My apartment… waiting for the heating..

It’s end of October now, that means I have been here in Beijing now for more than 3 months. It feels short and it feels long at the same time…

I am (still) enjoying it fully: every day is a little adventure, I feel like a child discovering the world. 🙂 I totally love China!!

I have been in my new apartment now since 5 weeks, I moved in right after my Europe trip. Here are a few photos for you:

And today (…ta taaaa!!) is THE day when I think all will be finally arranged and fixed as it was supposed to be! Yes, it took a little while, but one thing that you learn very quickly here in China: everything takes time! So becoming impatient does not serve anybody – and definitely not yourself! Or like the good old German saying: “Gut Ding will Weile haben” (= things need time to be done well!), with the little difference that things here in China, even after some time, are not always done well… but at least at some point they are done haha! 😉

So this weekend a worker came over, yesterday and today: 1) to hang up 3 lamps on the ceiling; and 2) to install a little channel in my bathroom, from the shower to the drain under the sink, in order to avoid the water floating my bathroom each time I shower. Yes, I do have a channel now in my apartment (my Chinese girlfriends think that it is hilariously funny!).

What is still missing are my boxes from Montreal… even if they have arrived at the airport in Beijing, they are not through customs yet: the (very annoying!) reason is that they want to tax me on everything, ridiculous! so I am protesting, waiting for an answer. Crossing fingers, because it’s quite an amount of money that they want from me… 🙁

My building is in a little side-street, a dead-end, which makes it really calm.

But it means as well that nobody can find it, especially no delivery guy… my best story so far was the Ikea delivery (yes, there is Ikea in China! very popular, especially as a meeting point for Chinese to meet with their friends on the weekend…..): so when the delivery guy called on my mobile phone one night, to deliver my mattress, well, obviously I could not tell him where he needs to go to… after a few sentences from his side that I did not understand, and a few English words from my side that he did not understand, I heard that someone was outside my door, walking up the stairs. I rushed out of my apartment, to run into this woman and pass on my phone to her… her very first reaction was a WTF-face, but then she took my phone and ended up talking to the driver to explain to him the way. She made me then understand that if he calls again, I could knock on her door (she lives exactly next door) for her to speak with him once again (he did call again after 20min). She was so lovely, she even wrote down her name and phone number for me on a piece of paper. LiuHua does not speak a word of English. But she was extremely helpful, with a nice smile for me on top of all. People are most of the time really lovely 🙂 Except taxi drivers who can be real jerks… that’s maybe why the first thing that you learn is how to talk with the taxi driver 😉

I know some of you want to send me some mail – which is a great idea, and I love it!! even if I am not 100% sure if I will receive it. The main issue is that there are letterboxes downstairs, next to the entrance. But I don’t know so far which one is mine, neither do I have a key for it. At the same time there is one next to my door. But I am not sure yet which number I am living in: the rumour goes that I am living in no.5. In my lease it says that I am living in ‘Room No.205’. Though I have changed this now in my address to No.203 according to the number at my bell downstairs (it definitely rings at 203). Though, whatever is written in the different places, it might just come back to the postman who I’ll need to meet one day. Have met right on my first day our housekeeper: Mr.Zhu is 85 years old and has lived in this building for 50 years. He has invited me to come over into his living room, and told me (through my friend Doris who was with me) that whatever problem I have: I can come to see him! 🙂 So now I just need to learn Chinese so that I can talk with him!!

This is my building seen from my neighbour’s balcony:

Life in Beijing is still going well. It’s becoming cold now, we were down to about 2 degrees the other night. I am waiting every day if my heating starts off…. yes, China is all about central heating. And “Central Heating” means here in China that someone at the government decides that “today is the day” to turn on the heating for the winter season. It normally happens on November 15. Though because I am living in the diplomats area (even if my building is not a diplomat compound), we are supposed to get heating 1 month earlier than everyone else. But today, no heating, still. Trying to find out why, or if there is any problem with my heating system, I was told now that actually “there is no fixed date”. The government ‘follows’ the temperature, and at some point someone decides to turn it on. I hope that it will happen soon. My landlord had told me that during winter it is very hot in the apartment – because heating means ‘on’ or ‘off’, there is apparently no ‘in-between’ – so I have bought only a thin, light quilt… So here I am waiting for the heating! 🙂 In the meantime though, with the help of my lovely Chinese teacher LiDan, I managed to turn on the A/C heat – works perfectly well once you have understood which (Chinese written) button to push on the command control.


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