Thursday, August 7, 2008 ;
Tianjin, here we come!
The short form for Tianjin is "tj", like for their websites and companies. So for me, it sounds like my blog was created for a mom in tj. haha. And my kids are tj coming to tj.
We just got here, and am busy settling down now. Again it is a totally new experience, with some culture shock, and a steep learning curve. Why so, I will slowly elaborate.
Anyway, we will need to buy a lot of things, even simple ones like spoons, toilet paper, trash bin...
We also need to settle banking, schooling, apartment tenancy and other official matters.
The flight here was alright, despite trying out a new airline to us. The service at the Xiamen and Tianjin airport was extremely pleasant. There were people who offered to carry our luggage, who watched our kids, and ushered us to the front of the queue because we had young kids, and who pushed our luggage trolley from inside the airport right out to the taxi queue. When Dh and I tried to tip them, they refused and said it is part of their job.
Tianjin is an industrial and commercial city, so it is modern and yet very polluted. The air quality is poor and there seems to be a perpetual haze. However, the people are very friendly, and so far, I have had good experiences dealing with them.
The apartment we rented has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. At about 150m2, it is bigger than our flat in Jurong but smaller than the little house in Utah. However, because it is still quite empty now as we haven't bought much, it looks really big and spacious. The kids have been playing badminton in the house, and running up and down the living room like nobody's business.
Because we also do not have a coffee table between the TV and the couch, there is also a big space there for them to wrestle and piggyback each other. They've been rolling around on the floor too.
Only thing is, many of the stuff in the apt are not working well. The landlady hasn't been renting it out for awhile, and the previous occupants did not inform her, it seems. So the washing machine, gas stove, master bedroom toilet sink, common toilet drainage etc all have to be replaced or repaired. Yesterday and today, there are a whole stream of workers and repairmen coming in and out of the apt.
Poor us. We have been eating take-aways or Macs. Our kind friend H (Malaysian who came here because of her hubby's work) has been making us mantou and dinner too. And then, I couldn't wash any dirty laundry, so we've been piling it up indeed.
I've also had brand new experience shopping at the local wet market. A big eye-opener. I have never bought eggs by choosing them from a whole stack singly. The eggs look fresh out of the hen, full of dung and drippy yolk. Some eggs are broken or cracked, so the gooey albumen and all flowed onto other eggs. So we just pick any number we want (freedom of choice- cos i can just buy one if i want), place in a paper bag, then he'll tell me how much.
I bought some xiaobaicai, carrots, potatoes, garlic, onions, ginger etc. Total bill came up to 20RMB (S$4). Wow, not bad!
H has a car and she brought me to 2 supermarkets over the 2 days too, to buy basic stuff. I realised that other stuff are expensive. Boon Lay market for example, would have cheaper stuff of the same quality. I used to think all the kids toys and even those China-made bicycles would be really cheap here, but no, they are not. So it doesn't mean that if it is made-in-China, you get it really cheap here. Sigh, so with the limited amount of money we brought over, we had to prioritise and buy only the very urgent stuff and choose the cheapest of everything.
So I bought only 2 spoons, 2 forks, (no knife, because I had a plastic disposable one from the Xiamen airlines we took)... Bought 2 very cheap pillows, so now the kids share one, me and Dh share one. We also decided we'll eat our meals at separate times, because we have so few spoons. haha.
Waiting now, for Dh's pay to start coming in, and for savings to build up, then we can slowly get more things to make life more normal. H also lent us pillows and cutlery, thanks so much to her. Her transport to and fro places and her advice on what to do in many situations here were also invaluable.
This Friday evening, at 8pm, we have made an appointment already. They'll come over to watch the Olympics opening ceremony with us. H will bake her own pizza and make chicken wings. The kids can play together. Her 2 ds are 5 and 7 yrs old. It'll be so fun, our first "party-like gathering" here.
Ooh, by the way, our landlady is really nice. She agreed to change all the stuff we found faulty. Not only that, she is moving to Chengdu, so she is giving us some of her stuff too. I am looking forward to that, hopefully I don't have to buy much.
She also bought a huge bouquet of lilies to welcome us and stocked our fridge with water and coke. haha.
The TV is huge too. I have never owned such a huge TV set. haha. the kids are spoilt. they are the ones who watch the most TV these 2 days because Dh and I have been running around buying things, unpacking and so on.
Will take some pics to post once we get settled!
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow