Saturday, July 27, 2013


Go ahead and google that translation. And have a mini panic attack with me.

We arrived safely to Suzhou a few days ago and have managed to get a lot done! Our flight was incredibly easy (direct from Detroit to Shanghai), our baggage arrived safely and we didn't lose any pieces, we powered through the flight and didn't sleep so we would be sleepy in time for China's evening. We met our driver with relatively little problem and arrived in Suzhou by 6:00 in the evening to meet our representative from the University and be taken to our apartment (it's so dusty, but we're working our way through cleaning still). She helped us get SIM cards for phones, we found a small market to buy pillows and sheets, along with some fruit and a weird pastry for breakfast. The following day we walked way too far with 101 degree 9:00 am temps, saw the university library and Dushu Lake. We met up with another professor who lives in the next building over, who helped us get in touch with our landlord to figure out the internet situation in our apartment, and our VPN is working great to gain access to our US websites (Blogger included!). We also met up with the musicology professor, who called the university driver and took us to a big (like Walmart, but tripled) supermarket to buy household essentials. We did dinner and plenty of talking, the driver's English is limited, as is my Mandarin, so the musicologist did a great job of translating back and forth and we had a lot of fun. Yesterday, Rob completed the registration for working at the University and is signed up for a bank account for payroll. We have to wait until the middle of August for our first payroll cycle, though, which is a bummer. We got dropped off in the middle of a lovely older part of town, and were able to both successfully buy a map of the city as well as lunch for ourselves. Aaaand, we successfully hailed a cab, gave decent directions for our apartment (which he actually understood), and he enjoyed trying out his English on us.

We are in pretty good spirits, considering how biiiig this change is and how out-of-our-element we are. Only one meltdown for each of us so far. Doing our best to walk and explore is tough since it's so bleeping hot, but we'll find our way soon enough. We're getting along great with the other new professors, who have been truly wonderful and helpful these first few days. And, for now, we're taking great satisfaction in the little things we can control, like a nice shower, or mopping the floor.

We've taken exactly zero pictures. I'll jump on that soon!


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