Initially, we didn’t know too much. As time has passed, we’ve found out a bit more. B will be teaching economics for two years at, what we understand, is an exclusive high school for Chinese (and international students) who plan to attend college in the United States. Starting in the tenth grade, instruction is in English. B doesn’t need to learn Chinese. Ideally we all learn some and hopefully the kids pick up a lot.
Most ex-patriots live northeast of Beijing near the American embassy. That’s where the western stores are, etc. We won’t be there. This is both annoying and exciting. We’ll be west of downtown Beijing. It would be great to be closer to more American stuff (and people), but it will also help us experience a truer Beijing, I hope. The building where our church congregation meets won’t be quite as far as the ex-pat community, but is more on the eastern side of Beijing and will be at least an hour away via subway.
B’s school provides housing. We found out about a month ago that we’re getting a 4 bedroom apartment. Woo-hoo! This is a huge blessing. I think that anything bigger than 2 bedrooms is hard to come by in China. Before we knew about the 4 bedroom apartment, we’d thought about striking out on our own and trying to find a 3 bedroom apartment to rent. Even then, we had decided we wanted to live near B’s school. I’d rather have his commute be shorter so he’s home with us more than have us live closer to the church for a 1 or 2 times a week commute.
We’ll be in China for two school years. August 2014-June 2016. Just under two years. Initially, we thought we might fly back to the states that middle summer but it’s the most expensive time to travel, and B’s school only covers B’s airplane ticket home once a year, not all of ours. Instead, I think we’ll take that time that B has off from work to travel a little around Asia (Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, etc.).