Week 6: Fully moved in.

Trip Start Aug 05, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

Flag of China  , Jiangsu,
Friday, September 11, 2009

Hi Guys,
So been another crazy busy week that feels way longer than 7 days. In fact last weekend seems forever ago. I moved in on the Saturday morning. Wasn't the best move in the world, Chinese are not famed for their customer service, too many others can take your place, so I was moved in, given keys and then as I asked questions she literally ran away. Literally!!! I was chasing the woman, so I have still yet to find where the bins are, and had to work out where my gym card is issued from with swimming motions and lost looks! So felt all a bit overwhelmed and lost, had a small loss of composure and realised I was homesick...    for Poland. Sorry UK, guess I've got kind of used to not being there everyday but Poland was my home for the past few years. Still, time difference meant there was no point looking for sympathy so I dusted myself off and got on with it and the day got better and better from there. 

My apartment is on the 15th Floor of a 6 block complex near the Jing'An temple (if you're at all curious) and instantly it feels heaps better than being in the hotel. There are loads of little eating places and real life happening around and about. My living room looks onto a kind of small local slum (but not so bad, just a bit run down brick buildings, roofs with holes, etc) which is fascinating on my way to work as the edge has bascially a mini street market. Eels thrashing around without heads, loads of weird and wonderful vegetables and people in their pyjama's (ooooh discovered why, when somebody is really poor they have 1 set of clothes, so for people to have seperate clothes to sleep in marked them out as better class so people took to wearing them outside as proof. It's kind of continued for the older generation, have to say looks bloomin' comfortable and I'm quite tempted to join them!. I have a great little dough shop for breakfast nearby and the metro is about a 15min walk. My neighbours moved in the same day, family of about 7 people I think and they leave their door open all day long so I get to be extra nosey and say Ni Hao! as I pass. The daughter is learning the piano so I'm sat here typing this to some concerto, not bad at all. 

I was also visited by the Satellite TV Man. China has this crazy system. Satellite Tv and Pirated DVD's are obviously illegal so of course you get a legal man come to install the illegal sat TV and DVD Shops sell only pirated DVD's and you can even return them and get your money back if they are not good enough quality. It is totally legitimized and a blind eye turned. You can't buy a normal DVD here, I have yet to find a shop so you have no choice. 
Saturday night I was invited out by Katie and Nev from upstairs and a few of their friends. Went to a local chinese place and had the usual feast. The  Chinese always like to eat in big groups and always with lots of dishes that everybody shares on the large spinning round tables. We had loads of food, beers and came away with change from 3quid so definitely no longer in the tourist area! Ate my first thousand year egg (preserved in clay, ash, salt and lime for months til the white turns orange jelly and the yolk is black and gross!). Then we headed onto a bar that has recently opening in crawling distance from the apartment. Had a great night, even learnt Chinese drinking games not to mention how they choose who starts. So we have eeny meeny miny mo, etc they instead on the count of three have to show their hands in the middle, palm up or palm down (palm up = white, palm down = black). White, black ,white, black, whichever group has the least showing then go into a huddle and do it again until the group is reduced to 3 or less people. Then you play paper scissors stones. Most illogical - took about 10 minutes to ever choose who started something!!! Still, did mean I got to make a brilliant chicken (really don't ask, have a feeling the rum made it funny!)

This week has been interesting with work, had a day of market research on Wednesday, piecing together insights from our days out meeting the consumers, then in the evening we heading off to Suzhou again for teambuilding with senior and middle management. Interesting!! Definitely lots of challenges ahead but I think we have a great leader so should be exciting although the 2 days themselves were pretty frustrating at times, wouldn't say we came away with a sense of optimisim. The hotel was OMG amazing. I could throw a party in my shower room alone and the view from the room was stunning. A lake as far as the eye could see. Gorgeous. Discovered my natural affinity for Filipinos and we hung out for an evening having a giggle.

Tomorrow is my first Chinese lesson, buying a bike, hopefully doing some sport and going out for some drinks in the evening. Zai Jian!

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