Keep moving and thinking positive about yourself and the life you want. It is a journey. We are cheering for you in Houston.

  174. I can see people nearby but I can not receive messages. I install and reinstall but what does this mean?
    I used a new sim card also. Is the wechat system down?

  175. Hey, great article really enjoyed it. Very informative and is answered some questions for me about voice over work in Beijing. By the way like you I am also from Canada. I have done some voice over work before. I’m in China now and looking for opportunities specifically voice over. Do you know anyone looking for voice over talent? Thanks.

  176. Gino Chiu ⛵️ on

    Free ofo’s are the best ofo’s <3 amazing article (what an awesome use of alliteration, maybe I should write articles too)

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  178. Do you know where one can find the Understanding China Through Comics series? Can’t find on Taobao. Amazing wants over 100 USD for volunteer new 2&3!!!!! Would love to get my hands on these for our boys and our homeschool. Thanks

  179. Gwen Sandifer-Stech on

    Ugh…..how depressing…..very informative article….thank you for enlightening us to the reality of inexpensive Chinese food

  180. Gwen Sandifer-Stech on

    Wow, how revealing and unfortunately depressing! Thank you for all of this helpful information!

  181. The receipt will show the method of payment?
    Like saying specific that it’s paid with cash or it’s paid with app.
    Thank you.

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  186. I can’t open it. it is asking me to have a bank card. Do I need to have a Bank of China account?

  187. I recently went to open a bank account at China Merchant’s Bank (招商银行)and was told I need to provide a Chinese personal tax ID number (个人纳税号)in addition to the passport I’d brought along. I have no idea what it is, and since it was the weekend I couldn’t ask my company’s finance dept. Is this a new regulation for all banks?

    • Hi Yoshiko, we’ve asked our company’s Finance Department (who work with China Merchant Bank) and they don’t understand this. I certainly wasn’t asked for it when I opened my account there. We’ll continue investigating, but sometimes you get a different answer if you go on a different day and ask a different person… Might be worth trying again, and we’ll update here if we discover anything further!

  188. Pingback: Craig Watts, Single Gay Father of Three, Talks About His Life in Beijing – Yvette Ferrari

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  190. Hi Andrew! Thanks for looking into this– I’m planning to go try a Bank of China to see if they require it too. I’ll report back when I do, in case this really is (or isn’t) a new requirement!

  191. Hi! Quick update — I was able to open an account at the Bank of China embassy district branch (across the street from the Volkswagen office) with just my passport; they didn’t even mention anything about a tax ID number. So — not sure if the ‘requirement’ at the China Merchant’s Bank is their own or what…

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  196. CK Treasure Trove has moved!

    It will now be held at Culture Yard (Beixinqiao Subway Station exit C) from 1pm to 7pm, September 3rd. If you are interested in attending, or being a vendor, and would like more information, feel free to contact us events@culturalkeys.cn, or on WeChat @ AJDonnelly.

    We look forward to seeing you there! ^_^

  197. Well, its actually surprising to see few restaurants named here as best Indian restaurants. I have been few times to Punjabi restaurant and couple of branches of Ganges as well, and I as well as my friends felt that these 2 have below average Indian food and ambiance.
    Have tried both Veg and non Veg food at these places, and they are bland, and the taste is no where close to Indian. They have foods with Indian names, but the taste is no where close to Indian. Also, the environment and ambiance is just average.
    Infact I feel, these type of restaurants are just giving bad reputation to Indian food.

  198. Haha! My poor niece has to deal with this too. My mom actually gets aggressive about her wearing too little clothing, despite the pediatrician saying she shouldn’t overheat.

  199. Why is it that none of these reviews is of any use whatsoever? You write, “Shine Hills also boasts a cinema, although it looks as if English-language films will be limited, and the website isn’t in English.” OK… so, there is a website, even if it’s only in Chinese, some laowais do manage Chinese. How about providing a website link? It’s not difficult and it’s not rocket science, people.

  200. Hi John, thanks for your comment. This article is two years old and was written when Shine Hills first opened. It was intended as a broad overview of the area for readers who hadn’t got there yet. Businesses come and go so fast in Beijing that we can’t generally update past articles with new information, so it’s always worth checking the date on any reviews. The website for OSGH cinemas is here:


    • Hi Ali, I’m not sure if you’re asking for a link to Blue Whale? As the article explains, it doesn’t really exist as a game or forum, and I would strongly advise anybody against seeking it out or trying to get involved. Although the organized “cult” as described in the media is a hoax, there is the risk of exploitation by unscrupulous people. If you are concerned about anybody, or have worries yourself, then please seek help from a responsible, qualified person- and don’t have anything to do with anybody claiming to be running or playing this game.

  201. How long were you guys in Tianjin? Too bad you didn’t check out the Aircraft Carrier Museum there too, the only one in the world if I’m not mistaken! (It’s on an actual aircraft carrier!)

