Well, we are finally in our new home.
Now I awake to the sound of bird song rather than traffic ‘hum’. I never thought that this could happen in the heart of Shanghai! I also look out onto trees from practically every window because there’s a communal garden to share with the other 6 families living here. Such pleasures don’t come without some difficulties of course: we had to frantically furnish the 2-floor apartment ourselves (a work in progress) and now we’re being confronted with the famous Chinese quality (or lack thereof) with 2 cupboard doors (newly renovated mind you) having fallen off already!
I had to make a visit to the local police station to register the family at our new address ….. 45 minutes later, we had our official temporary residence documents. With these documents we were able to visit the doctor and complete the school registration.
I also had to buy some items that we couldn’t send over in our shipment. Buying electrical appliances is complicated at the best of times, but with at least 4 sales people explaining in Mandarin the features of over 30 different vacuum cleaners it was pure confusion. Actually, many locals speak a local dialect which is really frustrating when I’m SURE that I’m using the right word and people look at me blankly… but that could also be due to my inability to produce the correct tone on the vowels (of which there are 4)
‘Shanghighs‘: Having my own kitchen equipment again after the arrival of our shipment and the children having their books, toys and bikes; Having enthusiastic interns from a toy company come to our garden with lots of water toys so that the kids could test them (a great source of entertainment if not a little bemusing for our Chinese neighbors); Meeting more sympathetic expatriates – all of whom assured me that my very mixed bag of emotions was completely normal for a newcomer in Shanghai especially in July-August when many people leave the city for the Summer.
‘Shanglows‘: Indeed, I’ve been feeling quite down these last few weeks …. I’m craving routine and a sense of being centered/grounded….. so over the coming week I aim to reintroduce a daily meditation practice into my life and to enjoy simply ‘being’ in my new home and garden. Other ‘lows: include the movers not reassembling the bikes very well and having a pedal fall off in the street, My husband losing a bag of items very dear to me (photo albums, CD’s, and perhaps most seriously a big jar of Vegemite), and the general disorder of moving into a new home.
‘Shangunusuals‘: The children were so happy that their ‘stuff’ arrived in the shipment from the US that they wore their rediscovered wooly hats at dinner time – despite Shanghai currently experiencing the hottest Summer for decades.