Thursday, May 7, 2015

Domestic Life in China

This was originally sent as a letter to Family on  May 7, 2015:

Well we are settling in to our life here. So this letter is not exciting adventures, it is about our day to day living. So in this letter, we have many pictures of our house. This is especially for Gudrun who in our last three houses has asked us for pictures and we never got around to sending any. Well here they are of our home for the next year.

The company has provided us with a nice house all to our selves. So here is the front view of Villa #3:

Not very Chinese as It looks much like a typical small house in the western US - but that's the whole idea here. The view from the back makes it look much bigger but the downstairs/basement is mostly empty space and storage.

The shaded deck will be great in the heat of summer as it can get up to 40 degrees here. But I don't know if we'll have the deck to ourselves. The Chinese don't have the same concept of personal space and private property as we do and they feel free to walk on and use any deck that is nearby. There was a construction project going on across the road from us and some of the workers would take their tea breaks up on our deck, making use of the outdoor chairs and table we have set up out there. We soon got used to that, but yesterday we where surprised when a whole Chinese family came up on our deck, looking about (including looking in through the windows). The big surprise was when the 5 year old boy opened up our front door and walked right in. Of course we couldn't communicate very well and the family started to leave. Then they came back, opened the door again and took pictures of the 5 year old boy with me. Probably we were the first Caucasians he had ever seen.

So, what they saw inside our house was the living room:


 And the Kitchen:

In the past week we were involved in some workshops and in helping to host the opening of a new "family house" in the "Western Town" of Jackson Hole. It was the May Day national holiday which is the second biggest holiday of the year. Since this year May 1 was a Friday, it became a long weekend and Jackson Hole was full of weekend residents and visitors. The big empty street in Western town that I showed last letter was full of hundreds of people milling about the events and booths that were set up for the festivities. Unfortunately I had a camera glitch and lost all photos from that weekend.

Now we have a day off and are doing Laundry. This time of year drying clothes outside is pretty quick - winter will not be so easy.

Fortunately we have a little washing machine that we wheel into the bathroom and connect to the water tap so we don't have to hand wash as we had to do everywhere else when visiting China before. 

Here is our bedroom, complete with cowboy theme on the bed:

On the other side of the bedroom is a surprisingly large closet

And for the final house picture. Downstairs is mostly empty space where the company stores spare materials. But there is a spare bedroom:

So if you come to visit we have a place for you. Also there is lots of floor space downstairs where we could put a foam mattress for another visitor to sleep.

From our front window we can see these ducks (edit: geese actually) which are usually in the water, but this day they are walking about on the shore:

One day we went for a walk up "Hollywood Road" to "Beverly Hills" a new subdivision that is mostly still under construction. just to the right of the hills in the background are the famous caves we visited when we fist got here. We hear that there are more caves up at the end of Hollywood road - one day we'll  take our bicycles further up the road to take have a look:

Yesterday was errand day so we took a 1/2 hour taxi drive into Yanqing to get supplies. Here is the market street where we stock up on fresh fruit:

The next stop was Walmart. Yes that's right there's even a Walmart. It seems crazy to shop at Walmart in China but the fact is, its the easiest place to find almost everything we need to start setting up our house. Since it is almost impossible to find someone who speaks English, one big store with everything is a big help. 

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