|Chickens in their courtyard pen|
The delay in obtaining a place to call our own in Nanjing was at first frustrating, but like anything else, once it’s over it doesn’t seem nearly as horrifying and a lot less important! Our landlords had lived in this 10 year old villa/condo since it was built with their daughter, Chén yì jūn.
Their objective was to move closer to her school near the city center. After all, as their only child, she was the center of their universe. Although the landlord and our realtor knew we were arriving and moving in on April 1st, they were far from ready. As we arrived with our 5 bags of luggage that would get us through the next 4 weeks, it was clear that there was “no room in the inn” for the Johnsons. Cupboard contents had exploded on to floors and surfaces. There was buzzing about and an expectation that we would move in amongst their stuff and call this our home. That was NOT going to happen, said Gordon, and I full-heartedly agreed. There were promises that it would happen the following day, but just having done lots of packing and purging in Michigan, we knew better. They were days away from being ready. Even the chickens were still in the courtyard pen.
|Chicken, unnamed and angry|
Instead of Friday, we moved in late Sunday night to a bed with fresh sheets and our own shower. They still bustled about for the next 3 days, non-stop. The end result is a furnished villa, our 5 suitcases and 2 chickens in a pen. The chickens will be on the chopping block shortly – literally. I’ve tried not to be my nurturing self and name them.
If you’ve ever camped you know what it takes to make a place feel like home – you need to take the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing, make it portable and make it work in a new space. We’re doing just that. The sky has not caved in without fresh ground coffee beans, we have eaten more rice in a week than we’ve had in 3 months, and we are limping along without FaceBook access or access to this blog. Our “air shipment” arrives within 2 more weeks, we hope. It is in Shanghai in Customs, awaiting two red stamps of approval. (Every legal document must have two and they must be red.) Once delivered, we then await our “sea shipment” which could take up to 10 more weeks. Other expatriates tell me that it will feel like Christmas when that happens. And like a child, I can’t wait!
There is a front-loading centrifugal washer, but no drier. Everything is hung outside. I’ve done two loads so far and, well, let’s just say I was a child in the 1950’s when this was the norm. At that time I didn’t do anything but run through the sheets on the clothesline in the sunshine and get yelled at for doing so. I reaped the benefit of sweet smelling outdoor sheets as I was tucked in by my parents that night. China laundry learning lessons are probably necessary and I suppose I could master it. Running through the sheets in the sunshine portrays a lot more fun, doesn’t it? I could farm out the laundry to willing domestic help. Not a tough choice at the price they will charge me, I hear.
So there you have my first report, the China sky has not fallen! So we move forward with rice in our tummies, clean sheets and two unnamed chickens.
Best to you All,