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Getting Your Child into School
By Tim Hoerle

It’s time to sign up your kids to go to school next year. Actually it might be too late for some kindergartens, so act quickly. Here’s my guide to getting in. I’m assuming that because you’re reading this, either you or your spouse is a foreigner, so I’m not going to talk about what it takes for a local kid to get in. Here’s how you do it. There are many different types of kindergartens out there, and your spouse might be angry at me for saying this, but I firmly believe that it doesn’t really matter which one your child goes to.  Simply find a school that’s near your house, find out when the applications are accepted, and sign up. Kindergartens, as far as I’m concerned, are a place for kids to have fun. Typically kindergartens cost around 8,000RMB or more a semester. That’s just the way it goes. If you happen to live near one of the best ones, which we did, be patient and do exactly as you’re told. Reschedule your appointment if the headmaster suddenly has something to do, and do that with a smile on your face. Once you finally get in the door, the best way to enter a better school is to have a reference. You don’t need any proof of residence. All you need is your child’s passport. They might or might not ask you to prove your place of work, but no official documents were needed when I went there. These kindergartens typically like having international kids in them, whether that’s right or wrong.

Now getting into primary school is another story, but not difficult altogether. Of all the schools that are out there, I’m only familiar with four types: public schools, private schools with international classes, private schools without international classes, and the international school. For the public school, find out which one is near the apartment you own or rent, and sign up there. While local kids get educated for free, most all schools require foreign kids to pay tuition. Ours cost around 4,000RMB/semester. As far as I know, there’s no way to get around that, but getting in is easier than getting a residence permit. When we went, we showed them our rental agreement, my wife’s work contract (although I think mine would have been sufficient), the passports of both my daughter and me, our temporary residence permits, and we were golden.  For the private schools, which can cost above 10,000RMB/semester, you don’t need to provide your rental agreement. These schools however, are hard to get into, and though we tried, we weren’t accepted. We had to wait on line for what seemed like hours to take the admissions test to one of these schools, and in the end, who knows why we weren’t accepted, but we weren’t.

Then there’s the private school with international classes, which can cost around 20,000RMB/semester. Because of the higher tuition rates at these schools, they are easier to get into. After we were rejected by the former private school, we didn’t feel like trying to get into the ones with international classes, so I can’t help you much there.

So getting into a school is easier than you might have imagined, and as long as there are enrollment spots open, which there surely are, you’re in. If in the rare case that the public school doesn’t have an open spot, then you can go to your local Board of Education and ask for other possibilities.

Now having your child succeed in one of these schools isn’t the easiest thing. For one thing, I personally have never done primary school homework in China, so guiding my daughter through this wasn’t an option for me. My wife had to do all of this. In the case that neither you nor your spouse have been through the education system in China, it’s best to get your child a tutor. Doing homework is absolutely necessary unless you want your child to be totally ostracized. It isn’t an easy thing for somebody like me to totally understand, but it is what it is, and in the end we got through it. My daughter made good friends, had fantastic teachers, went into school happy, and left the same way.

If you want your child to go to a local school, when it comes to homework time, there’s going to be a lot of crying involved no matter how relaxed you are. That’s just the way it goes. I’ve seen adults cry when trying to learn characters, let alone kids. When there are forty plus kids in one class with only one teacher trying to teach them a language as difficult as Chinese, that’s the way it goes. Then again, you could always send your child to the international school where there are sure to be fewer tears because let’s face it, learning English is much easier than learning Chinese, and you get what you pay for. Not only that, but it’s easier to register, not that registering to a local school was that difficult as I have just said.

If going to the international school is not realistic for you, and a local public school is your only option, be prepared to move. Get a rental agreement near the school that you think best fits your child. Look into each school’s registration requirements, and go through each and every step involved. When all is said and done, it’s really no more difficult than getting your residence permit.

