It’s a tradition for the Fernandeses to hold a Christmas feast for friends where they prepare different Yuletide dishes from their home countries. Mom Josephine Nirwonagize is Belgian of Rwandan descent and prepares a special cake for dessert called bûche de Noël, while Dad José Joaquim Fernandes brings to the table the Danish traditional dessert of riz a l’amande, or sweet cream rice with almond.
The couple describe their twin princesses Laura Maria José and Sophia Maria Thérèse as very international. “They were conceived in India, born in Belgium, and now live in Beijing,” Josephine says, and that’s because her career as a Belgian embassy officer has allowed the couple to enjoy the cultures of New Delhi, Mumbai, Brussels, and Beijing. Jose, who’s an aviation engineer, is a proud stay-at-home dad who prepares the meals and takes care of the household.
Your shopping haven in Beijing is…
Taobao and METRO
During the weekends, we…
Walk in Chaoyang Park
That holiday that we always look forward to:
Summer holidays with grandma in Lisbon
Daughter 1’s favorite class:
Drawing and reading
Daughter 2’s favorite activity:
Puzzles and bicycling
Where dad and I spend our date nights:
Beijing Duck Restaurants
No. 1 house rule:
No outdoor shoes inside the house
Don’t regret the things you do in life and do things you won’t regret.
The first thing I do in the morning…
Running along Liangma River
When dad’s home, he usually…
Our funniest experience in the neighborhood is…
Making a snowman in our park
My advice to new families in Beijing:
House chore that my kids enjoy:
Baking a homemade green cake using a recipe from dad’s grandpa.
Favorite family ritual:
Cook homemade steak and fries for dinner on Sundays
We love Beijing because:
It has Beijing duck!
This article first appeared in the beijingkids December 2018 Charity and Goodwill issue.
Photo: Uni You