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  203. Mirtha Flores on

    Felicitaciones a este grupo de mujeres que ayudan a las personas a la adaptacion de sus vidas en un pais con una cultura, idioma, comida diferentes a ser felices y encontrar un apoyo emocional, sigan adelante.

  204. Pingback: Weekly Family Activities for Beijing Parents and their Kids

  205. Out of curiosity, have you tried all these courses yourself? I did the Coursera one (beginner) and that definitely wasn’t too bad.

  206. Frustrated skater on

    Burning Ice lies just south of the North Third Ring Road and east of Badaling Expressway. Take line 10 to Jiandemen Station, use exit C and walk south for about 200m….
    I’ve walked 4 hours to find this place.
    You sure it’s there??
    Could you give some more exact information?
    Maybe a phone number or website from this park??

    • Here’s the Chinese address and phone number. Hope this helps. 北京市西城区北三环中路甲29号院2号楼 华尊大厦一层底商 燃烧冰滑板公园 杨洪星 131 2660 6434.

  207. This is amazing. Oftentimes my Ayi and my mil will talk to me about these events but I just couldn’t relate because I came from a country that doesn’t have winter. According to them, this lunisolar calendar is quite accurate. From what I understand as well, there are certain dishes eaten on some of these dates, although I can’t remember now which ones exactly.

  208. This list boggles the mind! How can anyone keep track of all these days?! The names are so poetic though. “Heat withdraws” “White dew.” But I think I like “insects awaken” the best. It’s a good name for a horror film, haha.

  209. Sorry to hear that you had such an awful experience! Those words were truly hurtful, it’s no surprise you felt like you did. Keep your head up high and know that people who have these views are a very small minority. You’re right, we don’t know people’s circumstances and can’t judge. We must love everyone no matter their shape, their ethnicity, their social status… I could go on about the ways we divide ourselves, but why bother. We need to look at the common good in all of us. Sending you hugs and positive vibes!

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    Had the same issue, FRUSTRATED. So, thanks for the address, KIPP. I found it eventually.
    I’m based in Shijinshan – been in BJ a month (so not too good with bing character searches). Does anyone know of any indoor parks, or outdoor in better maintenance than Shijingshan in West BJ? I’ve finally picked up on the expats in the East trend, and I’d really like to find things that are closer.

  213. Chaoyang skater on

    Hello. It’s a very nice article but not too informative. As the people before me noticed, no exact address and given the title All About the Skateboard Scene in Beijing” I would certainly expect more. I am new to Beijing and would like to get to know the skating scene, skate parks and skates spots and so on. so if anyone reading this can give some further info that would be highly appreciated 🙂

  214. Art Martin on

    How can you stay “Invisible” so people do not keep buzzing you when you are in a conversation.

  215. Thanks for sharing! I found it useful how you mentioned that an elbow fracture needs three or four weeks to heal. My nephew has recently complained about his pains in the elbow after the morning workout, so I’ll definitely share this useful information with my sister in order to organize an appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon.

  216. Actually this the responsibility of the parents to picking up our children from school. But due to the busy schedule, they prefer the school bus and kids are also happy with this and enjoy it.

  217. Olive International School is a college preparatory school. We provide rigorous academics and full-immersion English program to foreign as well as Chinese students. The OIS Expected School-Wide Learning Results (ESLRs) represent the cumulative skills and attributes we believe critical for students to develop during their time at school. With our focus on educating the whole child, we develop curricula to ensure that when our students graduate from Olive International School they embody our four ESLRs. Teachers at every grade level and in each subject area align their lesson plans and instruction to prepare OIS students to be critical and creative thinkers, active and responsible learners, respectful and collaborative workers, and effective and thoughtful communicators.

  218. Boarding Program: Only available on a case-to-case basis for Grade 6 and above and subject to approval by the headmaster

  219. Tuition fees (2018-2019 Academic Year):
    • Registration fee: RMB 10,000 (one-time)

    • Tuition fees (covers books and lunch): RMB 150,000-170,000 per school year depending on grade level

    • Facility fees: RMB 20,000 per school year

    • Room and Board fee: RMB 65,000-85,000 per school year

    Lunch offered: A wide range of Western, Korean, Chinese, and vegetarian options

    Nationality of students: United States, Canada, China, South Korea, Russia, and other countries.

  220. Boarding Program: Only available on a case by case basis for Grade 6 and above and subject to approval by the headmaster

  221. Contact: Wangjing, Chaoyang, Beijing (18519532953, Wechat: OLIVEINTLSCH, WeChat Subscription: SCHOOL_OIS)

  222. Pingback: 在这个风云变幻的时代,教育面临诸多挑战 | 国际教育|家庭生活|社区活动

  223. Pingback: Beijing Kids – daisyphillipson

  224. Between 2003 and 2005, I used to play hockey with other Middle Schoolers in Beijing. Every Thursday, we would practice at the China World Trade Center near GuoMao. On weekends we would play games early in the morning either at CWTC or another rink. I remember my mother joining in as well. Playing with an all female team called “The Mother Puckers.”

