Our First Week in Beijing

About 4 months ago we decided to move to China for an opportunity that had come up…(more on that in another post), last week on the 11th of September 2019, we boarded our plane to start our new adventure. We were leaving from Johannesburg, South Africa to land in Beijing, China.

FINALLY got our visas after months of stress

The plane ride over.

We had booked through Emirates, in my opinion it is the most comfortable, the food is great and the on-flight entertainment is fantastic. We had a lay over in Dubai for 4 hours, which isn’t too bad. Both flights we took were double decker planes. I personally am not the biggest fan of them because it always feels too heavy and I have a slight fear of flying. ANYWAY… our first flight was pretty empty so no one was sitting next to us, which gave us space on the three-seater to spread out. The service on that flight was phenomenal. The service is generally good on an Emirates flight, but this one was extra good. We then had our lay over in Dubai for the 4 hours. This time went quite quickly as you walk around the shops, grab something to eat, find your gate and then wait to board. This flight was very full and overcrowded. We were seated at the top of the double decker as there was an economy section upstairs, which isn’t common. But there seemed to be less space up there. We were also on a two-seater which seemed cool when we booked, and it was, as it does make it easier when you need to go to the bathroom, but like I said it was over crowded. We didn’t enjoy this flight as much. Our total travel time was about 23 hours.

Arriving in Beijing.

When we got off the plane we had to head through to immigration. First though you need to insert your fingerprints into a system so that the government have you on record. It is a digital system so it really doesn’t take that long at all and there are many stations for you to do it. Then through to the stations where your passport gets stamped. This is always nerve wracking for me as I feel they could always stop you form coming in or detain you etc. I stress over everything whilst travelling. However, we didn’t have any problems and went right through. I would say the only “problem” would be that we waited in a line for about 30 min because of the amount of people coming through at that time. I would also just like to note that is was also scary because husband is on a spousal visa so we were just extra nervous coming through, but everything turned out just fine. So, from there we went to collect our bags, this was a mission in itself, again because of the amount of people, everyone pushing each other looking for their bags. We were good though because Dillan went running after the bags and I stayed in one place watching all of our stuff. It just made it easier for us. We then purchased our sim cards, which can be done right next to the bag carousel which was pretty awesome, changed some money and went to find our driver. That process took almost two hours after landing. We found our driver, he had the most beautiful Mercedes, the interior was fabulous and comfortable. There were even cool lights right around the doors. It took us another hour and a half (instead of 45 min) to get to the apartment where we are staying temporarily, because the day after we arrived was the Mid-Autumn festival, which is a national holiday in China. So, the traffic was bad. I kept dosing off in the car because we were exhausted.

The apartment and area where we live.

After our long travel time we finally arrived at our apartment. The buildings here are so different to back home, there are skyscrapers everywhere, but funny enough not as many as you would think, but I also think that’s the area where we live. There is a lot of greenery everywhere and people really take care of their environment. Anyway, back to the apartment. Currently we are staying on the 8th floor which gives us a great view od the city. We are staying in Beiyuan. So, we lug our many bags up and put everything down, then my amazing HR director shows us everything in the apartment along with the estate agent. Then the HR Lady (lets call her V) takes us to get some food, show us a round a little bit and helps us get some essentials for the apartment, like breakfast and toilet paper. She wanted to show us where the important things were so that we would survive the long weekend. We then went back to the apartment, let everyone know we were safe and then slept. We slept until 2pm the next day, that’s how exhausted we were. Over the weekend we proceeded to look around our blocks and found three great grocery stores. We didn’t stop walking and my feet ended up being super swollen. We eventually figured out that we could use the app DIDI (this is an app like Uber, for taxis, the don’t have Uber in China) without using WeChat Pay (this is an app within WeChat ((WeChat is like WhatsApp, but the Chinese version)) that you pay for everything with. But we couldn’t set ours upset because we didn’t have a bank account yet.) We could use DIDI with my credit card so we went to a big mall about 3km and found Carrefour. This is a mall that stocks a lot of imported goods as well as local goods. We also went apartment hunting because the place we are staying in now is temporarily, it was what the school organized for us to stay in until we managed to find a place. We found a great place not too far from the school so we are pleased.

The Monday before work started.

