The First 2 Weeks
It has been a wonderful whirlwind, these first two weeks. Lots of meetings for Adam, but also Fidlers and exploration around the city.
Our apartment is still “made by IKEA” – I think everything except the stove and the in-bathroom heat lamps (… I feel like a lizard!) – came from there. We’re very happy we brought our Indian throw pillow covers with us, and our bedspreads; the apartment would look very bland without their pops of colour. We are finding things we want to pick up, day by day: clothes drying racks, tension rods for the closets, shelves, and maybe down the road a chance to nab some new furniture (a couple of chairs for the living room). We want to completely re-do Asha’s room and make it her + Rohan, but that may just have to wait until we can find out if the school can take the queen-sized bed out of that room and we can sub in an IKEA single bed.
There are lots of little shops around us, but getting out of the school compound with kids is tricky: we’re close to a subway station and two bus stops, but the scheduling makes it at least 45 minutes in one direction to go to Auchan, and more than an hour to places like Carrefour and IKEA, or the Bookworm (a Beijing English-language bookstore and expat gathering spot) and other places down near Sanlitun. Even getting to Jenny Lou’s by public transit takes over half an hour… and I have yet to try to deal with taxis or drivers, simply because of timing.
Asha is slowly settling into school; her first two days were somewhat rough so we only had her attend for half-days. She has her uniform, from shoes to dress to blazer – /and/ sport uniform /and/ swimsuit! – so we’re hoping that she settles in better after the weekend break. I am a proponent of uniforms for a few reasons, and immensely pleased we were able to do most of it through the Friends of Harrow secondhand shop. She has announced that “Mama needs school clothes!”, which we later got clarified to mean that she wants me to have a standard uniform, too. We’ll see what ends up happening, there.
We also connected with some old friends from Woodstock, the Husthwaites, over the weekend; they’re off on the other side of Beijing (almost literally). It was great to see them and to get some views of Beijing and life here from people who have been here for awhile, but not quite as long as Ash and Owen. Having different perspectives helps us balance the experiences we have, and set up well-aligned expectations.
Otherwise… it’s moving along slowly and steadily. House is coming together, we’re understanding how the metro system works, and where is best for what types of shopping and so on. Now that some of Adam’s banking situation is taken care of (oh, Bank of China…), we can start looking at using TaoBao and similar sites to handle filling in some of the blanks (like getting a printer) and deciding how to finish fleshing out the rest of the apartment to make it a little bit less “made by IKEA”. Next stop, though: framing photos and paintings we have and getting them up on the walls!