house adventures…once again

Hello Hel(sinki)

For now the European summer adventures are over and the big Chinese adventure is back on. Although, this time it did not feel that great as I was facing one struggle after another – guess this time it was real living rather than serviced apartment we had before. And this must be the longest time I’ve been without Internet for years as phone and Internet were some of the issues that did not work… I am so glad to be back online – guess I am a little bit a net addict too (and have a local phone that does not allow me to call abroad!).

Blue wings

After flying overnight we arrived to our new home at 7am on Tuesday morning and i was quite worried how extensive the damage from the July floods were – we got a bunch of machine whirring around the house drying the walls – and a not-so-nice musty smell. But at least we have a house standing on a more positive note!

To my horror the phone and Internet were not working, not was our club membership (think of hot weather and whiny kids asking when they can go swimming every 5 minutes), no food in the house, still no microwave or working oven, mosquito netting missing, tap water smelling like sewage, oh the list goes on. And upon arrival one needs to register locally, with the police, then with the central police…so much work! Not to talk about unpacking all those boxes and finding the most needed items (still haven’t found my Chinese phrase book and sign language only takes you so far!).

ready for decor

“Big, empty rooms waiting for decor. I love the idea of extra-high ceilings in the living room”

On day 2 upon arrival from running these errands the house had no electricity! How I missed the lovely western system where you get billed and sent reminder letters if you have not paid. Here you have to pay in advance, and once your credit runs out, the electricity stops too. The same with water and other utilities. You have to pay your bills using a little card and a payment machine where you buy credits (all in Chinese should I add. Then you take this card to a little machine at home, which gives you a number of units and starts a countdown towards zero balance again. I see now why people have all those helpers in the house as otherwise you are always without something and have no idea how to do these things! I guess I am lucky I didn’t run out of electricity late in the evening as I didn’t even have any candles (no lighter made it here from US though) or torches available. We would have had to settle to the little headlight on my Kindle reader…

I also noted that house here needs a good amount of cleaning as dust keeps coming in quick – The first day I spent 3 hours looking for the central vac and then realising that not all vacuum points worked. It was a case back to the old-fashioned broom until the system was fixed. But let’s not just moan – the tiny garden has been tended well every day and the weather has been just the best. I warned the kids that the Finnish blue sky was going to be just a memory, but surprise – we have had amazing blue sky here already three days: definitely a record in my books!

Some furniture!
This is it, the furnished house just had these pieces and some TVs, so the big project is starting: the Project Furnish the House!

So greetings again from China and from our almost unpacked, but oh so empty house. We are heading to the furniture store now and start the big decorating project for real. I just wish I could find my previous notes from the furniture hunt I did back in May and June… Anyway, the lessons learned here were that one needs to find the right contacts and you get service even outside the standard office house (the lovely Internet guy came even though he had finished his day hours before) and one better learn some Chinese quick. I am calling today finally a language to enroll in addition to my home studies!

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