06.06.2013 - 27.06.2013 33 °C
My interactions with my Kindergarten prior to coming to China were minimal. I was hired by an outsourced agent, and all the information was passed to me through a few different forms of communication. Naturally things can get a bit confusing or lost in language, for the most part the campus is exactly as claimed. In retrospect I would have inquired more about the food we would be served daily, the exact stipulations of our contract and mostly our accommodations. The email outlining where we would live goes like this, 'you will be provided with accommodations at the school or an apartment within walking distance'. Cody and I had discussed that we would most likely choose the apartment not connected to school, I enjoy keeping home life separate from work life.
While on the airplane all I could think about was setting up our apartment, buying groceries at a new and baffling supermarket and purchasing a scooter to drive to school and learn the ins and outs of our new city. Night one we were taken to a nice hotel where we would rest our heads. The AC was blasting and the room was spotless- I was surprised and delighted by the western toilet seat, as I was not expecting that. In the morning we were escorted to our school to see the campus and meet the students. We thought that we would go see our accommodation options that day and choose where we would reside for the next 12 months. Promptly, we were rushed up 5 flights of stairs with all our worldly belongings and brought to the roof. 'Oh the pent house!"
As we round the corner I got a glimpse at where we had arrived, this is not the first time I have been at a loss for words in China. The pent house pent house, as we call it, is really special. There are 10 rooms on the roof, each about 225 square feet with zero furniture and two windows. The floor is cement, covered by rolled out linoleum that is haphazardly cut and placed on the ground. The ceiling is tin, which I enjoy listening to the rain, but does not fully connect to the walls, plenty of room for cockroaches to enter as they please. One shared bathroom for the pent house level has a single shower, 3 squat toilets and a trough for cleaning dishes, doing laundry and triples as a sink! Our saving grace is the beautiful loud AC unit placed over where our bed now sits below the single florescent light bulb. Oh, I should mention our Diamond Tri-Blade Fan, helps beat the heat.
It has been a little over 3 weeks since we moved in. Mid day our school gives us a two hour nap time at the peak of the days heat, we retreat to our space and wallow amongst the critters and rats. In the evenings a collection of cafeteria employees, teachers and security guards gather outside on school benches and little chairs to chat about the days events as the sun sets on the bustling city below. Sulis, the Indian day security guard, has made Cody and I fabulous Indian meals with only a crock pot and a butcher knife in his room, while the 4 youngest Chinese teachers bunk up in one room and giggle until late in the evening. Home, sweet, home.
This is not the setting I imagined on the plane coming here, nor is it ideal, but it is something amazing and unique. A melting pot of cultures stuck on top of a Kindergarten, shooing away pests and waiting for the water to turn back on so we can all rush to the shower. The dirt, the smells, the waiting, the heat are all a part of why Cody and I decided to come to China. This is what we wanted, we just didn't know it then.
With that said, one month is enough... we are looking at new apartments with pools and kitchens tomorrow (wish us luck).
Embrace the chaos.