The last four weeks have been so busy and have absolutely flown by! It’s unbelievable that just two weeks ago we finished our first year teaching at Wellington. It has been a year of adventures, in and out of the classroom, and we have loved our experiences in China.
This is our first summer holiday not traveling home and around the world (sometimes literally). Sarah’s visit got the summer going and we have been non-stop since she has left. On Tuesday we got the keys to our new apartment, moved all our belongings on Wednesday, waited for new furniture to arrive Thursday and spent Friday and Saturday finishing all the unpacking.
Our decision to move is one that has come from a lot of discussions and contemplation. One of the greatest perks of being an international teacher is that accommodation is provided as a part of the package. Choosing to move away from an apartment that was given to us with no cost attached, as well as no responsibility for managing the utilities is something that not many people would do. Taking this step was a big risk on our part, but we are sure the rewards will out weigh the risks.
We began thinking about moving midway through the year as we realised a career in boarding was not for us. As we lived in the boarding house we knew that at anytime we may be asked to move to make room for boarding students or staff. Additionally as we have begun to explore Tianjin and are finding places we enjoy going to and wanted to be a bit closer to the action.
So we started our search in the heart of the city, Nanjing Lu. An agent (with very limited English) showed us a range of apartments. One Saturday afternoon we saw what was our original ideal place. It was a two bedroom spacious apartment, five minute walk from our favourite restaurants and near a metro station. At the other end of the spectrum we looked at apartments and communities we would never consider living in as they were in very remote areas of Tianjin. It was a long afternoon, we were ready to call it quits but Wang insisted we see one more place and we are so glad we did!
The last apartment was not in the location we had hoped for but it has great potential. It is part of a project that includes a Shang-ri-la hotel, shopping centre and three towers of residences. We have two bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a kitchen with an oven (very rare in China).
It was a bit of a mission to accomplish everything with our limited Chinese language. With the help of friends (Ying, Vicky and Sylvia), the Tianjin Kerry Centre staff, and very patient agent and landlords we have been able to accomplish so much (contracts, payments, internet service, furniture delivery, utility payments). There have been a lot of conversations had via WeChat, which allows both sides to type in our own language then translate, and my SayHi translator has been working over time.
All the hard work is finished (we hope) and now we can focus on making our new house a home!
(Still working on our VPN and posting from the iPad, more pictures coming soon!)