Side note: I found it strange that when my daughter was in kindergarten, the teachers addressed her using her English name, but when she went to primary school, the kids only knew her by her Chinese name. She cried an awful lot when she went to primary school in China, but rarely cries now that she’s in school in America. With that in mind, I often think that the educational system in the US is much too relaxed, and the one in China is much too strict. I guess it’s hard to have it both ways. 

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The Expat Show is Coming Back Very Soon!

For the 12th consecutive year, the Expat Show Shanghai is back for the delight of families. 
Expatriates or locals, the Expat Show Shanghai will meet all your daily needs.

Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city, the whole world is represented here. However, creating your network, meeting new people, or simply keeping up to date with new businesses (services and products) can sometimes be complicated by the vastness of this city.

That's why the three days Expat Show brings together in one place everything you need. Thus, foodies will find their happiness within the "Food & Beverage Area" created in partnership with Sherpa's ; various tastings organised will fulfil wine, beer, and cocktail lovers dreams; families will not be left behind with stands dedicated to tourism, education, health but also to investment and finance.

Activities for young and adult visitors will be organized inside a dedicated space, and a relaxation area awaits all visitors for moments of exchange over a drink or a coffee. 

The members of the associations (non-profit, charities, Chambers of Commerce...) will also be there to present their activities and why not, soon, count you among their members.

GET TOGETHER COCKTAIL

This year, a big new feature!

The Expat Show is pleased to invite you to its "Get Together Cocktail".

In the Shanghai Exhibition Center, you are expected on Saturday, September 21st, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the Relaxing Area.

Wine, spirits and cocktails tasting with appetizers provided by our sponsors, will be an opportunity to share a pleasant moment.

Participation is free of charge and our generous sponsors have prepared many gifts for you. Come and try your luck! Games, trips, gifts are to be won!

SEE YOU ON SEPTEMBER 20TH AT 10AM!

On this Harvest Moon: The Mid-Autumn Festival

This year the Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, falls on September 13th. This is the 2nd most important festival in China, after the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival blow out extravaganza. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival that coincides with the autumnal equinox and marks the end of the summer harvest season, and its date varies from year to year because the Chinese can’t seem to let go of the Lunar Calendar. Of course, they’ve seen silverware too, but Jerry Seinfeld already did that bit.

Like everything else here, the history of the Mid-Autumn Festival dates all the way back, 3,000 years, to the Shang Dynasty, when the powerful sorcerer Lo Pan broke the curse of immortality by marrying a girl with green eyes…no, wait, that was the plot to Big Trouble in Little China. Here’s the real one, according to legend (or, Wikipedia, if you want to be a jerk about it):

“Chang'e and her husband Houyi were immortals living in heaven. One day, the ten sons of the Jade Emperor transformed into ten suns and scorched the Earth. Having failed to order his sons to stop ruining the Earth, the Jade Emperor summoned Houyi for help. Houyi, using his legendary archery skills, shot down nine of the sons, but spared one son (who conveniently became the Sun). The Jade Emperor was obviously not pleased with Houyi's solution to save the Earth as it involved Houyi murdering nine of his sons. As punishment, the Jade Emperor banished Houyi and Chang'e to live as mere mortals on Earth.

Seeing how miserable Chang'e felt over her loss of immortality, Houyi decided to go on a long, perilous quest to find the pill of immortality so that the couple could become immortal again. At the end of his quest he met the Queen Mother of the West who agreed to give him the pill, but warned him that each person needs only half the pill to become immortal.

Houyi brought the pill home and stored it in a case. He warned Chang'e not to open the case and then left home for a while. Like every other woman in the history of the world, she didn’t listen. She opened up the case and found the pill just as Houyi was returning home. Nervous Houyi would catch her fiddling with the pill, she swallows the whole thing like a stooge and starts to float into the sky because of the overdose. Although Houyi could have used his wicked archery skills to shoot her and tether her down, he couldn’t bear to do it and Chang'e kept on floating until she landed on the moon.