So here in China there are many laws in place for foreigners to work, but not only that, there are just a lot of laws if you are going to work with children. In order for you to get the permanent residence permit, you have to go through a medical check. I would suggest, if you are going to Beijing, not to do it at home, because there is a whole center you have to go to here, and even if you have done it already back home, you have to do it again, so save your money and do it here. It costs about 500 RMB to do the test and you will need about an hour if it isn’t too busy and you get there early. Now this process is pretty efficient and harmless. Once you register, you are given a check list and a page with stickers on (the stickers have your name and a barcode). The stickers are taken at each station so that they have the records down. The check list has all of the procedures you need to have done. For example, you need to have blood tests done, a chest x-ray, an eye test, a chest sonar, a vitals test, an ecg for the heart, and a BMI test. Its really quick once you are in the room, each one doesn’t take more than about 2 min. The most invasive thing was when they had to take the vile of blood. You can go to the rooms in any order as long as you get your check list signed and they take the sticker for each one. You then hand in the paperwork at the end and it takes a few days to process. Now what was interesting to me, is that the whole thing is fairly inexpensive, back home if you had to do all of those checks, you would possibly pay triple maybe more for all of those things to be done. (We passed our medicals so we are very happy about that)

We then waited for our police registration which didn’t take long, and then went to open a bank account. This was a long process because we are foreigners but V was there every step of the way helping us. We got it done and managed to link it up with WeChat pay which is great. We also went to sign for our apartment and V helped us with that too. We had lunch with V at this great place called Tulip Coffee. Their food was really good. In China it is their custom to order lots of dishes, put in the middle of the table and share it.
All in all, the Monday was extremely busy but we got everything done we needed to which was great.

First Week of Work.

I was hired as a foreign English teacher at a Kindergarten. So far, it is really great. During the week I’ve been training and I was only supposed to get my class on Monday, but the substitute left on Thursday so I had to start with my class on Friday. (I was late in coming to China because of paperwork issues so classes started 2 weeks before.) I have a class of 2-year olds. They are adorable and a lot of work, but I am up for the challenge. On Friday I got home from work and we were going to go get food, husband goes " are you going to shower before we go?', I say "why do I stink?", He goes "I am trying to tell you nicely", I say "what I do stink of?" he says, "Children" hahahahaha


Because we had arrived on the Thursday and have had heavy jet-lag, we haven’t gotten to see a lot of Beijing as of yet, but yesterday we decided that before the rugby game (South Africa vs New Zealand) we would go to a place called Lama Temple. We took a train ride and did a connection and then got there. When we left the station, we were confused as to where to go, husband was like we should have had a game plan. I said “I DID, we get here and look for the Buddha”. So, there were two temples in the space of about a block so we went to both, one was the Lama Temple, which inside of the one temple is a big Buddha. This was beautiful, the detail was incredible. They have incent burners everywhere that is like a big braai (BBQ). They use this to pray. The other temple was Confucius Temple and Memorial. This was interesting as they had his ashes in a shrine and many other people in the shrine as well. They were all in was seemed like concrete coffins. They also put on a mini show at this temple which was beautiful to watch. We then left a bit early because we didn’t want to miss the Rugby hehe.

NOW (Sunday 22 September 2019)

It is now Sunday morning. It is the first morning I have woken up and not felt completely exhausted. MAYBE my jet lag will go away soon YAY. Husband is still sleeping and I am excited to finally share our first week of our journey.

That’s all for now, see you later my Chinas. (in South Africa there is a saying that if you call someone your china, you are calling them your friend, a mate, it’s a positive term, and I am being punny hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha)  

What would you do for R10 000.00?

Well, Jeremy Mansfield is willing to do pretty much anything!

This selfless initiative of Jeremy’s stems from Hot 91.9FM listener, Byron calling in to say he would donate R10 000.00 to Hot Cares if Jeremy did a photoshoot in a pair of Jimmy Choo heels to celebrate Hot 91.9FM’s Women’s Month Celebrations. Jeremy is making Byron’s donation worth his while by adding tights and suspenders to his wardrobe for this photoshoot.

August is also Mansfield’s birthday so Jeremy, in the spirit of community, has decided to do “just about” anything you wish him to do, for a donation of R10 000.00 to the Hot 91.9FM charity arm Hot Cares.

Sam Cowen says, “The Mansfield in the Morning team have taken the concept of the 12 Labours of Hercules, however as Jeremy is now at the ripe old age of 56, we decided that he only needs to complete 10 tasks by the end of August to raise a total of R100 000.00 for our community”.

Would you like to get Jeremy to do absolutely anything your heart desires? Call in to Mansfield in the morning with R10 000.00!  SMS or email hotcares@hot919.co.za

For more information and to catch the hilarious Mansfield in the Morning team, tune into Hot 91.9FM.  Also available on DSTV 822 or stream on www.hot919.co.za


About Hot 91.9FM
Hot 91.9FM is a community radio station based in Northriding and broadcasting to Johannesburg North and surrounding areas.  Since its launch on the 17th of November 2014, Hot 91.9FM has managed to propel itself, with lightning speed, straight into a radio gap that existed in Gauteng.
Playing the best ‘Old Skool’ and R&B music, with the most popular radio personalities as well as the most spectacular on-air promotions and off-air presence, it’s been a thrilling journey of change for radio and the station, which is driving innovation and leading change in the industry. “HOT 91.9FM is about FUN radio with the purpose of making a meaningful difference in the lives of those around us,” says founder and station Managing Director, Lloyd Madurai.

