The beginning

B’s school had it all planned out so all the new teachers would arrive in the country on the same day, be picked up at the airport, delivered to their apartments and assigned a Chinese colleague to spend that day and the next showing them around and helping them get stuff set up. We missed all of that arriving about 21 hours later than we were supposed to.  Luckily we were still going to be met at the airport, transported by the school and eventually shown around.  We were arriving on a Friday, late in the afternoon, so we weren’t sure just how soon it would all happen.  

Lloyd, a Chinese man in his 20s met us at the airport holding a sign with B’s name on it.  He got us on the bus, helped load our luggage and handed us all water bottles.  He told us a bit about Beijing as we drove (about an hour).  We passed the Olympic “Bird’s Nest” stadium.  He helped us unload our luggage and get it up to our apartment with the help of another Chinese colleague.  Our apartment already had the WIFI set up, the electricity and water is deducted from B’s paycheck each month, it’s partially furnished plus some extra things (a crib/toddler bed, shelving, vacuum, etc.) that we purchased from the previous resident.  There was a pile of food on the table (several loaves of bread from a “French” bakery we later discovered around the corner, a bag of pasta and some spaghetti sauce, French Moon Cakes, and some other goodies). We kept ourselves up until 8 or 9pm China time and crashed.  Squirt woke at 2 AM and was awake for good.  I stayed up with him for a few hours and then Brandon relieved me.  We actually all adjusted to the time change really well.  I think the crazy sleeping/flying to get here helped in that respect.  On the second night Squirt slept until 3 or 4.  Then 5.  Then 7 and that’s a normal time to wake up so we’ve stuck with it.

20140822_071241Upon arrival, a double/standard bed and a twin bed were set up in one bedroom so Buddy and Little Guy shared (still share) a bed and Princess Sparkley slept in the twin in their room the first night until we got around to moving it to its new room.

We spent Saturday, August 23 unpacking and then finally ventured out to find a grocery store (and a McDonald’s).

20140822_205515Our living room as we keep the kids entertained while we unpack.


DSCN6958The boys building Legos in their new room.



The fourth bedroom is set up like an office with a desk and a wall of bookshelves.



Princess Sparkley voted to stay roommate with Squirt and keep the office as an office/playroom.  We’ve now removed most of the contact paper from her windows.


Another shot of PS and Squirt’s room taken from the window area.



The master bedroom.



The kitchen. It’s tiny but we have an oven which I wasn’t expecting.



Another shot of the living room taken from another angle (in front of the window).



The living room.



The boys eating breakfast.  They are eating bean paste bread from a French bakery called the Auspicious Phoenix.




This is the view as you walk in the door.  The living room is to the left, the hallway at the top of the picture is PS/Squirt’s room straight ahead and B and my room to the right.  The other door on the right is the kitchen, next to B and my bedroom.



Just as you come in the door there is a “hallway” to the right.  This is a utility closet, washing machine (no dryer) and bathroom with a shower.  There is also a bathroom (with shower/tub) off the boys’ room).



Our building.  We live on the 5th floor corner.  When we arrived, students weren’t showing up for another week and campus was under construction.  Our building got a new facade and all the interior hallways, etc. were painted. The roads were dug up and there was dust everywhere.  The basement and first floor of our building at the student cafeteria and a student store (sort of a convenience store with some school supplies).


Once we were mostly unpacked, we explored our neighborhood a little finding a grocery store and a McDonald’s where we could eat dinner.





Buddy says this looks exactly like a Lego City street sign.


The people at B’s school refer to this as the Alley Market.  It’s a bunch of vendors selling a variety of goods and services.



The kids were handed balloons as a part of some promotion.


DSCN6955B’s building.  It’s sort of the exact opposite side of campus (maybe a 5 minute walk) from our apartment.


DSCN6954The gate to B’s campus.  You can see our scaffolding covered building in the distance.


DSCN6956This is walking toward our building through B’s campus.

The construction was crazy.  Hundreds of Chinese men, mostly older, do a lot of the work manually (where in the States, it would have all been one machine doing the job while 12 guys watched.  Here it was 30 guys doing the work themselves.


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