Although Chang’e missed her husband dearly, she wasn’t alone. She did have company of a jade rabbit that manufactured elixirs, and that of the lumberjack Wu Gang. The lumberjack offended the gods in his attempt to achieve immortality and was therefore banished to the moon. Wu Gang was allowed to leave the moon if he could cut down a tree that grew there. The problem was that each time he chopped it down; it would instantly grow back, effectively condemning him to live on the moon for eternity. Gods are tricky that way.”

So to commemorate this story, as well as the end of the harvest season, people throughout China gather their families together to catch up while eating moon cakes (discussed in more detail later) and pomelo. They also light lanterns to adorn their homes, temples, and even the sky. This last kind of lantern, called a, “sky lantern,” is really quite cool. They’re basically an ornate box kite that’s lit with a candle, but when they’re launched, after night fall, they make for a beautiful, candlelit sky. Add to this luminescence that of the full round moon and you’ve got yourself the makings of one festive evening. It’s also the perfect occasion to pull out your old Neil Young albums (namely Harvest and Harvest Moon) and rock out.

Alternate Uses for Moon Cakes:

Let’s face it; the moon cake is the fruitcake of China. No one actually wants them (other than for re-gifting purposes). They’re just the gift you give people to let them know how little you care for them. For the person on the receiving end, it’s really a slap in the face. The giver of said crap cakes gets to slide by on the kindness of the gesture, while you’ve got to work up a smile, and pretend to appreciate what is in essence, an empty, backhanded act of passive aggression. Giving someone moon cakes is the same as saying, “I’ve nothing but contempt for you, but I do plan on knocking you up for a favor in the next couple weeks, so try not to choke.” But all’s not lost because moon cakes can serve many other functions besides pissing all over the definition of cake. So as those decorative boxes of banality from all your condescending know-nothing colleagues at work pile up in your home, don’t think about how drunk you’re going to have to get to choke them all down. Get creative. Think like Martha Stewart, or just keep reading and use some of the ideas we’ve come up with. It’s a good thing.

Stabilize that wobbly chair or coffee table

One of the nice things about a cake that’s got the density of a brake pad is that it can endure a sizeable amount of force without breaking apart. That makes it one of the best materials to use to support that bothersome short leg on your table, chair, or bar stool. It also won’t scuff up your hardwood floors.

Serves as a fantastic replacement puck for ice or street hockey

Thanks to the moon cakes stout, cylindrical design, (It’s called, yeast, you a-holes! It’s what makes baked goods fluffy and delicious. Stop living in the past.), it has, not only the same shape as a standard ice hockey puck, but also, almost, the exact same dimensions. So here’s what you do. Take a box of these abominations and throw them in the freezer for a couple hours while you gather the gang for a good old fashion game of street hockey, or take them down to the skating rink at the MixC Mall and have at it.

Give to the needy

This is just to prove our point that these shit snacks are universally reviled. Go up to a homeless person asking for money and give them a box of these bastards instead, and see if you don’t get pegged in the back of the head with one as gratitude for your selfless gesture.

Protect yourself from stray dogs

It’s late and you’re stumbling out of the bar after a few too many with your buddies. Your senses are impaired, as is your sense of direction. You find yourself alone, walking down a dark street when you spot a mongrel dog that has shown an interest in you. You’re too drunk to outrun it, and it’s the only thing between you and your warm bed. What do you do? You pull out the moon cakes that some jackanapes forced on you and you force them right into the dog’s mouth. Like peanut butter on their nose, this should keep it occupied for at least 10 minutes, giving you plenty of time to make a staggering escape.

Whip at motorists who don't obey the traffic laws

How many times have you been on your bike, or in a taxi, and you’ve almost been killed by some motorist who thinks the rules don’t apply to them? If you’ve been here a week it’s happened at least once. Don’t lie to us. Of course, you want to throw something at them, but all you have handy is your cell phone and/or wallet and, obviously, you can’t throw those. Moon cakes combine the heft of a billiard ball with the softness of a dessert you’d still pass on in a hostage situation. You make your point, no damage to the target’s car, but the message was received. Everyone wins.

