We have been here nearly a month and I’ve not updated this blog yet. Not because I don’t have the time (trust me, this is a resource now available to me in abundance) but more because nothing “exciting” and “special” has happened yet, or so I think. But it seems like there are a few of you out there interested in everyday living, no matter how trivial, so here goes:
I like to classify days into “Good”, “Bad” and “Ugly”. Well actually, the “Bad Days” should be called “Mediocre Days” as it seems unfair to have a scale with more negative measures than positive.
A “Good Day” starts with waking up at 6am and having breakfast together, followed by a coffee and some quality time with a good book. Then it’s off to Chinese class where my teacher pushes me to my limits for the next two hours straight. Exhausted and starving I head home, nourish my spent gray brain cells and then miraculously find the motivation to sit at the table for another 2 hours to review a few of the many thousand Chinese characters there are. Just to feel like a living person and not like a statue etched into stone there are days I then haul my sorry butt to the gym. While on the threadmill I crank up the music, focus on one point and then beam myself to some tropical beach or mountain top…until my Wolf Breath (Remember the children’s story where the Big Bad Wolf goes “I will huff and puff and blow your house down!”?) comes along and I then tread back up to our apartment to perform my duties as a good wife and have dinner on the table by the time Stephan comes home. On the other two days I don’t have Chinese class I make it a point to go to a yoga class, meet with a friend for coffee, get the groceries done at the local market or walk around and explore the neighborhood a little. Not to forget: I personally don’t feel like morphing into this expat monster who moves around only in taxis and outsources every domestic help possible. So a chunk of my days are spent walking immense distances to/from the subway and other buildings as well as getting some housework and laundry done, which isn’t easy and takes ages when you’re stuck with an ironing board out of a doll house (barely reaching your thigh) and an iron which could pass as a kid’s toy. It doesn’t sound like much, I’m fully aware of that, but miraculously the days go by.
A “Mediocre Day” is like a “Good Day” with just way more free time sprinkled into it. Those are days where laziness overcomes me and if with a good book I’m to be found on the sofa with mugs and mugs of tea. Without a real task or mission (Chinese class, yoga, groceries etc.) it does feel like in a time warp. Those days also leave me with time to figure out and plan our next vacation as well as put more thought into our wedding celebration next summer, although I do have to admit I’ve been procrastinating that specific task. The mere thought of having to decide on theme colors, flowers and the whole shebang leads to instantaneous migraines…
“Ugly Days” are indeed ugly. Those are the days where the air pollution is over 300 (healthy standard according to the WHO is 50), you’re torn between staying at home and letting the pollution control your life or you brace the pollution with a mask and consequently feel like suffocating as it takes getting used to breathing through a mask. “Ugly Days” are when you’re stoked of having landed a job interview as an English tutor, you meander your way through town and arrive at the “school” ( more like one of those deserted buildings you see in horror movies where bodies vanish into thin air) just to find out the person interviewing you speaks only Chinese and the previous conversations via mail or WeChat were just translated into English. “Ugly Days” are when you are woken at 4.45am by the bus drivers across the street who are just starting their shift and deem it logical and necessary to start it with a loud and long honking. “Ugly Days” are also when you come back from the market with all the ingredients to make an oven-baked dish just to remember that your current apartment does not have an oven but a single pan. On those days I’m happy my passport is still at the immigration or whichever other department it is right now, as I would surely have already booked the next flight out. The only thing that helps is to remind myself that we are still not fully settled (apartment still pending etc.) and that these are all First World Problems. All these little hiccups are worth the fact that we are not exposed to a long distance relationship…..right? 😉