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October 5th 2018
Published: October 5th 2018
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Right. Hello! Hope you are all doing well.

I have officially been in Beijing for 10 days. Wow. To be honest it feels like quite a bit more than that - probably because of all I’ve tried to pack into this week! The family left for Mongolia early on Monday morning, so I’ve had the house to myself since then, but can’t say I’ve actually spent much time there. In fact, every day this week I’ve been out exploring Beijing with the other au pairs, which has really given me a taste of what this huge city is like. The subway is super easy to use because everything is in English too, and even better - it’s really really cheap. I’m even getting the hang of the buses to and from the station which cost a whopping 1 RMB (that’s 11p). It’s so much nicer having people to explore with, and although I do like walking by myself sometimes, this week would have definitely become a bit lonely. I feel like the slightly interesting situation we’re all in (young and foreign with next to no Chinese) means that we’re able to bond really quickly, and I’ve made some great friends. I still haven’t met all the au pairs because the national holiday has meant this week has been a bit strange, but I’m looking forward to knowing the whole group. The explorer squad this week has been me, Sara, Sophie and Paul 😊

We avoided the obvious tourist attractions again because it’s a national holiday and Beijing is heaving, but found a surprising number of things to do! The Olympic (2008) Park was really cool, it was fun to see the Bird’s Nest stadium and just walk around the park itself which is massive. Visited a Daoist temple of death, which was very interesting - lots and lots of statues. The Ming City Wall ruins were also pretty cool. Went to Xidan, the main shopping district and spent hours wandering around huge shopping centres looking at everything. The shopping here is better than in Coventry, I can tell you that. We even found a Central Perk - a copy of the cafe from Friends - in an otherwise deserted shopping centre! Hidden gems. Then today we’ve been out at the Beijing botanical gardens, which is another huge park with a beautiful Buddhist temple as well as a great tropical conservatory. WeChat has a step counter that ranks you against all your friends so that has obviously become a bit of a competition. Just exploring though I’ve been doing over 20,000 every day this week! Maybe that’s why my feet hurt... So yeah! Lots of exploring done, and I’ve still got the famous Forbidden City and Summer Palace among many other places to look forward to. Aupairia is taking us on a trip to the Great Wall on Tuesday, so that should be good!

Feeding myself has not been too much of a challenge; I bought some bread and yogurt which I’ve been having for breakfast. Lunch I’ve just been buying wherever we happen to be - meals are usually only around £2-£3 and never more than £5. Then I’ve been having pot noodles or more bread for tea at home again!

So praise the Lord for a brilliant week, for a great time seeing some sights and for the other au pairs who’ve become firm friends already. That’s truly been a blessing.

Things to pray for: the family comes back this evening, so a good transition into a more normal routine, and that I’ll be able to throw myself into learning Chinese which is starting to come but is really tough!

Zaijian for now 😊

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6th October 2018

Two brilliant blogs Sim! You should think of taking up writing as a career, you have a gift! I hope you get to visit the Temple of Heaven while you are there, historically, one of the most significant places in the whole of China. Oh to be young again, what an adventure you are on!
6th October 2018

Temple of heaven
It's definitely on my to do list!
7th October 2018

Great to read them.
Thanks for writing them I've just caught up on your last two blogs. Great to hear from you.

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