Sunday, June 22 2014
(The apartment doesn’t have WiFi yet, so this post will probably only see the light of day when I get into the office tomorrow)
Today has been, like most other days, incredibly tiring, and for good reason. A lot of things happened: Brady and I finally checked out of the hotel and caught a cab to the apartment which we’ll be renting for the rest of the summer. It’s really near Lenovo (20 minutes by foot, and 5 minutes by bicycle), which will be a great convenience for us. Dragging two suitcases each and carrying a backpack and assorted sundry items, we made our way to our apartment building, where a middle-aged man let us into the room and showed us how to work the various appliances (the stove, the water heater, air-conditioning, TV) while we waited around for the landlady. While waiting, Brady and I RPS-ed (rock-paper-scissor-ed?) for the bigger and brighter room, and I unfortunately lost 😦 But, we’ll be switching rooms for fairness in 5 weeks (since we’re splitting the rent equally), and in the meantime I’m going to make my room real comfy. After about half an hour, the landlady finally showed up and drew up a simple agreement (all in Chinese) on the rent and amenities, and that was when I signed my first lease… in Chinese! I definitely did not expect that ‘first’ to turn out this way, but it’s a pleasant surprise.
After the landlady left, we unpacked a little and did a load of laundry, before heading to a nearby supermarket, where we picked up a…
- Pan (urgh this gave us so much grief — some brilliant pan manufacturer decided to paste the brand label right at the bottom of the pan, and of course it would leave a sticky gummy residue behind when we peeled the label off. We had to scrub for ages to get it off!)
- Chopping board
- Air freshener
- Kitchen cleaner
- Small rag
- Clothes hangers
Realizing we didn’t have enough cash for bedding too, we headed back to the apartment, where we put down our purchases, hung out our laundry, put in another load of laundry, and headed back out again for lunch and Round 2 of household supplies shopping. Lunch was cheap and simple, and I foresee us eating there quite a bit in the future — as it was a really hot day, I got a beer, since it was only 5 RMB/less than 1 USD. 2 mistakes there: 1) Germany has totally spoiled me; it’s going to be hard to enjoy mediocre beer now, 2) I was expecting a smallish bottle when I ordered, but it turns out they only carried the bigger standard-size bottle of >500mL. Brady doesn’t drink, so it was all mine, oh joy.
Round 2: we got our sheets and blankets, and stocked up on some food. Unfortunately, once we got back from the supermarket, we realized that our refrigerator wasn’t working. After texting and calling our landlady to no avail, we decided to get to know our neighbors by asking them if we could please store our yoghurt, ham, and frozen dumplings in their fridge for one day. They’re a middle-aged couple, and were very pleasant and agreed to help us; Brady practiced his Mandarin by introducing himself and asking for our neighbor’s name.
That settled, we swept and mopped and wiped down the entire apartment, and managed to get it to a pretty decent state, yay! Fixed ourselves dinner (… I need to get used to the fact that gas stoves are much stronger than hot plates), got our refrigerator diagnosed and temporarily fixed, and finally, retired to our rooms for the night. I’m exhausted and aching all over.
Also, I’m pretty sure everyone who saw us running around on these errands thought that we were a couple who had just moved in together. My landlady asked us if we were friends or dating, and I confirmed that we were just friends. But alright, it’s hard for me to blame them, and I guess I should be thankful when people seek to clarify rather than simply assuming.
Being able to laugh about it helps too — Brady likes to tell people that we’re moving into our new apartment soon, and then jokingly append ‘and we have a baby on the way too’. On our way back from Round 2, I turned to Brady and exclaimed dreamily, “Brady! Our first apartment!” Response: “We’re going to make such great parents!” Like he’s said, it’s as if this summer is ‘equal parts living in China, working at Lenovo, … and being married to Kylie’. Likewise, my friend, likewise. While we wouldn’t make a great couple, I’m pretty sure we’ll grow to be great flatmates, and we’re lucky that we both love musicals and show tunes, so hooray for that 🙂
As 2 Product Design majors sharing an apartment, I’m pretty sure we’ll have developed a lot of interesting hacks for the apartment over these 3 months. Hack #1: the apartment didn’t come with a trashcan, and so our trashcan is an inverted stool with a plastic bag hung securely from two of its legs. We’re now saving all the plastic bags we get from the supermarket. Hack #2: The supermarket didn’t stock pillows, so for now our pillows are bundles of clothes. Mine is a real piece of work — I basically took my down jacket, inverted it and folded the hood down, lay other items of winter clothing on the back, and zipped it up. In case you’re wondering, it took:
- 3 sweaters
- 2 pairs of leggings
- 1 scarf
to get to a pretty decent pillow-shaped pillow 🙂 Hack #3 is in the works, as we basically need to build a low wall for our shower to prevent water from getting everywhere. Hack #4… who knows? We also have 2 pieces of cardboard backing from our bedsheets, and I have my exacto knives and am ready to start building 😀
At any rate, I feel super accomplished with all that Brady and I’ve managed to accomplish today, and I’m proud of our lil’ apartment. It really looks like people are living in here now, what with our hacked trashcan, laundry hanging, foodstuffs chilling on the counter, etc. It feels like we are taking yet another step towards, well, the rest of our lives. Towards growing up and living more independently 🙂
This post reminded me of all the laundry that we’ve done today, and that I still have another load in the washer waiting to be run once my hangers are freed up, which reminds me that I should probably wake up early to run that cycle. Ciao!