Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Home!

We finally moved into our new home on Monday!  It is large and nice and we are super blessed. 

Hopefully I can get some pictures up of it soon, but we're still working hard to get everything in order.  We still have no dressers so funny enough we are still living out of boxes and suitcases for a bit. 

Since we knew we would be be living in a temporary apartment for a bit when we first arrived, I packed everything we would immediately need into the last two suitcases.  That made opening our boxes from America super exciting.  None of us could quite remember what we had packed into them so discovering just what we had brought along was a lot of fun.

A few funny things were discovered.  I had managed to pack a charger to a remote control car we didn't end up bringing.  Lizbeth still has her 27 dresses, but I hadn't realized how many other clothes I packed for her too!  She probably has more clothes than any of us!

I had also forgotten where I had packed some things.  Nathan emptied a box halfway and discovered a bunch of toys at the bottom so handed it over to the kids.  A few minutes later Lizbeth came into my room.  "Mommy, I found one of's so pretty!"  I had forgotten I had packed some of my softer intimates in to cushion between toys!  Thankfully it was one of the more modest pieces and I was able to rescue the others before more questions were asked :-)

As for more about our new apartment, we are super spoiled here.  It was definitely worth the wait.  Although I dislike using landlord furniture (little room for the furniture we already own or the ability to pick out things we like) it has worked out in this case.  We have a side by side american style fridge (I've only seen one other ever in China, but I guess they're getting more popular), and an automatic hot water heater for the kitchen and a secondary tank hot water heater in the master bath.  We have a bathtub in the master and a shower in the extra bathroom.  There is an air conditioner unit in every room (also never heard of!) and a nice sized flat screen TV.  In addition to the clothes drying porch, we have second smaller enclosed porch off the kitchen.  The apartment is spacious and comfortable, and we even have an elevator!

It's good to finally be "home".

Saturday, July 18, 2015

11 Days In

We are still here.  We are still in the temporary apartment, but several other issues have been worked out.

5 days in I got phone service.
6 days in we got internet.
8 days in we got a bank account.

We still don't have an operating washing machine, oven, or microwave.  Since we don't know exactly how big our beds will be or what the color schemes will be, I have not yet purchased sheets, dishes, towels, curtains, ect.  We are currently using borrowed of almost everything and have not unpacked most of our boxes and suitcases.

Last night I was finally able to see the apartment we will most likely move into next week.  I actually really like it, and with some fixing up I think it will be great.  I'm super excited to be moving into our own home in the near future, and it helped a LOT to see it in person.

We are not living in the same area of town as we did before, which will require some adjustment.  New buses, new stores, new neighbors.  But there are pluses and minuses of both areas and we are looking forward to the good things of this area.  A major one is that it is half as far from the school, so Nathan is planning to ride his bike to and from work more.  Another is that it is right on the main  road that goes east and west in our city, right on a major bus stop, so getting around by bus is much easier.

The kids are okay.  Matthew is struggling with transition.  He misses America very much and keeps asking when we can go back to Nainai and Papa's house.  We have major meltdowns over very small things, and are working to give him more cuddles, quality time, and security where we can.  Lizbeth is doing well and is enjoying seeing her old friends, though I think she too is a bit stressed as she finds much joy in annoying her little brother!

I struggled a lot the first week with the many "lacks" (no phone, no internet, no oven, no dishes, no apartment, ect) but have had a very necessary attitude adjustment and am now moving a bit more with the flow of things.  Nathan is his steady self and seems to enjoy being back and going out and to work every day!  No more long hours in the basement :-)

Friends are trickling back into the city as their summer holidays end, so that is fun, and new staff has already begun arriving.  It's about to get busy!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Curious Minds

Traveling back with Matthew has been fun because he doesn't have much memory of our time here before.  Everything is new and curious to him, and his questions are endless.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Why do the cars park on the side walk?
Why is the toilet in the shower?
Why is the washing machine in the bathroom?
Why is there Chinese on my cereal box?
Do they have french fries?

Things are coming back to Lizbeth slowly.  She recognizes things in a more abstract way, will smile broadly at a face she remembers but not remember their name.  However, our first day back we had this conversation:

L: Mommy, it feels good to be back in China.  It feels...
Me: Familiar?
L: No, not exactly, it just feels like...
Me: Home?
L: No, just feels good.  Like I know this place.

I am starting to feel a bit out of sorts.  We knew they did not have an apartment ready for us, but were hoping it would just take a couple days.  We also thought if it did take longer we might have a part in picking one out.  Unfortunately, neither seems true.  They do have one, but it is going to be at least two weeks before we move in, leaving little time to get settled before school starts.  We're working to make where we're staying comfortable for the next couple weeks, but definitely don't feel like we can really unpack or even buy things.  It is a frustrating feeling to suddenly have so much time and not much to do.  We still don't have internet at our apartment (hopefully we will by the end of the day) and Nathan just got a phone.  Hopefully as these small things are taken care of we will feel more settled despite not being in our permanent home!

One last note, turns out Gmail is not currently working over here, so if you want to e-mail us, it is best to do so through our work addresses.  If you do not have these, please get them from one of our relatives :-)

Always something unexpected...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

We Are Here!

Well, we made it.  Almost exactly 24 hours door to door, but safe and sound and all our bags/boxes in tact!

We were super blessed along the way.  We weren't charged for our guitar, they even checked one of our heavier carryons for free for us, and all of our flights were on time.  As a super extra blessing, we happened to be on the same flight from Portland to Seattle as our pastor in Austin!  What a fun surprise.

We are in a temporary apartment while the school figures out exactly where we are going to live, and we're off and running today to get a few logistics in place and catch up with friends.  We should have more consistent internet in a couple days, and cell phones as well.

Thank you for all of your farewell blessings and care for us as we embark on the next chapter of our lives!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Family Time

Time is short.  We officially have our visas and plane tickets and are leaving in just over five days...

We are cramming as much into this time as we can, while packing and sorting and cleaning and shopping...boy I hate moving.

Two weeks ago we spent the day with my parents and sister, and went hiking up near Multnomah Falls.  Other than my mother, husband, and two kids abandoning the rest of us for a couple hours, the day was quite fun.