Limits & frustrations, we both have them…

The week since we moved in has been a busy one, although I am trying to figure out where my time has actually gone.

We’ve done yet another trip to Ikea to get bits and pieces for the apartment (feeling a bit more like a home) and some exploring on the weekend…and I’ve done lots of exercise.

Our trip to Ikea was pretty good, other than Joel losing patience with other patrons and wanting to push them along with his umbrella (don’t worry, he didn’t). We had a boy help us with translations at our check-out (his mother was very proud), we managed to sort out delivery of a chair (difficult with only knowing our address in English) and we managed to find a taxi to take us back to the apartment (very difficult to get a taxi to stop for us unfortunately).

Exploring included a few more markets and Beijing Lu, a big shopping street that has excavations under plexiglass of the original street from ancient times. We also found “framing street” and “hardware street” (house hardwares such as door handles, taps, toilets etc). These are all great spots for tourists to see…I am already planning my day trips with visitors.

Somehow Joel convinced me to watch rugby at a pub on Saturday night. Fortunately another couple joined so I didn’t have to hear Joel complain, cheer or yell during the game, it was Dan’s job. It was our first time on Bar Street, which is exactly what it sounds like. Heaps and heaps of bars and restaurants with a mix of Westerners and locals. It was big and busy and not somewhere I would frequent on a Saturday night but still, it was another experience (also trying to get the taxi to stop at the right spot was also an experience. We really need to learn the basic directional vocabulary…)

We have a lot more exploring to do in this area-I have been busy socially so I haven’t even had time to just walk about and see it all. I know where the metro stations are and that is all that matters for me. I also know how to get a taxi-the taxi knowing where to go, however, is not always going to happen. This is actually pretty common, not sure if the driver really doesn’t know the markets we want to go to or the fare is too small….either way it’s frustrating. When/if my Chinese gets better it will be easier to work out these situations.

The fitness challenge also takes up a lot of time. But it is also getting me out and socialising. I have met a lot more people from all over the world and it’s been super fun. Joel is now on an incidental diet as I am cooking my meals. Luckily he is easy going and happy to eat whatever is cooked for him. The challenge of this challenge is finding the foods. Dairy is not easy to get-yogurt, milk, cottage cheese-and expensive when I do find it. All those products are imported. There are Chinese products but it is no recommended to consume those. And even if they are available in the local shops, it is not consistent. All challenges. Keeps me on my toes and always searching for the perfect food.

And finally, Joel has come around and agreed that we made the right decision. He is very happy with the move here. Other than my happiness, which means a lot, he enjoys the apartment feel of this place and we are both utilising the balconies daily, whether is it coffee in the morning or a cocktail at happy hour, we sit outside at least once a day. I am going to start planning my herb garden for a balcony and set up some flower pots on another.

The biggest benefit to moving here means a pet. I am obsessed with any and all animals here-there are quite a few dogs and cats in the apartments and even two little cats at a restaurant below us (I say hello to them every time I walk by and try to give them a pet). We have agreed to try fostering dogs and and I will volunteer with an animal welfare group. This means I will be posting lots of pictures of dogs. I apologise in advance. But this will be good for me as I need another outlet and I love animals. Great combination.

As for our life here, we are slowly getting into routine. We are settling in and hopefully getting our shipment in the near future. I realise that I haven’t been giving any real stories on what life is really like here. It is mainly about me, not about the cultural differences of living here or daily challenges. As I get into more routines and keep the blog going, I will try to focus on the little bits of differences I experience, there are so many that I may be getting overwhelmed by it all and forgetting that it is actually interesting to those not in the middle of it (I hit my limit of being out and about on Saturday after 2.5 hours and it was hit when a woman was holding her baby on Beijing Lu while he tried to have a poo…THAT is something no one needs to see or experience but it happens here, a lot. And I thought it was a legitimate reason to need to go back home to my bubble).

This is life in GZ…love it or hate it, this is what it is.

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