That’s a thought that has entered my mind more than a couple of times in the past 12 hours. But more than that, I’ve thought that I’ve done a good thing…
Greetings from Suzhou, China – my new home. The flight over was wonderful – though the food was ordinary, the video screen at my seat was too dim so I couldn’t see many movies (but can say that Clash of the Titans was crap – what I saw of it), and little miss Arlo declared a boycott on sleep. She wasn’t one of those annoying, wailing kids, she was just more interested in seeing what was going on. She dozed off for what would have been THE sleep just as we descended through the thick layer of Shanghai smog. Then she became one of those annoying, wailing kids, which turned out to be just the ticket for getting us through immigration at a lightening pace. We got to go through the “special traveler” line instead of standing in a queue with the rest of the plane’s passengers. We then had a driver waiting for us and we crammed all our belongings into a tiny car (so much for being told we’d have a van waiting for us) and drove the two hours to our new home.
We were in bed by 11.00 pm and up early the next day to go for a stroll around the neighbourhood. That lasted about 30 minutes too long when we realised how hot it was outside. We knew Suzhou was in the middle of a heatwave, we just didn’t expect the temperature to be in the mid thirties at 8.00 am. Arlo doesn’t cope with heat so well. Actually, she probably does, but she didn’t look like she was enjoying it. She sweats a lot, her face goes red, and she’s just not got the energy to do anything. It broke my heart, so we came home without seeing anything (and coffee was really what we were looking for).
Later that morning we were picked up and taken to the school Geoff will be teaching at. To say we (and especially he) were impressed would be a huge understatement. I’ll leave Geoff to rave about it if he wants, but I’ll just say he’s VERY excited to be working there. In the afternoon we got a tour of town, mainly to show us where all the services we would need are – Walmart, Auchan (a French supermarket that sells absolutely everything you could want), banks, health centres, shopping centres, etc.) and were then dropped off at home.
Home. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but is really quite nice inside. It still needs us to turn it into home, but we’re really happy with what we have. Though we will need to make an IKEA or an Auchan run fairly soon. Behold:
We’re on the 17th floor. I’m not sure why there is no water in the pond that runs through the grounds (there are ten or more buildings in the complex we are in, ours is one of the two tallest) – maybe it’s because it’s summer and all the water has evaporated – leaving the fish to congregate in a drain at the bottom of the picture!!
OK, am having trouble uploading the rest of the pictures and am now typing one-handed. This post has already been two days in the making, so I’ll hit publish now and be back later to continue…