Adventures of Life in Beijing

What does home mean to you?  A place to rest your head, nourish your body and relax with your family? In Chinese, the character for home or family comes from the pictograph that symbolizes a roof over a pig.



I’m not sure why it’s depicted this way, perhaps because if you had a pig in your house and a roof over your head, you had food and shelter and life was good.

My concept of home has changed over time, from the security of my childhood home surrounded by family and furry friends on our farm, to the excitement of my first home-away-from-home, my college dorm where I met people who helped shape me into who I am today.

Now that I have my own family, home is  where we gather to pray before dinner, track my sons’ height on the garage wall (I stopped once theirs surpassed mine), light the candles on our Christmas tree and celebrate birthdays with homemade lemon bundt cake.

It’s the weird stains on the carpet from experiments gone wrong, shoes by the front door, crumbs on the placemats and half-full water glasses littering the counter (why do all of the other dishes make it into the dishwasher?)

A home lives and breathes the connections and love of the people who live in it. It’s more than food and shelter. It’s more than a roof over a pig. I think about these things as I get ready to head to Beijing next week to look for our new home.

Should we go for a house in the suburbs?


Or a high-rise apartment in the city center?

Sure, I’ll ask about square footage, count the outlets in the kitchen and check the air purification system, but  what I am really looking for is a place our family can thrive. We need an oven to fill our apartment with the smell of fresh baked cookies.

Cookies smell like home

We need space to  decompress with a good book, play music or just be alone for a bit. We need a table where we can gather, thanking God for this grand adventure and share a meal together. I would love a space large enough to host visitors from home (now taking reservations), welcome new friends and reconnect with team members who have gone before us.

I want  our home to be safe, comfortable and conveniently located, but that’s just the house. It’s the laughter, tears, frustrations, joys and memories that we will experience together behind those walls that will turn into a home. I can’t wait to find it. But please, no pig.

What makes your house a home? How did you know when you found the right one?

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss the next post: House Hunting in Beijing






Comments (1,315):

  1. Maggie

    April 26, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Praying you find a great home. Sure a high-rise apartment would be fun to have, specially if you never lived in one. But I don’t know if I am able to go back to live in the city. I think I am getting to old for that. And for me, I need to be close to my every day trips, like work, school, church. Oh, but I am sure God already picked the best place for you. Be blessed my friend!

  2. Natalie

    April 26, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    So excited to follow you throughout this journey, in this thing we call life! I will say that in the past 23 years I have lived in 2 countries, 8 states and 15 different residences. I never chose my home, my home chose my family. I would go into a home and have my mind set on the stainless steel appliances I HAD to have, the wood floors and berber carpet that were all a MUST, until my children would run into a room (of course, with the house that had NONE of those things) and say… “Mom, this is my room!” Without second guessing, I was sold! That is when I realized the white walls and awful tile were just the bones, but the love and personal touches that we brought into the home made it ours! The feeling of safety, that my children could walk in a bare room and imagine themselves on the window seat with their new friends, made it all the better. And that old white stove never bothered me again, when the baked cookie smell was still the same. Good Luck!!

  3. Kirsten Harrington

    April 27, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Thanks Natalie! You are so right. It’s about the feeling we get when we walk into a place not the place itself. I can’t wait to see which home will “speak to us” next week!

  4. Kirsten Harrington

    April 27, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you Maggie. I have no doubt that God goes ahead of us. And yes it would be super convenient if our daily trips weren’t too far – especially in Beijing traffic!

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