One day five years ago, Adore suddenly heard a high-pitched meow outside her window. Knowing there was something wrong, she instantly went downstairs to check it out, but found nothing. However, the meow still went on in the next few days.
Desperate with anxiety, Adore continued her search again. She looked for it around at every flower bed, every piece of grass and every building nearby. Finally, Adore found a screaming cat at a semi-open dark basement with great efforts.
The newborn cat accidentally fell into the basement and couldn’t climb out of it. Adore immediately called on her boyfriend and a neighbor. The two got the cat out of the basement by making an upside-down human pyramid. The little cat was covered all over with mud and shivered uncontrollably. Adore decided to adopt the cat and named it Bessie.
Born in the Netherlands, Adore had worked in the United States for 12 years and in Australia for three years. She came to settle in Beijing 14 years ago.
Adore (L1 of the first row) takes a group photo with her students, who are the volunteers of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. [Photo provided by Adore/Qianlong]
Besides Bessie, Adore has also adopted another kitten and a pup and they all get along well with Adore. “I am an animal lover and I hate to see animals suffering. Someone told me that wild cats who are used to living outside are hard to be raised at home, but now you can see how comfortable they are here,” she said, pointing to the cat adopted after Bessie. “Now I won’t go on a business trip just because I want to take care of them at home.”
At present, Adore has an English training job in Beijing.
Over the past 14 years, she has been engaged in English training for staff of five-star hotels, large state-owned enterprises and world-class events. She has never accepted a job offer with fixed post due to her freedom-loving personality. “There are lots of training programs in Beijing, so I manage to choose a favorite one that suits me best in terms of time and place.”
Life provides many choices here, that is why she stays in Beijing.
Bessie is seen in Adore’s study room. [Photo by Dai Qi/Qianlong]
At weekends, she chooses to give English classes at home to Chinese children and teenagers among them, the youngest one is only four years old while the oldest one is over ten years old. Adore has various toys placed on a corner of her bookshelf, but her favorites are self-made ones. “Look, it took me a long time to make. Children are good at playing with them,” Adore showed me excitedly a set of “find the same” cards.
Adore encourages children to do things by themselves, release their nature instinct and be creative even if they just standing on a table. At the same time, she is also a serious teacher with thick lesson plans put on the table and teaching arrangements and schedules hung on the wall.
“I have traveled around the world and I hope to pass on my experience to children,” she said.
The “find the same” cards made by Adore. [Photo by Dai Qi/Qianlong]
There is an intricate “painting” hung on the wall in Adore’s living room. Among pink print flowers on the painting, there is a word, spelling “Adore.”
Adore introduced that during a mountain-climbing activity with her friends in Mentougou district, they found a waste hut. Adore went inside the hut out of curiosity. “My friends told me not to get in and it was not interesting at all. However, just on a mattress in the ruins, I found a pattern, which was right of my name!” Then she took a photo of it and made 18 copies after coming back to create the painting as such. “I think this is destiny!” she said excitedly.
It is the connection between Adore and the “painting”, and is roughly the tie linking her to Beijing.
Adore and her 12-year-old pet dog named Beibei in her arms. [Photo/Qianlong]
A mini-kitchen made by Adore. [Photo provided by Adore/Qianlong]