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Published: October 12th 2018
I've now passed the 2 week mark, and can say that Beijing is beginning to feel a lot more like home. This has also been my first “normal” week with the family and it's gone really well! The times I spend helping the boys with their English homework are becoming more productive and enjoyable whilst play time is always good fun. At the weekend I accompanied Tyler to one of his external English classes, which was an interesting (and long!) experience. I'm consistently impressed by how much study these 2 boys aged 6 and 8 have to do although if I'm honest it does seem a bit much. Tyler won't finish his homework until gone 10 a lot of nights which is hard to justify in my mind. Chinese culture definitely values education let's say that.
A typical week day for me is breakfast with the family around 7am, the boys will then go off to school which is just around the corner. I will either go out into town to meet up and do something with the other au pairs like go to a museum or visit a site or I'll stay at home resting and doing some Mandarin
practice. I will usually pick the boys up from school around 4pm, some days it's 5:30pm. We'll play for a bit, have dinner fairly early and then get down to some homework. Usually one or both of the boys will have some external class or club in the evenings so often I'm left just looking after the one. I generally finish around 8:30pm, but it's flexible - especially if they've got home later from school in which case I could be with them till 9:30pm. Bella is concerned that they get their English practice in!
Weekends are more full on, although the boys still have a number of clubs going on. This makes going to an international church difficult as there's no way I can get Sunday morning off. Talking with Bella though, she's said I can have Sunday afternoon off whilst the boys are at clubs so I've contacted a small group at Beijing International Christian Fellowship which meets then. Hopefully I'll be able to go to that!
A highlight of this week was definitely seeing the Great Wall! Aupairia take us on monthly “Cultural trips” and this month was the Great Wall. We all had to get up
really early to be at the offices before 8, but the early start was totally worth it. After an hour bus journey we arrived at the Mutianyu section. I've never seen so many steps in my life! It just went up and up and up, as the wall itself follows the top of a mountain range. It was a breathtaking view from the up there though, and not because of the stairs! To see the mountain range would have been reason enough to make the climb, but the Wall made it a truly incredible experience. Very recommended if you're ever in China!
Other interesting experiences this week include going swimming with the boys. Turns out nobody wears clothes in Chinese changing rooms! I also had my first actual Mandarin class at Beijing Foreign Studies University which was really good. Challenging because I've come in at Lesson 4 having not done the first 3, but I'm struggling through. Classes are just with the other au pairs so it's a friendly atmosphere.
I think that's about everything! Do feel free to message me if you have any questions at all about my time here.
Praise points this week are generally that I
survived a normal week at home! Also for the Great Wall experience and for friends to have experienced it with.
Prayer points are that I would be able to join this small group and get some good Christian input for my time here, that life with the family would continue to go smoothly and always for Mandarin learning. Got a long way to go.
That's all for now!
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