Meet the Pineda family

The Pinedas live in Shunyi and the kids go to Dulwich

It’s not easy moving to a country with a culture vastly different to your own. In our series on Beijing's personalities and families, Time Out Family checks in on families who have just moved to Beijing, to see how they’re coming along.

Parents Heather and Alekz, and their children Sebastian (6) and Samuel (4)

Where are you from originally?

The US and Mexico.

Where do you live?

Rainbow Garden in Shunyi.

What are the family-friendly perks for kids in the area?
There are lots of restaurants and the kids love the bouncy castles.

Is there anything you don’t like about your neighbourhood?

We’re far from the city, so it’s difficult to really experience all that Beijing has to offer.

What were your first impressions of Beijing?
We loved seeing the Great Wall and dreaming about our travelling prospects, and it’s great that there’s a market for everything here. I was also pleasantly surprised to see the kindness people show towards the kids, such as when guards carry them over puddles!

Have you had any difficulties in settling down?

It’s hard not having our own transportation, and facing language barriers daily. Also, I’m gluten sensitive so that’s been a real challenge. I can’t have soy sauce!

Where do your children go to school and why did you send them there?
Our kids attend Dulwich College Beijing; I send them there because I chose to work there as the Director of University Counselling. We’re all very pleased with the school and community. The kids have adjusted really well to their new classmates and teachers, and they’re thriving. What more can parents ask for?

What issues did you face as a family moving to Beijing?
Our biggest issue was with the shipping company. We were quoted incorrectly and things got shipped on two different shipments.

And how did you resolve them?

The lovely ladies in the HR department at Dulwich worked really hard to get everything in order. Three months later, we had our things.

What advice do you have for newbies in the area?

Go out and explore. Take language lessons and get a good app that tells you how you’re progressing. Also, try to travel around Asia; we figure this may be the only chance we’ll have to do that.

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