The First 48
We have made it! Alive, unpacking, and settling in slowly.
Fidlers snuck in on us and made some inroads at making our flat a home: photos in a frame for us, some flowers, some popcorn snacks and chocolate, peanut butter and honey and spices and the IKEA crib assembled for Rohan, and tea and coffee pots! There is nothing better than arriving somewhere and having friends-that-are-family there, ready, to help you with whatever you need. Adam and I are so, so happy to be back with them, and the new experiences Beijing has to offer.
We had a loooong Thursday that turned into a Friday, but we were met by people at the airport and got all our baggage and ourselves into cars and to the school, where we were shown to our flat and unloaded so we could unpack. Dinner was arranged (pizza!) and then I went out to one of the more upscale grocery stores on a school-arranged bus, and picked up some necessities. I had a moment of decision fatigue -after only 2 hours of sleep in 26 – and staring at shelves full of Things, especially Things I Didn’t Know I Had To Decide Between – and tried my hardest to pick whatever was on our right-away list that wouldn’t break the bank (and had the fewest choices to pick between).
The best part about Friday was having Fidlers come over from about 6:30 til 9pm. Also, showers. But I think Fidlers.
Saturday was a few sessions of settling in paperwork (e.g. internet, TV, SIM cards) and interviewing ayis. We are picked one for part-time to try for a month, 刘 ayi; she’ll do 4 hours/day including errands, shopping, some cleaning & some cooking & handling Rohan. Which will give me time to do some work for classes, and then I can wrangle him from noon onwards. Adam went to Auchan and did some shopping. We also had a hutong tour; a hutong is a traditional local neighbourhood in Beijing. A series of alleyways with walled houses (each with a private courtyard inside), any given unit could be actual residences OR could be restaurants, shops, what-have-you. Our area, Hegezhuang, is expected to become rather like the 798 district (398, I think?); they are doing a slow but steady remodeling, which includes rebuilding some of the old homes and rebuilding them in traditional style.
Sunday we went with Ashlea & Owen to IKEA, and then a mall across the street with Carrefour (a French grocery chain) that occupied virtually two entire floors… think your local big grocery store (or the food section of a Super Walmart) across two floors in a mall. It was… epic. Everyone came back to our place and we assembled furniture and made a hasty fried rice dinner (yum!) and then, after sending the Fidlers home, all promptly passed out.