Earmuffs in the winter

Get creative this winter and be the first one on your block to chase away the chills with some homemade, moon cake earmuffs. All you need is a needle, some decorative, elastic yarn, 2 moon cakes (one for each ear) and a microwave. Cut 5 lengths of yarn at a measure of one and half times the circumference of your head. Work the yarn through the moon cakes laterally (through the sides). Adjust the position of the cakes so that each one rests comfortably over each ear, with your lengths of yarn going around your head like a sweat band. When you’ve got them positioned how you like them, tie the ends of your yarn together to ensure a snug fit around your cabeza. When you’re ready to hit the town, throw your stylish new earmuffs in the microwave for 30 seconds and prepare to laugh derisively at Old Man Winter.

Haze the new guy

Like snake wine and unicycles, moon cakes serve no purpose. They do, however, work well for gags, especially when the new guy in your office starts getting a little too big for his britches. Knock him down a peg, and remind him of his place by challenging his manhood with a moon cake eating contest. Basically, you just tell him that it’s a rite of passage we’ve all gone through and if he can’t eat 10 moon cakes in 10 minutes, no one will respect him. Whether or not he finishes them is beside the point. The point is, no one else is going to eat these things and they’re starting to take up space.

And there you have it. Seven great ways to get rid of your moon cakes, when re-gifting is simply not an option, but by no means, are these the only ways. Get creative and think up some yourself. You like building models? Build yourself a 1/10 scale trebuchet and see how far you can wing them. Or give them to kids. They’ll put anything in their mouths. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everybody!

2019 Qiantang River Tidal Bore and Surfing Competition

Qiantang River tidal bore is one the largest tidal bores in the world which reaches the most spectacular on the eighteenth day of the eight month on Chinese lunar calendar. To watch the 9-meter tidal waves, you can choose the best locations in Haining city, about 50 kilometers from Hangzhou.

2019 Qiantang River International Surfing Competition will be held from Sept.11th to 16th, during which the Qiantang River tides are surging frighteningly high in the year.

Opening ceremony (about 40 minutes)

Time: 3:30pm - 4:10pm, September 12th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)

Qiantang River International Surfing Competition (4 days)

Time: September 13th - 16th (13th-15th: preliminaries, 16th: finals and closing ceremony).
Venue: Qianjiang No.9 Bridge to No.1 Bridge (Qiantang River Bridge) 钱江九桥至钱江一桥(钱塘江大桥)

Closing Ceremony Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)

Teams: 9 teams (China, Australia, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, California, France, Indonesia and Puerto Rico)
Prize: 200,000RMB

Surfing Carnival (5 days)

Time: 10:30am - 4:30pm, September 12th - 16th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)

What to expect: There will be four surf theme carnival activities: water rafting, surfing pool, surfing culture exhibition, surfing board teaching, as well as magical spider wall, frisbee, bowling and many other activities.

Qiantang Music Festival (1 day)

Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm, Saturday, September 14th
Location: Garden Lawn at Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园大草坪 (江干区5号港路)

The referee of Qiantang River International Surfing Competition, Peter Towndend is the first World Surfing Champion and the former coach of China National Surfing Team.

Nine teams from home and abroad will surf on the so-called “Silver Tides” from Sept. 13th to 16th. World top surfers, Dean Morrison, Eneko Acero, Kyle McGeary and Made Garut Widiarta will participate in the event.

Dean Morrison, who is the champion of Australia and European Division of World Men's Shortboard Surfing Championship Tour. He is one of the most celebrated Australian surfers of the modern era, finishing a career best ninth in 2007. In the water Dean is a pocket dynamo, known for his compact, fluid style and sublime cutback. On land his humility and good nature ensure he is the kind of pro surfer who is approachable for people from all walks of life.

