Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chicken Little and the Sky that Didn’t Fall

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,


stanburycarol said...

Great to hear of all your experiences! After that long airline trip, not getting in YOUR bed sounds exhausting. But, looking on the bright side really helps....Loved the blog!

Becca said...

It's sort of like being a pioneer isn't it?
I wish I could have seen your faces when you walked in and saw their stuff all over the place! lol

What does Casey think of the chickens?

Anonymous said...

I would like to know as well,

"What does Casey think of the chickens?"

This blog is such a great idea, just think after this adventure you will have it all documented from day 1! :)

Dale said...

China is definately not the USA. Your adventures have just begun and it sounds like you are up for the challenge. Have a great time.

ahagelthorn said...

Carol...what a great story. I really do understand exactly how you feel and what you are going through. In the Air Force I made so many moves it was mind numbing, I remember when our youngest son, he was 3 at the time (now 25) came into the living room and asked if were were moving (we had already moved five times in his young life) I said no and asked why he would think that, he grabbed my hand, walked me into his room and pointed at the cobwebs in the corner.

I have traveled the world, I have arrived at properties we have rented, and on more than one occasion turned right around and went to a hotel for a month...just think of the stories you will have to tell when you come home, and just think how much more grateful you will be for those little things we take for granted.

I wish I was there with you guys, if Ford needs a leadership consultant....let me know!

Your Friend always,


Glee said...

This is Cousin Glee posting for Carol(because several of us were curious about Casey meeting the chickens):

Hi Glee:
They never met! Casey was delayed by a day because of the holiday (tomb-sweeping) day and the chickens left the night before! The pen and coop remained until yesterday when the landlord came and disassemble it and put it along the side of the yard. So, there wasn't an encounter at all, just ALOT of sniffing! Something tells me that the chickens are just a slice of history now! - so glad I didn't name them!