It has been a bit of a whirlwind as a whole week has already passed since we arrived. There have been moments that have felt like we had never left and others when we felt like everything is new.
On our first day, we tried walking at 10 in the morning. We were all dripping with sweat within a few minutes.
The biggest thing we have noticed is the heat! We had never been in the region in the middle of summer so the temperature was certainly a shock.
With the heat and a toddler we haven’t had much chance to explore the local area but we have been really pleased with what we have seen so far. We are currently living in a serviced two bedroom apartment (cleaning and linens replaced once a week) in The Pearl. Our living space is generous with a big kitchen, we have a balcony with a view of the marina. We are on the first and on the floor below has an indoor playroom, pools and gyms. We’ve been in the pool nearly everyday and have already seen an improvement in Little T’s skills in the water.
Mr T has been busy at work this week completing administrative tasks to apply for his residency permit, as well as starting planning for the start of school. The first day was a family day and we were able to tour the school and meet other families.
We’ve unpacked our three cases and are wondering what we will possibly do with the 40 boxes of shipping that will arrive in a few months! I have made a trip to IKEA for a few household essentials. It was a comfort to walk the familiar showroom floors but I did find some things were more expensive and they didn’t have everything I had expected to find. I have had to get creative for a toddler sized table, using the Latt side table and a wooden stool. It does the job and meals have been much more enjoyable with Little T at a table of his size.
Enjoying leftover nachos for lunch.
One of the things we looked forward to the most was the food and it has lived up to what we remembered! We have yet to begin really cooking at home and have been relying on food delivery service! We have had Arabic food three out of seven nights and it has been delicious. There is a Mexican place just below our building and we tried a rival to Fire on the Mountain called Lord of the Wings. Little T may take some time to warm up to the food, the first night we heard ‘yuck’ and ‘that’s not nice’ but a few days later he was enjoying a chicken sharwama.
Poolside snacking with bit of ‘yelmon ‘!
All in all it is a positive start. I am looking forward to life slowing down a bit so we can fall into a nice predictable routine.
When we moved into our apartment we decided that we only wanted it to be partially furnished, we asked the landlord to provide only a bed and a TV. This was mostly as we would rather have our cat damage our own property rather than anyone else’s, as well as just wanting to really make it our own. That said we have been doing a lot of shopping in the last few weeks. And as we are getting a bit older and starting to think it would be good if the things we buy last a bit longer it has not been a one-stop Ikea shop to fill this place, though today we hit the jackpot there! We have often discounted the rugs at as Ikea as we thought they were too expensive to be from Ikea. Today we had a long look at them and found a few that we really liked (and all were more affordable than the Muji rug we have been pining after). We decided to wait on it, but then as we passed though the ‘As Is’ department, we saw the rug we had liked for 60% off, all due to a small sticker and a few creases. In the spirit of saving money we went for it and are so pleased! It fits in the budget and leaves a bit extra for our dining table and chairs.
On the shelf
The damage warranting 60% off
A little bit of effort…
Beautiful! That is until Ravi has his way with it…
In Tianjin there are two choices for furniture (as far as we know, please comment if you know of other places!): Ikea and Macalline. Macalline being 5 floors of anything you could ever want when building or furnishing a home. It can be a bit overwhelming as it is so big (with many of the same pieces repeated again and again), but we were lucky to find a sofa and chair that we really love. Besides simply trying to find the right furniture we are weighing in the cost.
So we extended our search to Beijing, just looking the internet there was nothing that jumped out, but I kept coming across Gao Bei Dian. It is quite a way out from the city centre but definitely worth the trip. The 500m walk from the subway station was less than convincing as all that could be seen were car showrooms and construction sites, we were worried we had wasted a day in the sweltering summer heat, until we stumbled upon our first furniture shop. Which just happened to have a table we had been looking at online! We found all sorts of shops: beautiful showrooms with antiques and modern pieces, tiny spaces with tables piled a top each other, and small boutiques with elegant displays. It seems as though we had found the physcial stores for all the TaoBao shops we have been browsing the last few months. Despite finding what we had originally wanted we are now plagued with having to choose between several fantastic choices, and we are even considering the money saving option of an Ikea table.
Besides simply trying to find the right furniture we are weighing in the cost. We recognise that unique, quality furniture is going to have a higher price tag, however we are trying to be sensible and not break the bank. The last two days we have walked over 37,000 steps in search of… hopefully ten days on the beach can help us come to a decision.
As we are moving apartments next week, we had a bit of furniture shopping to do. We headed down to Ikea and also popped into Macalline next door. We were successful in finding a new sofa set and we also had a lot of fun taking in the atmosphere at Ikea. Much different than Ikea at home! That was the bulk of our day, after a rest we stopped by the river to check out the river cruise which we will do later in the week. We were then off to Wu Da Dao to some of our favourite places. First up dinner at In & Out, serving Yunan cuisine. And ending the night at Oscar House for some delicious cocktails. We delivered some Thatcher’s cider to our friends Tong and Hitomi, they loved it! One stop before home we collected some boxes from some co-workers and had a lovely visit with them. Another great day!