Home Away from Home by Emily

We left on Friday morning at 8am and arrived Saturday night at 9pm. There is a 13 hour time difference from Macomb. We flew from Orlando to Detroit, then from Detroit to Beijing, then on to Hangzhou.  On the plane I watched as many movies as my emotions could handle, laughing in one, then feeling despair in another and going to the bathroom in between to help me shake off one mood and prepare for another.  When asked prior to our leaving what he was looking forward to in China, Sumner would say, “Only the plane ride.”  Like me, he was in movie utopia.

In utter exhaustion we arrived, stepping out of the airport into heat that felt like a sultry swamp, a jungle by the equator, the Sahara desert, a sauna, a steam room and as though I were suffocating under a hundred electric blankets.  One of the students who picked us up said it had been 106 degrees, and that that was a record for Hangzhou.  “Get me back inside!” I thought. I had told friends that Hangzhou’s latitude is the same as our home in Illinois. I was wrong. Tim said it is equivalent to Jacksonville, FL.  I looked on the world map and the latitude is also similar to Delhi, India and Cairo, Egypt.  I am assured that it is lovely in the fall, winter and spring.  Meanwhile, look for me inside by the air conditioner.

Our apartment building is behind a concrete wall with a metal gate that locks at night. The building, a dingy gray, is so-so looking.

We use a sensor button on our key chain to get in and out of the building.  Our apartment is one of eight and we are on the second floor.  The university that is hosting us provided our furnished apartment.

I like the layout of our apartment. From the entranceway I can look into all 4 rooms. Two are on the right and two are on the left. There are two bedrooms with baths. A third room is a living area, and the last room is the kitchen.

A bedroom that Sumner and Zoe share.

The kitchen
We have a 1/2 frig and freezer the same size, a microwave and a hot plate. The small washer beside the sink reminds me that I have no excuse for not washing clothes — it is right there. There is no dryer. I hang clothes in the bathroom to dry.

Here is my “stove and oven.” Until I figured out how to use the hot plate, I burned two pans. And there were two burnt pans in the cupboards when we arrived. Looks like I’m not the only one who has had adjustment issues!

From the kitchen sink I look out at a banana seller’s home and the garage from which he and his family work.

This is where we spend a lot of our time. The kids’ school furnished the kids and myself (since I’m teaching part-time) with MAC computers. How many laptops do you count — and one is missing. Yes, that’s a Starbuck’s coffee cup on the table. We find our loves, don’t we, whenever we can.


Bonuses of our apartment:
–We have a cheap, cheap, cheap restaurant downstairs (the 4 of us have eaten for as little as $4-5 total)
–We spend a lot of “together time” as there’s not many places to go inside our apartment (well, this is sometimes a bonus and sometimes just a plain challenge).
–There’s not much space to clean. Love that!


6 thoughts on “Home Away from Home by Emily

  1. Thanks for the look into your new lifestyle. So are you able to use the hot plate as an oven also? I’m not familiar with them either. Adjustments = Discoveries increases your creativity! Have you guys been able to find a church?

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