China in our Hands

 

We’ve been on our travels again! In March we headed off to Beijing for nearly three weeks. It was an interesting trip – to find out more, read on!

We last visited Beijing in November 2007, and we were delighted to be asked back again!

In March this year, we spent nearly three weeks in China working in three schools – The Western Academy of Beijing (WAB), The International School of Beijing (ISB) and the International School of Tianjin (IST).

 Steve B took the slow road to China, travelling on the Trans Siberian Express for 7 days and 6 nights. He saw a lot of snow and trees!

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Steve B in Moscow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One of the few times Steve was let off the train!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the not-so-swish Russian dining car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve S took the quick route – he flew and saw a lot of films!

We both safely reached China’s capital and began our visit with a return to the wonderful WAB, hosted by John Byrne and his fabulous team of librarians.

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The banner was put out for us!

 

 

We also met up with a fab Dutch teacher – Rob Korfage, who had the added attraction of being a part owner of the Irish bar, which was situated across the road from our hotel! They welcomed us royally!

 

 

 

 

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Another welcome sign (at the pub!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a brilliant time at the school, talking to students from pre-kindergarten (thanks, John!) through to grade 5s. iHero went down a storm!

 

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iHero in China

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iHero in China
iHero in China

 

We were also interviewed by WAB TV reporters – you can see us at around 2 mins 30 seconds!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rcrzYEyB5w&feature=youtu.be

 

The younger students loved The Fridge Monster and produced some art work that might interest modern art collectors!

 

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The Fridge Monster roars!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Librarians from WAB (before being turned into Action Dogs!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Librarians from WAB (after being turned into Action Dogs!)
The Librarians from WAB (after being turned into Action Dogs!)

So after a fantastic week at WAB, things turned interesting at our hotel. The story of the missing Malaysian plane broke and the families of the missing passengers were put up in the hotel we were staying at. We’ve never seen so many media people. It was a tense situation in the hotel with no one knowing what was happening. Eventually extra security was drafted in and we had to go through airport type scanners, put baggage through x-ray machines and be frisked every time we wanted to get into the hotel!

 

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The media scrum
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More media scrum

 

The second week saw us at the International School of Beijing, where Karen and her team looked after us brilliantly! We saw students across grades 2-5 and introduced them to iHero and the Action Dogs!

Highlights of the week included an earthquake drill (where we had to dive under the nearest table until the all clear was given) and dumpling making (where we had to dive into the dumplings and eat as many as possible!).

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2 Steves at ISB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There be dragons in the playground!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Earthquake Drill at ISB
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Earthquake Drill at ISB

 

Sadly China has a problem with pollution – the levels were incredibly high when we were there (instead of wet weather break times when students stay inside, they have pollution break times) ISB has an answer to this problem – two huge domes filled with fresh air! And they say air doesn’t cost. Oh yes it does!

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Getting some fresh air!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was also great to meet up with our all time favourite number one bookseller, Alex Goh. He introduced us to Angela (who sat selling our books all week!).

 

Our bookseller, Alex
Our bookseller, Alex
Alex and Angela
Alex and Angela
Selling our books
Selling our books
The librarians at ISB
The librarians at ISB

 

We then headed out of Beijing to Tianjin, a city of 15 million people just 2 hours outside of Beijing.

We were hosted by Josianne at the International School of Tianjin for three days.
 

An understated sign!
An understated sign!

 

The Librarians at IST
The Librarians at IST

 

St Patrick’s day was a lucky one for Steve S – in a raffle in a local eating-house, he managed to win a bicycle! (not the mini iPad he had hoped for!).

The Flying Pigeon is an iconic, classic retro bicycle – it was THE bicycle of choice for the Chinese 40 years ago!

IST’s director (also called Steve) arranged for it to be delivered to school where it took pride of place in the library! Sadly Steve S couldn’t arrange for it to be shipped back to the UK and left it to be auctioned for charity!

 

The Flying Pigeon!
The Flying Pigeon!
Three Steves with a Pigeon!
Three Steves with a Pigeon!

 

 

Then it was back to Beijing and a final visit to our friends in the Irish pub before heading back to the UK after another fantastic visit to Beijing.

 

Thank you to everyone who looked after us and made the trip so rewarding.

Oh yes, the schools must have enjoyed our visit as they have asked us to return! We are heading back East in November – we’re looking forward to it already!