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Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home


Life in China is finally beginning to take shape though as I establish a regular routine at work and home. After work everyday, I come home to my little apartment a few blocks away on the 28th floor and unwind with a book in my bed or TV.

Here it is!

It's one loft-style open floor plan with a kitchen and bathroom off the main room. It came pretty much furnished with a coffee table, bed frame, dresser, night stand, desk, refrigerator, and washing machine. Many of the things here are not quite the same though...

Night one was pretty rough; when we moved in there was no padding at all on the bed and I didn't realize that my 'air conditioner', as they called it, also doubled as a heater. So the first night I huddled under my covers on a pretty uncomfortable wooden frame, but I was just happy to finally be in China and it didn't damper my spirits at all.

There was not as much provided as I originally thought so I've had to spend a lot of money the first month on random things to clean my apartment, things for cooking, hangers, clothes lines (no one has a drier here), etc. But I think I've got just about everything I need so now I'm looking forward to spending some money on things to make my apartment a little more comfortable. Maybe a plant or something, I haven't quite decided yet.

Debating getting a pet...I'll keep you all posted.

My kitchen is my favorite place in the house. It's the perfect size and it's pretty easy to keep clean considering I've only got one bowl, a spoon, a pot, a pan, and a handful of chopsticks.

I also don't cook very much because 1) the food here is SO amazing and my culinary skills are definitely not refined, but also 2) it's so cheap to eat on the street or in a small restaurant here! Our favorite street foods, 'malatong' and 'shaokao', cost us roughly ¥15 which is maybe $2.50 for two people. And it's really filling. Hard to say no to that...

I'll do a post specifically about food later because that's a very long story; there's a lot to say and a lot of pictures need to be taken to do it justice. Last thing about the kitchen, having to boil all your water before you drink it or wash vegetables with it is pretty damn frustrating and makes me really appreciate the water back in Oregon. Especially when you wake up or come home and are dying of thirst and hot. Then you realize you haven't boiled any so you have to wait for it to finish and then it's not even cold. Kind of disappointing but obviously not a significant challenge.  Plus you can easily buy water in bulk, but I'm really just too cheap and figure I should never have to pay for water.

My bathroom is arguably my least favorite place in the house, but who ever really has a strong attachment to that place? My shower is more or less right on top of my toilet which is the traditional 'squat' toilet that you find in China. I'm going to be honest, the squat toilet has not been a hard adjustment at all.

Until today I didn't have hot water in my place because I didn't realize you had to pay in advance for gas where as water and electricity you pay for after the fact. Again, the utilities subject deserves it's own post because I've got some funny stories there.... The shower's pretty straight forward though except that I recently broke off the shower head and now have to figure out how to fix it.

Finally, my washer is in my bathroom and took me a good three weeks to figure out how to use it. You have to fill it manually from the shower head and make sure the detergent dissolves before putting the clothes in otherwise there's white powder left all over your clothes. And the whole thing is in Chinese which forced me to learn vocab like 'spin cycle' and 'pre-wash', but hey, now I can work at a laundromat someday here.

But even the challenges--which seem to be concentrated in the bathroom--are worth it for this view alone. I mean seriously, 28 floors up, look at this. And this isn't even a clear day. When the smog lightens up a bit you can see the mountains that rim the whole city to the West and I get a pretty great red sunset out my window in the evenings.

I've completely fallen in love with the city here. The people are great, I love the sound of the cars and buses and street vendors trying to sell you cheap purses and questionable food. Every day something unexpected happens which makes each day memorable and challenging. I've had an incredibly easy time adjusting to life here so far!



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