Summer 2008 has been busy, starting with a two-week course in London as part of my certification in order to become a school principal. The two courses this year were 'Leading and Administering Effective Schools' and 'Curriculum in an International School'. I have two other courses to complete next summer in order to graduate and have the opportunity to become Principal of an International School. While I was busy learning, Shanhong went to see 10 different musicals as well as visiting the tourist sights. She even saw the queen! Another highlight was visiting Hillsongs church at the Dominion Theatre - where Shanhong came away with a free CD and DVD of the latest album!

We then went to Shrewsbury to stay with my mum - she's making good progress after her stroke - although not fast enough in her own eyes. It is difficult, but it is so good to see her up and about, even if tiring easily at times. We did do a bit of redecorating while home - wallpapering and painting the bathroom and toilet, but we still have the doors to do when we are back at Christmas. It's funny how housework and home improvements never seem to end - it is the same in our own home - where we really are going to have to find a cleaner to look after it when we are away. The Shrewsbury trip ended with the wedding of my nephew - a good chance to bring all the family together - here are a few quick pics of the happy couple and the event.

On the 27th/28th July we flew to Beijing in order to try and find a place to live. I still don't understand why, but it was cheaper to fly Birmingham - Munich - Frankfurt - Beijing with Lufthansa, than to fly Birmingham - Frankfurt - Beijing with the same company! It nearly caused a problem as German customs didn't want to let Shanhong fly across Germany without a Visa, but in the end we were allowed through - and the journey was pretty smooth! I did have a medical here so that school can arrange my documents as quickly as possible (then we can get our shipping) - but the main purpose was definitely apartment-hunting! Shanhong had arranged to meet one agent in the morning, and I had arranged to meet another in the afternoon. Between them we saw more than 20 apartments, and it could have been more, except the second agent wanted to show us many of the properties we had seen in the morning with the first! Two properties stood out, a smaller one very convenient for Shanhong's school and for shopping, and a larger one a little further away. Both could have been possible, but with the difference in price, going for the smaller property also allowed some regular bills to be included in the price - and that swayed our final decision. So, the following day we signed contracts for a 12-month rental of the property and here are the first pics, and the official address.

Our apartment

Landgent International, Apt 1905,

Building 2, Unit 1,

76, Bai Zi Wan Nan 2 Lu,

Chaoyang District



P.R. of China

Our view

The apartment is on the 19th floor of an apartment block, so well above the noise, dust, and mosquitoes of the city! There are just 5 apartments on each floor - so it is not too crowded, and security is excellent! It is literally across the road from Shanhong's school (2 minutes walk) and also just 5 minutes from a large Carrefour supermarket and department store - so it is extremely convenient. (Although I, of course, will have a long commute each day - we will need a car!)

The apartment has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and is fully furnished - even down to a 42 inch flatscreen TV ! The agreed rental will include management fees, central heating in winter, a parking space in the basement, cable TV and internet, water, gas and electricity. So, we think we have done pretty well - especially as it is within the budget allowed, and so school will be paying for everything!

Feel free to visit the newly updated for further pics as we take off all the dust covers and move our own things in when they arrive at the end of August. It will also give you some idea of our new roles in Beijing.

Keep in touch! Trevor & Shanhong xx