Eneko Acero, one of the most important and influential surfers of Spain and Europe. At that time it was just him on a worldwide tour with surfers from all over the place but his hometown/country. Still today, Eneko is surfing in a daily basis, manages a team of an international brand and of course proudly holds the surname Acero, a surfing family you might heard of from him, his older brother Iker Acero or the charismatic Kepa Acero.

Kyle McGeary, Team (NSSA) champion surfer, he is an underground local surfer from Huntington Beach, California. "Never heard of Kyle? Then you probably don't surf the pier, because if you did, you'd see him hucking big rotators everyday."

Made Garut Widiarta, born and raised in Kuta he started surfing at the age of 9 at his home break Half Ways, Garut is one of the most recognizable Indonesian surfers in the world and he has received more high profile attention in the media than any Indonesian surfer since Rizal Tanjung. Is name is I Made Widiarta a.k.a Garut.

The top local surfers will also participate on behalf of Chinese National Surfing Team. Surfing in the Qiantang River has only been allowed since 2008. During the competition, surfers will follow the tidal bore in motorboats and jet skis, and then take turns riding the waves.

Surfing will be included in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. The inclusion has given a boost to the sport in China, where it remains relatively new.

Hangzhou government hopes the competition can further promote the sport among citizens, especially the youth.

The competition will be broadcast nationwide by China Central Television.

HIS Welcome Back BBQ Party, A Great Event For The HIS Community!

On Saturday, September 7th, 2019, Hangzhou International School held their Annual Welcome Back Barbecue and once again gathered the HIS community, parents, students and teachers, they had an opportunity to welcome the new families and to catch up with the old friends while enjoying themselves, the tasty food, and the activities provided.

MORE’s editor Loren was fortunately enough to be invited, while it was initially a little foreign to him—not having kids going to the school, not being a Binjiang-er—his years of being in Hangzhou felt like they finally paid off, and he bumped into a good cross-section of international folk he has known for a while now.

The food was predictably excellent, with burgers from returning favorite Slim’s one of the queues we had to try, but also present was the Indian faire from Pita’s and Tika’s and pizza from Angelo’s.

The kids had a great time too, with musical and dance performances, face painting and candy.

We had a great time talking to some new and returning teachers, eager to get the new school year fully underway, and had a great time talking about the crafts of teaching and parenting, as well as the sense of community that HIS brings to its families and faculty who come together from more than 50 nations to make events like this fun and engaging. We are looking forward to continue having a great school year!

Hello, Hangzhou! Epermarket is Now Delivering 7x a Week!

Looking for fresh and imported products from a source you can trust? Why not take advantage of Epermarket’s new and improved delivery service (now upgraded from 3 days to 7 days a week)? When ordering online, you can pick all the high-quality items you love and have them delivered to your door at on a day that suits you!

If you’re not available at a specific time of the day when your order arrives, you can always select, “Leave my Order at the Door” option, so you can feel safe in the knowledge that your fresh and frozen items will be carefully stored for you in cooler and carton boxes upon your arrival.

Ordering online at Epermarket couldn’t be easier—they have a wide range of hard-to-find products to choose from. Did we mention they have over 5000 imported products as well? And all their fresh groceries are packed on the day they are delivered, so you can be assured of the best quality hand-picked items.

What else is new at Epermarket?

Their Wine Fair promotion! This exclusive wine sale is coming up and will include classic beverages from some of the finest wine regions in the world. From Chablis to Prosecco and Rosé, you can find over 100 wines to dive into and enjoy in the comfort of your home. These wines will be on sale from up to 40% off, starting from September 10th, so keep your eyes peeled for more at www.epermarket.com.

New to Epermarket? Simply scan the QR code to register and get 50RMB off your first order! 

Offer is valid until Friday, the 13th September.

Find out more about other promotions when you visit their website Epermarket.com!

The idea behind Epermarket has always been simple: a place for internationals to buy the food they love, from a source they can trust. They place quality and safety first, with all products curated by professionals, all passionate about food and living a healthy life. Whether you are looking for fresh fruit and organic vegetables, pantry favorites or even home care products, Epermarket has everything you need.

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