This is the fourth part of a four-part feature. For part 1, click here. For part 2, click here. For part 3, click here.
Karen White has always known she wanted to be a mom – perhaps not the time nor place, but she knew it would definitely happen. At 47, she made the decision to adopt Keria Jaimie White (now 3) from Ethiopia. The little girl currently attends Dulwich College Beijing (DCB). Karen, who is the deputy head of Early Years at DCB, adopted Keria while living and working in Beijing. When we interviewed Karen, the Whites were still settling back into their normal routine after going to Ethiopia over Chinese New Year. As we talked, Keria greeted guards, ayis, and called out to friends on the playground. Karen smiled and said, “She knows everybody and everybody knows her. She is not shy, that one!”
Modern Families, Part 3: Mamma Mia! Jacopo Della Ragione and Adriana Neirotti speak the same language
Jacopo Della Ragione first came to Beijing in June 2001 for travel and never left – literally. He canceled his flight back to Italy after a week. Fourteen years later, he’s married to native Beijinger Pan Yanrui and they have a 5-year-old son, Sirio. In 2010, Della Ragione’s mother, Adriana Neirotti, decided to move to Beijing and start a new life here. She now speaks conversational Chinese, has her own apartment near her family’s, leads an active social life, and teaches at the Italian Cultural Institute. During our chat at The Local, mother and son constantly corrected and poked fun at each other, with Della Ragione translating most of Neirotti’s long, measured Italian into rapid-fire English.
Modern Families, Part 2: Sibling Revelry - From Beijing to Hollywood, Livi and Ken Zheng stick together
This is the second part of a four-part feature. For part 1, click here.
For siblings Livi and Ken Zheng, overachievement runs in the family. At the tender age of 16, Livi moved from Jakarta to Beijing on her own to attend the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB). Ken followed a year later at age 10. Both accomplished martial artists, they followed a strict training regimen throughout their time at school. After graduating from WAB, Livi received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics at the the University of Washington and was inducted into the International Economics Honor Society. At 16, Ken became the youngest Indonesian national kickboxing champion. Last year, Livi and Ken (now 26 and 20 respectively) released their first film, Brush with Danger, with Livi directing and both siblings starring. They’re currently working on a second film as well as pursuing degrees in film – Livi at the University of Southern California and Ken at the University of Austin-Texas.
This is the first part of a four-part feature.
Long-term expat Craig Watts first came to Asia in 1989 as a university student in Taiwan. Though his heart was set on China, the Utah native lived in Japan for several years before moving to Shanghai and then Beijing in 2001. Watts is a single gay dad with thee biological sons (including a pair of twins), all under the age of 3 and all born through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in Thailand. In addition to being a busy dad, Watts has a full-time job working for advertising giant Group M. During our visit to the family’s hutong home, the twins were just getting over a cold. The smallest of the brood, Gary (16 months), clung to Dad while big brother Ezra (age 2) was all smiles. With both a full-time and a part-time ayi there to help, we were able to chat with Watts about what it’s like to be a single gay dad living in Beijing.
Travelers: Alex Lau, his wife Cici Zhang, and their son Lex Lau (age 5), who attends Yew Chung International School of Beijing
Destination: Barcelona, Madrid, and Segovia in Spain
Travel dates: June-July 2014
Travel plans: The Laus flew from Beijing to Barcelona with Air China.
Cost: Roundtrip airfare came to approximately RMB 5,000 per person. Accommodations at the Arai were approximately RMB 5,200. Admissions to the various museums and attractions came to around RMB 1,300 for three people. The “hop on, hop off” sightseeing bus was RMB 170 per person.
Day Tripper: 'Tis the Season (for Strawberry Picking) - Benefit from the fruit of your labors this spring
After months of self-confinement, it’s time to take advantage of the warming temperatures and engage in manual labor – the fun kind, we swear – on the outskirts of Beijing. Areas like Changping, Daxing, and Huairouare hotbeds of strawberry cultivation; grown indoors in greenhouses, the many strains and varieties of fruitallow Beijing residents to pick their own strawberries as late as June. The little red fruits are a great sourceof vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and flavonoids, and can be eaten raw, baked into desserts, used as toppings, or made into preserves.
April and May are two of the most beautiful months in Beijing. What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than by checking out one of the city’s many flower festivals? They offer the perfect chance to pack a picnic, get some friends together, and play outdoors. Here’s a rundown of eight flower festivals, the best times to go, and what to do while you’re there.
BSB Shunyi Launches Charity Fashion Show
The British School of Beijing’s (BSB) first-ever charity fashion show will take place at the Shunyi campus from 4-7pm on Sunday, April 19. It will showcase the school’s best talents in modeling, dancing, and singing. All proceeds will go to the Little Adoption Shop (a local pet shelter in Shunyi) and the Tanzania Foundation, which helps improve living standards for impoverished local children. Year 12 IB CAS students Amy, Ella, Eduarda, and Julia have been working on this project since December. The theme will be “Lights Out.” In keeping with the theme, glowsticks will be distributed to ticket holders, who are encouraged to dress in neon and glow-in-the-dark colors.
There’s a famous bit from Indo-Canadian comedian Russell Peters’ breakout Comedy Central special in 2006, in which he talks about a not-so-distant, post-racial world: “Three hundred years from now, there’s not gonna be anymore white people. There’s not gonna be anymore black people. We’re all just going to be beige. The whole world’s mixing. There’s nothing you can do about it. Eventually, we’re all gonna become some sort of hybrid mix of Chinese and Indian. It’s inevitable! They’re the two biggest populations in the world. So you can run from us now. But sooner or later, we’re gonna hump you.”
Darius Kwang, 6, Singapore
My playground has a banana slide.