2019 has seen Hot 91.9FM go down in the history of the Liberty Radio Awards as being the first station to win the coveted ‘Station of the Year’ award three years in a row. Having won 10 Liberty Radio Awards in 2017 and 10 in 2018, 2019 saw Hot 91.9FM scooping a whopping 12 awards. Lloyd Madurai, Managing Director and Founder of Hot 91.9FM is the youngest ever radio personality to be inducted into the Liberty Radio Awards Hall of Fame.



SHINE! 2019

Experience the stars of tomorrow, on stage today!


4 shows only!
The Teatro @ Montecasino
Friday 13th – Sunday 15th September 2019
BORN TO PERFORM’s SHINE! 2019 is less than a month away, with over 450 talented young artists hard at work in rehearsals, preparing to blow audiences away as they take to The Teatro’s stage at Montecasino from
Friday 13th  – Sunday 15th  September for just 4 shows only.

Be ready to be taken on a rollercoaster ride of fun and exhilaration while enjoying the astounding display of young talent in this year’s production of SHINE!.
But Born To Perform is SO much more than “just” an opportunity for audiences to witness the energy and passion of young South African talent as they set the stage alight during the 2-hour show. 
It is the culmination of many months (and years) of hard work, dedication of the artists and all those behind the scenes for the Joburg audiences to enjoy the end results of that hard work.

Born To Perform is also a place for young people to find their own journey through the Arts, giving them the opportunity for self-development and personal growth through their love and passion for the various performing arts genres.  
Says Creator/Director Gemma Marinus; “My passion in teaching and mentoring is always seeing my students succeed in what they love and finding confidence and growing as future professionals of our industry in 
doing so.”

She continues; “I am so proud that we have managed to play a small part in assisting these young people reaching their goals. We cannot wait for the audience to see them SHINE! in September and for them to enjoy how they have blossomed!”

Gemma’s  producing and creative partner, Bryan Schimmel, states; “SHINE was originally developed as a transformational performing arts experience for over 400 young people ranging from age 8 to 23.
The production delivered on massive entertainment value and had a profoundly emotional effect on the audiences who came to see it, so much so that Montecasino asked us to reproduce it for the Teatro.” 
Bryan continues; “Revisting the show has given us a chance to improve an an already powerful product and introduce elements that will take it up yet another level. 
We have some of the same young artists from last year and a whole bunch of fresh faces. 
Here are just a few highlights of what audiences can enjoy from BORN TO PERFORM’s SHINE! 2019 :
Yahto Kraft made a stir for his performance of his original track Ugly in the 2018 SHINE! Show. 
Since last year’s show, Yahto became a South African TV audience favourite in The Voice SA, reaching the Top 6.

Here’s a behind the scenes look into Yahto :  https://youtu.be/O8DHMMI4N4I

ZINAH (23)
Zinah has been busy non-stop since appearing as the face of Born To Perform and MC of the 2018 SHINE! show.
Her debut single Ever Been has been released and rising up the charts, with her music video featured on Trace.
She was recently offered an opportunity on EXPRESSO where she took the day being mentored on set to further her presenting aspirations.

Here’s that video of Zinah at Expresso for you to enjoy : https://youtu.be/KvTJBC13Lww
John’s performance of his orginal song Long Road in 2018 SHINE! was the showstopper number of the show. 
Since last year’s show, he has been been hard at work on his original music and has been gigging around Johannesburg as well as having been invited to perform in Gone Too Soon.
John will be releasing his debut single later in September.

Here’s a behind the scenes look into John :  https://youtu.be/x9_XcchGfNY
Philippa was a crowd favourite in 2018’s SHINE! Show, performing her orginal song Running Away.
Since last year’s show, Philippa was selected to perform in the The Abba Tribute Show, also touring around Australia, New Zealand and Canada. 
She will be releasing Running Away as a single following SHINE!.

Enjoy Philippa's performance of Running Away in 2018’s SHINE! https://youtu.be/jxHgHLLXZew

With material that includes songs from The Greatest Showman, Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, as well as Justin Timberlake, Prince and Mozart, entertainment value will be high. 
Added to this, there will be electrifying performances by The Voice SA Winner Craig Lucas and The Voice SA Finalist Thembeka Mnguni .
The show features a spectrum of musical and choreographic styles that will take the audience on a journey from pop to hip-hop, from ballet to rock ‘n roll to opera.
Exciting additions to this year’s line-up will be 20-year old Xae Memela (who reached Top 7 in Idols Season 14) and introducing upcoming artists Jamie Nell and Micah Stojakovicboth learners at Fourways High School.
The 450 young performers on stage will feature performances from Fourways High School, Mondeor High School, Curro Aurora – Sundowner and New Generation Pantsula Dancers from Alexandra.
Returning for another heart wrenching performance will be St Vincents School for the Deaf. 

