Saturday, August 23, 2008

Settling In

We arrived safely and on time -- a mere 21 hours after we set out from Newton, MA! We spent 13 1/2 hours in a cocoon flying over the north poll. There were 9 seats across, each with an electronic babysitter to keep us controlled. We barely glanced out the window as we flew over bays I've never heard of and beautiful ice caps. That is a long time to be confined. (Note to self: Avoid chicken sandwich next time...) We were met at the airport by Ding Xiangshun, our faculty liaison, and a student. The came in a large van, ample room for the 8 checked bags we brought. (Our resolve to pack light did not hold....) Anna and I had our first exposure to Asian toilets at the parking garage of the airport. This will take some adjustments.... With one phone call (or text message?) Ding had another 3 students waiting for us at the building to help carry our luggage up to the apartment. With the tightened security because of the Olympics we needed to register at the foreigners office within 2 hours of arrival so Dings and I dropped Rick and the girls off at a restaurant and then went over to the registration office. This would have been impossible without his help! Another stop at a money machine and store and it was time to meet back at the apartment and REST. Jet lag has hit us each differently, so at any one time someone is asleep. Just found out that the wireless left by the past occupants works (bless them!). We would have written much earlier if we knew.

Our apartment is a 3 bedroom, fairly bright apartment on the 17th floor of a graduate student dorm. We'll definitely enjoy putting a personal touch on this home. Once we get settled we'll make a video and send it around.

Next steps:

- Find out how to get sheets. (When you are tired, they are not necessary!)

- How to turn on the hot water for showers.

- How to find the driver for our 9 am appointment tomorrow morning at the BISS school.

We were glad to bring a bag full of comfort food from home. It has helped to have familiar food around for this transition period.

Pre-Departure: Detritus

We were awash in a sea of “stuff” as we clean, sort and pack for our departure and prepare the house for rental. It was a perfect storm for clutter. Rick and I had married late (49 and 39), so we two households of stuff when we married. We, of course, culled only slightly when we married, instead putting boxes into the attic and basement. Add 14 years of marriage and 2 more children and two people with similar propensities to save and, voila, there were piles and piles of detritus. We embarked on archeological digs throughout the house, fully accepting that there is not going to be a biographer and perhaps we did not need to save everything. In the end we resorted to piling stuff into boxes and resolved that we will finish the project when we return. Our favorite found item: a lovely self-portrait that Julia had done when she was 8 years old.

No comments: