Well, I’m back but not sure for how long! It has certainly been a learning experience in alternative technology these past several weeks! We now have a router with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) , which will hopefully help us connect a bit better with the internet here. There are so many things that we take for granted in our online world that are blocked in China! We also had to get a new computer because everything Google is blocked as well! (I brought a Google Chrome book).
Our small four-room apartment is very comfortable and seems to fit us just right. The furnishings are sparse – we had to buy a dining room table since the apts. don’t have dining rooms because of the cafeteria offered to all teachers. Nor do we have full kitchens. Ours is a hallway with an RV size refrigerator, a sink and about two feet of counter space. No oven or stove.
We have been attending a church about two blocks outside of the campus where we have the opportunity to meet many students. So far I’ve formed a small group of Senior girls who all meet on Tuesday evenings. It has been a true blessing to get to know these ladies and I would just ask for your thoughts and prayers for them. There are five in all and we meet at our place – around our new dining room table! It is customary here for the Seniors to leave school and find work after the winter break. So they will not be here for much longer.
Eric is busy with his classes. He has a couple classes that are considered the low level English speakers so that is a bit of a struggle but he goes in with a great deal of courage and a whole lot of humor! You can be thinking of him as he gets his bearings and settles into this life of teaching and living on a campus! SO different from what we have been used to in the states!
After about 30 hours of travel we arrived at Sias, our final destination! The eight of us and our “mounds” of luggage took up two large vans which we are told is pretty normal for our size caravan! We arrived at the front door of our future homes at around 1:00 AM, leaving most of the luggage in the front lobby for the next day. We all ended up on the fourth floor but in different buildings both of which are connected to the front lobby which also holds the Bridge Cafe. Ben, Nikki and kids are in a 3-bedroom flat while Eric and I have a 2-bedroom. OUR building has a working elevator – Ben and Nikki’s does not.
We were all pretty excited that first day and were up early for breakfast which is served at 7:00 AM every morning. By the end of the day though, at dinner time which is 6:00 PM, Jet Lag had set in – as the picture above shows!
The training classes for the teachers have begun. That leaves me with a lot of time on my hands. Our apartment needs some serious updating and painting, etc. so once we figure out how to get the material I will be busy getting our home put together. Before and after pictures to come in the future!
As promised (sort of) the first entry to my blog for all of our friends and family! It is 1:30 AM the morning of our travels to China. Can’t sleep, a little anxiety, but mostly very excited to begin this new adventure. We are at a hotel near Denver International Airport where we have scheduled a shuttle for 4:30 AM to get us to the airport by 5:00 AM. We have been assured that the shuttle/bus is sufficient to carry all of our mounds of luggage along with four little people and four not-so-little-people! We will take up the whole bus.
Our travels will be taking us through the Seattle Airport later this morning (hello Tri City Friends!!!) and then on to a 12 to 14 hr flight to Beijing where we will gather up those mounds of luggage and trudge through customs – then on to Zheng Zhou, getting in at about 11:00 PM, where we will be met by someone from the school and driven on to Xin Zhen where we will finally land in our respective apartments!! Whew!
I don’t know when you will hear from me next. It will depend on how savvy I am in getting all of this technology up and running in China. If you would like to hear from me again you can simply click on the link at the right to sign up. I hope to keep these posts short and sweet and as soon as I figure this all out I will be posting pictures as well!