This is nothing short of a celebration! From ages 8 – 80, this is ideal family entertainment like no other!

Says Bryan Schimmel; “Audiences who saw SHINE! last year will be knocked out at the development and growth of the young artists they saw previously. Audiences who missed it last year now have an opportunity to come and experience what all the rage is about.”
SHINE! 2019 is on stage for FOUR SHOWS ONLY at The Teatro at Montecasino:
Friday 13 September at 20h00
Saturday 14 September at 15h00 & 20h00 
Sunday 15 September at 15h00.

Tickets range from R180 – R320 and can be booked online at www.monteacsino.co.za or through Computicket.
Various Public Group Bookings and Tsogo Sun Rewards Discounts are available through Computicket.

Group School Bookings are available on request by emailing bookings@borntoperform.co.za .

Upon confirmation, Group School Bookings of 20 seats and more will receive the added benefit of a SHINE! Workshop delivered by Born To Perform, at their school.

A special performance made accessible for the deaf community will be taking place on Saturday 14th September at the 15h00 performance, with an on-stage signer. 
At this performance, audiences have access to the Opticon system for the hearing impaired. This facility is only available in specific seats within The Teatro, so bookings would need to be made directly with the Teatro Box Office on 011 510 7472.

Watch the advert for SHINE! 2019https://youtu.be/RhiF_Jb0WQQ

Follow Born to Perform on Social Media:
Instagram : borntoperform.world
YouTube: Born To Perform TV

SHINE! 2019 is produced by Born To Perform NPC,
Created & Directed by Gemma Marinus, Bryan Schimmel and Matthew Marinus with Design by Oliver Hauser.
With grateful thanks to Montecasino, Howard Audio, Gearhouse Splitbeam, The CoLab Network. Computicket, Kelsey Mastering and Justine Mac Photography.


This isn’t just a show; it’s a movement!


Wishing for an adventure but not sure where to start? Get to the Gauteng Getaway Show brought to you by Bosch Car Service. Taking place at the Ticketpro Dome from 4 to 6 October, the Getaway Show is your go-to place for all the inspiration and special offers you need to take your travel dreams to the next level.

Showcasing hundreds of exhibitors, including travel destinations, accommodation, outdoor gear, 4x4 products and accessories, motor homes, caravans and trailers, camping equipment and adventure operators, the Getaway Show is your one-stop-shop for adventure travel and is supported by Dunlop and Getaway Travel. With live music, a kids and toddler play area, market, adventure area, beer tent and more, it’s also a fun day out for the whole family. Don’t miss out on the chance to win

Tickets are on sale now from Quicket (https://qkt.io/getaway-2019at R80 for adults, R40 for scholars and pensioners, and free entry for kids 12 and under. By simply purchasing your ticket, you automatically stand a chance to win a week in Mauritius for two people, valued at R40 000.

Go to getaway.co.za for more info, follow the Getaway Show on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @getawayshow.

The 21st Spring Beer Festival We will Rock you This Year Brought to you by Stonehaven on Vaal and Windhoek Lager

Spring Beer Festival

The Spring Beer Festival is celebrating 21 years of great entertainment and 2019 will be no different. The Festival will take place at Stonehaven on Vaal on Saturday, 31 August 2019. A day and night of top live entertainment and you will experience an unrivalled assortment of culinary delights to tempt your eyes and stomach.

The Spring Beer Festival will feature some of South Africa’s top touring acts including The Parlotones, Fokof Polisiekar, Dan Patlansky, Matthew Mole and Jerry & The Bandits. There are a host of country food stalls with hearty helpings, a delightful selection of craft beers, plus one lucky visitor could win “beer for a year!”. Dave Hammond from IFM 102.2 will be your MC for the day so expect fun and games as well as a classic rock music set.
The fun does not stop there and festival goers are encouraged to join in on the festivities which include a Duck Race, Big Foam Pond, Slip and Slide, 23 Metre Giant Ride and of course the swimming pool for the kiddies to enjoy the start of Spring. Dress up, have fun and stand in line to win great prizes.

The Spring Beer Festival 2019 taking place on Saturday, 31 August 2019 at Stonehaven on Vaal – We will Rock You! Powered by IFM 102.2 and Synergy Production House


Adults                                                    🎟R120
Children 12 and under                      🎟R40

For more information check out: www.springbeerfestival.co.za