Check Check Check


On my crazy list of things to see and do in Beijing were a handful of little things that I’d never been able to check off. After our family photo shoot at the Ancient Observatory, we started to put a checkmark next to some of these things.

First up was the Kid’s Republic Bookstore. I’d seen it anytime cool bookstore or library designs are featured online, and as a book loving family, we had to see it in real life. It disappointed. It’s small and old and run-down and all the cool reading nooks were full of adults. It’s pretty cool, and I’m glad we saw it, but it wasn’t what I hoped for. And it didn’t help that it was almost entirely Chinese language books. (I know, I know… it’s in China… but still!)

Next up, a crazy China adventure. That wasn’t on my list. What was on B’s list was eating lunch at his favorite Indian restaurant, Ganges. Since we were still off of line one (the eastern end), we walked to a Ganges location we hadn’t been to before instead of some of the others in the north east we’d been to before. Walking around the mall it was supposedly in, we couldn’t find it so B called the number listed for them. A man answered and said he knew where we were, so he’d come out and get us. What ended up happening was he found us, took us to his driver (a Chinese man who spoke no English) and fit the 6 of us and a stroller into his driver’s sedan and had the driver drive us to the other location (one we’d been to before) because the location we were at was temporarily closed (that the entire basement of the mall was closed). B and I looked at each other, shrugged and got in the car. I was about a one mile drive. We ended up safely at the other Ganges and ate a delicious lunch. Only in China!!

Somehow, I heard about a Friends Cafe in Beijing. I was always a huge fan of the tv show Friends, I was even part of the live audience for a taping when I was in high school, so I knew I had to go. I never got the group of girl friends together to check it out, so Brandon (with his awesome map skills) got us there where we enjoyed some milk shakes and a cupcake. So fun! Especially since I’d just finished watching the entire series on Netflix.



China Life is an competitor. This is the JD dog our

in front of the pharmacy by our subway stop.


At Hola in the Ginza Mall at Dongzhimen subway stop… an aisle just for chocolate.

While at GMU, B had a professor whose son had ordered a bunch of the individual honey dijon chip bags online, brought them to his dad’s house on a visit and then left them. The dad/professor was trying to keep his weight down, so he’d bring them to his classes and give them away. I think I was pregnant with Squidgems at the time and B brought these home and they were SOOOO good. And then I couldn’t find them. Anywhere. I even went to the Kettle brand website an searched for my nearest store that sold them, my sister-in-law’s nearest store, etc. I couldn’t find them. Now here, in Beijing, China, I can have a bag for a mere $5.30. I guess that isn’t so bad… I just don’t spend Y32 on almost anything.

Origami and paper-cutting activity books.


American books in Chinese.


Don’t you want to climb up this scaffolding staircase?


Walking between Ganges Indian Restaurant (B’s new favorite place) and the Dongzhimen (line 2) subway stop,  there’s this itty bitty shop. Can you see it? It’s just the one window frame under the smaller yellow lettering. It’s just big enough for the one employee that’s standing inside.

Coloring books in China. It’s really hard to find a coloring book that doesn’t include a colored page to show you how you should be coloring.

Or, dot to dot guns.

And the air… the heat came on in Beijing November 15 and so begins our gross and smoggy winter…

 Sam’s Club


First time I’ve seen a giant bag of marshmallows. Marshmallows are pretty rare here.


Books I read in English I found in Chinese at Carrefour.

Some Books of Interest

I’ve joined a book club here in Beijing that is the two branches combined (not the Shunyi branch that is much further out). It’s mostly made up of women whose husband’s are working here (business, embassy, or teaching) or, there is a segment of the other branch that are Kennedy Center teachers somehow connected to BYU and teaching at Peking University (I think) for a few semesters at a time. This time we met on my side (west) of Beijing, but still much further north than I live. Instead of being an hour subway ride, it was only about 45 minutes.

Last year the book club focused a lot on books that westerners living in China should read. They didn’t want to overwhelm everyone by continuing with that pattern or rereading books so they gave us newcomers a list of books we should tackle while living in China. I thought I’d share the list with you. Several of these books are banned in China.
Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng

The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited by Louisa Lim

My Tibetan Childhood: When Ice Shattered Stone by Naktsang Nulu

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang

China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power by Rob Gifford