Saturday morning, whew! Yesterday about killed me. But now I am moved into my apartment and I have internet. About the apartment--I am in building #1 which looks like Soviet era building style but it was actually built in the 1980s. It is considered the best apartments for foreigners according to the user booklet that comes with the apartment. While listening to George Benson on my little netbook Pepe, I read that I am an advanced visiting scholar. This apartment is reserved for full professors (PhD) and Cheryl!
The apartment has five rooms plus an entry and a sun porch. It has windows facing on three sides. I can sit in my sitting room, 12x12, and enjoy hongcha, black tea, with Nestle creamer as the sun rises red between apartment buildings. Immediately below is the hutong, a neighborhood of old, brick, one-story, single-family dwellings, and lots of trees, bare of leaves now. Birds are chirping and it is 39-degrees at 9am.
The sitting room, besides having two comfy Chinese armchairs with elaborate wooden arms, styled like arts and crafts style, has a small dining table with several chairs and a small refrigerator. The floor throughout is white, stone tile. The small kitchen is more of a kitchenette style with a stainless steel sink, gas range with two burners, counters, cabinets, microwave and a nice view to the north, more hutong, trees and the university buildings farther off. The little bathroom with a western style toilet shares space with a miniature washer/dryer unit that does it all automated. There is a television with cable and a landline phone in the bedroom. The apartment is about 670 square feet.
I don't know what this costs since is comes as part of my compensation package. I am very happy about my new home, even if it is on the fifth floor--no elevator. It is very clean and has fresh paint. The university has taken great pains to ensure my comfort and happiness.
Today I'm having my first dinner party, a kind of pot luck picnic. I met some expats in my building, a Norwegian man involved in architecture and an American woman in the School of Economics who had adopted a Chinese girl who attends the local campus elementary school of 3,000 students!! Another American man from the Psychology Department with his daughter, and a gal on a PhD fellowship in anthropological economics and her Venezuelan husband rounded out the guest list.
The Norwegian brought a big bottle of Chinese firewater, baijiu, a kind of fruity/flowery 200 proof tequila. The others brought French toast with cinnamon, pound cake with caomei, strawberries, and melon. Cheryl made coleslaw from fresh veggies from the indoor farmers' market in the shopping mall near my apartment. The family folks reluctantly left early but the rest of us stayed up late discussing the world and Chinese politics: Obama, Mao, and Aiji, Egypt, with Edith Piaf playing in the background.
Hui tou jian