It’s been nearly four weeks since we moved into our apartment and it is finally starting to feel like home.
Some of you might know we were stranded in an empty apartment for about a week when the news finally came that our container was ready to be delivered (read our post Vorfreude). The pessimist that I am, I of course had various scenarios in my head about what could go wrong as I did not fully believe this to be true. Said worst case scenarios ranged from the delivery truck breaking down on the highway on the way here to the truck rolling down a hill and all our boxes and furniture falling into some lake. (Yes, I did take a Creative Writing course in school, in case you were wondering.) Of course I was reprimanded by Stephan and told to just for once believe in the good in this world. Hence the ring of the doorbell at 10:00am sharp was like music in my ears. “Maybe I should start trusting…” went through my head. A troop of supermen were waiting to move our stuff in. After having protected the walls and floor the first boxes were carried in. Strange, I thought, as I saw the first boxes arrive. They did not look like the boxes we had packed back home, these were of a different color. Trying to ignore the alarm bells in my head I thought that perhaps some boxes were damaged along the way and were repacked at customs. I am supposed to believe in the good, right? But when a piano, African bush drums and a xylophone suddenly stood in our living room, the world came shattering down. These were not our things (although I would have kept the piano!) and when I told the supervisor that these must be the wrong boxes, his only answer was “Are you sure?”. I’ve never been so sure in my life, especially after seeing that the boxes were labelled “Family Bakir”. I had smelled blood and was ready to kill someone…anyone…thankfully the knives were all in the boxes, which were probably on their way to Family Bakir. The first call to the relocation company resulted in the unnerving answer of “we are trying to find your boxes”. In that time all instruments were collected and the supermen left for their lunch break, as there was nothing else they could do at that moment. Three hours later the joyous thumping of boxes being heaved into the apartment. Yes, this time the name on the boxes actually matched! And the unpacking began…
All in all everything went well…if you close your eye to the fact that the furniture was not fully assembled and lights not properly hung, nearly crashing down on us. Reason was the movers had to leave at 4pm sharp because the city of Beijing allocates specific time slots to trucks during which they can drive. Luckily a friend and neighbor had some tools, which I gratefully borrowed. Opening drawers and cupboards without handles was just too time consuming and I did not want to wait another week for the movers to come back to fix things and complete their task. Also, it was a quick-fix as the movers had actually placed all the corresponding handles on the respective furniture pieces…
Our next challenge with the apartment was to try and get the heating system to work. Marble floors have the tendency to become really cold, which is not a great experience when it is -15°C outside. Two visits from the state heating company revealed that the water pipes were not turned on for the heating system and that the degree was set to something ridiculously low. No wonder our landlord willingly agreed to cover our heating cost.
Once that was fixed, another mystery was why the bedroom had Sub-Saharan temperatures when the heater was not even turned on. This should have been an easy one for me, seeing everything is f*%&ed up here. I should have just imagined the wackiest scenario, which would have been the solution. Turns out the heater control panel in the guest room at the other end of the apartment controls the temperature in the master bedroom and vice versa. Welcome to China, is all I can say.
One more thing we are still adjusting to is that our kitchen has exactly one drawer at knee-height into which we can place our cutlery and cooking utensils. I guess this is sufficient for a regular Chinese family that needs storage space for only 6 pairs of chopsticks and 6 soup spoons, but definitely not enough when you have forks, spoons, knives, teaspoons, steak knives etc. Our cutlery is now distributed throughout the kitchen in random cupboards and we just have to remember to look in places we normally would not when we need a can opener, spatula or whisk.
With only three more boxes to unpack, some plants to be bought and our pictures to be hung up, we finally have a place we can call refuge, oh, I meant to say we finally have a place we can call home! 😉