  225. This article is biased and The Beijinger should not allow it. It favors one service provider or vender. It leads to the question of why these are being promoted and not others, and if the author and/or the publication is being paid for featuring it.

    • This post has been reposted on The Beijinger website. This article is not biased, as these contacts I have used or others have used and have proven to be great services. There are 3 more follow-up articles after this with more WeChat contacts you need to have. Also, I do not get paid for by any contacts in these articles. And in the article, I clearly ask if people have contacts they would recommend. If you have any cool WeChat contacts, don’t hesitate to contact us again.

  226. Pingback: 7 Things People Say in China when You Have More Than One Child – China Moms Blog

  227. Peter Svehla on

    Wow, we were playing there on Sunday! I noticed the slide rails, kept my son away. They look pretty sharp. Those need to be lined with perspex, to keep little fingers out. There are also some hoops with balls that slide over. They’re falling apart and are very sharp. The rubberised ground is also way too thin to provide much cushioning to a fall. The climbing net however, looks good. As does the climbing tunnel above it.

  228. I hope they gave her Tetanus Immunoglobulin (TIG) not the Vaccine. If they gave her TIG it would be locally, near or surrounding the wound site after cleansing. The Vaccine on the other hand would be in the deltoid muscle of the upper arm, and takes 2-14 days to gain full effect… and I am really happy you are publicizing this terribly designed park!! They need to fix these errors ASAP!!

  229. It’s been a while since the last time I drink lemon water. I think this is a great time to go back to drinking it. Thanks for sharing this. Loads of very useful information. Great post!

  230. Pingback: Protect Your Child! Helicopter, Bubble-Wrapping Parenting 101 – China Moms Blog

  231. Pingback: Protect Your Child! Helicopter, Bubble-Wrap Parenting 101 – China Moms Blog

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  235. Pingback: THIMUN 2017 - The Globe Through Singapore - Beijing World Youth Academy

  236. Pingback: THIMUN 2017 - The Globe Through Singapore - Beijing World Youth Academy

  237. Pingback: 创新|在这个风云变幻的时代,教育面临诸多挑战 | 国际教育|家庭生活|社区活动

  238. Francine UWAMAHORO on

    I’m interested in volunteering at BISE
    It will be great pleassure to work with you this coming January. Thank you

  239. Yeeesss, the selfie tripod is gold! I remember I had those negative thoughts about a selfie stick and tripod when I first arrived to China, but after I went to the Great Wall, I was so pissed I couldn’t get several tours in the background. That day I was convinced to get a selfie stick. It’s so convenient to get everyone in the picture, GREAT READ👌🏽

  240. Pingback: Asia Game-Changer Award Recipient on her Award Winning Project – Yvette Ferrari

  241. So intersting..continue to be an inspiration to everyone .. your Encyclopedia home is still intact with you ..more power..and. God bless you more …

  242. Pingback: School's Out!: Discover the Best of Beijing’s Extracurricular Activities at BISE - Basic Beijing

  243. Pingback: Beijing LIH Olivia’s Place Pediatric Clinic puts China on the map – Yvette Ferrari

  244. Pingback: The Perfect Fit – An inside look at applying to US universities and finding the right school – Yvette Ferrari

  245. Pingback: How To Celebrate Babies In Chinese Tradition: Customs and Gift Etiquette - Shufa Life

  246. We’ll miss you, Chris! It’s not easy to start something from nothing, but you did. Thanks so much and good luck!

  247. Hey I am interested in following this challenge.. If you know of any we chat group that might help then ease recommend that. I am a beginner as well 🙂

  248. Pingback: 9 Unique Fidget Spinners - Baopals

  249. Pingback: 7 Things People Say in China when You Have More than One Child – China Family Blog

  250. Blaming ayi and the fuwuyan – what a great example for your kids. Yes, let’s make it a cute story about pizza, not about your privilege and entitlement.

  251. Donald osborne on

    I have 5 Chinese students in my middle school. We are doing a program on bullying and was wondering if there were any Manderin plays written especially about bullying they could perform.

  252. Hello, I tried adding a Canadian credit card, it was successfully added it, but it doesn’t allow me to pay using it. Do you know why? Many thanks!

    • Hello May. So far, payment options using a credit card linked to Wechat are very limited. The most reliable method of using/activating WeChat Wallet is through linking your Chinese bank card.

  253. Hi, in order to receive a red packet send my friend. Do I need to have China Mainland Hp no? My current we chat is international version & I’m using to own country HP no to register we chat account.

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