We realised that although we are beginning to share more of our stories now, we haven’t really shared much about ourselves or our expat life!
So starting from now, we’ll be updating anyone who cares on what we’ve been up to in the past month. Watch our Instagram stories for more up-to-date version too!
TOMB SWEEPING FESTIVAL
At the beginning of April, there was a national holiday in China. Tomb-sweeping Day is exactly what it sounds like. People who have lost loved ones go to their tombs and clean them.
There’s also a tradition of burning things to send up to the dead so they can live a good after-life. There are hundreds of little fires going around the city where people have burned pretend money, or pictures of expensive things.
As good, culturally aware residents of China …. We actually didn’t take part in any of these celebrations. Instead we moaned about the fact that we had to work on the Saturday to get the Monday and Tuesday off.
On Sunday, we met with a friend at a Chinese barbecue restaurant for dinner. We accidentally drank wayyy too much, so naturally, we spent most of Monday in bed feeling sorry for ourselves. That’s what bank holidays are for though, right??
I’m so old. Okay, I’m 26 but that’s closer to 30 than I would like! To celebrate my geriatric status, we went out to eat the biggest pizza in Beijing.
Between 8 of us, we finished it too!
Kev bought me a bike so that I would stop complaining that I have to walk the long and dreary 15 minutes to school … I literally can’t get enough of it!
Beijing is absolutely PACKED full of bikes at the moment because of the recent explosion of companies like MoBike, Ofo and Bluegogo. Download the app, scan the QR code and ride around the city for free!
But having my own bike makes me feel a bit more special. Plus it’s almost impossible for me to pick up a MoBike in the mornings because I leave quite late, so I’d rather have more time in bed and use my own!
POSTING THINGS TO CHINA
…..is an absolute BALLACHE. Last year I ordered some clothes online which didn’t arrive because the postie claimed there was no one at the address to receive them – despite security guards being there 24/7! We’re still waiting for a birthday card for Kev that was sent in September too.
Despite this, we really needed some things from home so we took the plunge and used DHL. To give them credit, the package was in Beijing in like two days. But somehow they messed up, and it got stuck in customs for two weeks at the beginning of April.
After about a zillion phone calls, we finally had a delivery time – to then be told there are horrendous customs charges for importing personal products to China. 30% to be exact. THIRTY PERCENT!!!!!!! Plus 70RMB/£8 for handling fees. We ended up paying £30 for the postage, plus £80 just to import it.
Lesson learned – bring EVERYTHING you need to China. OR persuade someone to come and see you under the pretense that you enjoy their company, and ask them to stuff their suitcase full of the things you want.
RESCUING ANOTHER KITTEN
If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know that we adopted two stray kittens last April and plan to take them home to England with us in the summer. Dumpling was found at Kev’s school, and this month another baby was found there completely dirty, alone and hungry.
Our friend took her to the vet who thought she was about 5 weeks old. We cleaned her up and took her home. She had an eye infection so we had to separate her from Dumpling and Noodle for a few days but since they’ve met, our cats have taught her so much!
I personally think she is part cat, part guinea pig but apparently that’s not a thing … We’ve called her Candy, after her rescuer, and she starts purring whenever we pick her up – just so adorable.
We hoped to give her to a shelter or somewhere straight away but with the infection, it was better to keep her until she got better. Luckily that didn’t take too long and as I write this, she’s flopped down onto the cat tree, completely at home. Someone else is looking after her next week so we’ll have to say goodbye but it was fun while it lasted!
LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING HOME
We have been in Beijing for almost two years now and we’re getting ready to go home! Not for long though – we’ll be moving to Australia in September which is so exciting!
The plan is spend around two months back at home, spending as little as possible and working some festivals to fund our next trip. We’ve applied to pick litter and direct traffic whilst everyone else gets drunk and goes crazy, but that’s fine. Our time will come!
It also means that we get to see our family and friends, who we haven’t seen since August. My brother is also having a baby in four months so luckily we will be around to spend some time with the little chubba!
Teaching in China has been fun (so many gorgeous children to squeeze) and also difficult (said children are also often spoilt brats). It will be really sad to leave but at the same time, I cannot wait to go home to a proper bacon sandwich!!
Here are the posts we wrote in April, in case you missed them!
Thanks for reading about what we got up to in April! Stay updated and don’t forget to subscribe!