1.02.2013

Neighborhood #2

If you want something, don't ask for nothing!
If you want nothing, don't ask for something!
--Arcade Fire


Neighborhood store
A room with a view

We have moved for the fourth time this year and for the second time in China.

Living in this apartment is much better than living in the dorm for the following reasons:
  1. Our own kitchen sink – In the dorm, after cooking one of us would walk down the hall with a tub of dirty dishes for cleaning in the shared kitchen. The term “kitchen” was a little misleading. The shared kitchen was nothing more than three sinks where the college girls dumped their dirty bowls filled with partially eaten meals. The dishes would fill the sinks and nobody cleaned them. You can imagine how the kitchen reeked as the food putrefied over time. Now, I cook and clean at the same time.  Our sink also has a hot water tank, so we can clean with hot water. So luxurious (really for China, hot water in the kitchen is luxurious!)
  2. A normal sized refrigerator with a freezer – Before, we would buy a bag of groceries and fill the mini-fridge. Then we would eat a meal, and have no food. No we can store more than a day’s worth of food.
  3. 24-hours hot water supply – In the dorm, my exercise schedule centered on whether I could shower afterward. Mostly, scheduled hot water gave me an excuse not to exercise.  Now I don’t have any excuses.
  4. Couch and table – A place for lounging and a place for working. What else can a person ask for?
At first inspection, the apartment seemed reasonably clean (except for the bathroom – pretty bad). But after moving in, the grime became a glaring plague for me. Hand prints all over the doors, grease build up on the stove top and kitchen walls, all the kitchen handles black with dirt and oil,  the originally white kitchen grout now black,  and the drapes brown with dust and cigarette smoke. Apparently, if a doorknob is never cleaned, the oil from multiple grabs eventually builds up to a black layer of grease (I am not exaggerating). My arms are sore from all the scrubbing. Also, after washing all the drapes and a month of living here, the cigarette smoke smell has finally faded.

Of course not having a maid means we are solely responsible for keeping the dust to a tolerable minimum. After one day, the dust accumulates to about what was a week’s worth back home in California. Oh well. As I say very often here, “没办法.” (méi bàn fă There is nothing to be done about it).

But it is HOME! And we love it.

Chinese word of the blog: 家里 jiālǐ
English translation: home

The living room - ( btw, that black and white thing that totally mismatches the wall (futon cover) has been replaced with a new, less obnoxious fabric choice)
The big kitchen makes up for the color of the cabinets. It looks like the Brady family used to live here.
Bought the duvet cover from our favorite place: IKEA!
Shower curtain also came from IKEA
Laundry room
Fine craftsman work - 没办法
First home-cooked meal WITHOUT a Chinese influence - chicken, barley and vegetable soup. I love having a kitchen.
Wok french toast - No, we did not have any maple syrup
Dinner and a movie - pork tenderloin (cooked in a wok), mashed garlic potatoes (found butter at the Korean market), and steamed broccoli. If I had some Parmesan cheese and bottle of Napa Valley red wine, I could have sworn I was in California