(all 300 square feet of it)
Here are some pictures of our little abode. When we first arrived I thought "how on earth are we ever going to manage in such a small space" True it is very small (even by Chinese standards) but we are doing just fine. You will notice the eternal clutter that we have, but that's our fault. It is really hard to keep everything straightened up with two little girls constantly getting toys and things out. Mopping needs to be done daily (but I don't) as the girls, students (and of course me) are constantly bringing in junk on their feet.
Our living room has a couch, glass coffee table (which is impossible to keep clean when living with Julie and Charlie......our new apartments will have wooden ones...I'm excited!), a bookcase/hutch (which has toys in the bottom), my desk which is always a mess.....I can't blame everything on Julie and Charlie, a television (all the stations are in Chinese, but I bought a DVD player), a refrigerator and a big wardrobe piece of furniture I found in the guest house's old office and confiscated! You can tell I clean up to take the picture...... NOT! The gray thing on the left of the picture is the door which is located right in the middle of the wall so you can get an idea of how wide the room is. I stood in the hall to take the picture.
Here is my attempt to "homey up" the place. Getting the picture took a bit of finessing. At the girl's kindergarten there was a showing of the children's art work. Several of the teachers were also asked to participate. This is one of the pictures painted by a teacher. I immediately fell in love with it (the children singing around the fire represent some of the Ethnic Minorities here in China) and asked the headmaster if the piece was for sale. Sadly, she told me no. After all the artwork was taken down I again inquired about the picture, asking the girls' teacher if they knew which teacher had painted it. Unfortunately they didn't (and there was problems communicating with them.... my Chinese is pretty much non-existent)It just so happens the headmaster had asked Leanne if her daughter could proctor some of the Oral English classes here at LIT that very day. leanne had told her of course, that it would be no problem and had given her my teaching schedule. So later that day when Leanne went to the head master to again ask if the picture was for sale a different story took place. The picture still was not for sale, but the school wanted to present me with it! The headmaster had the artist personalize it for us. Down the left side there are Chinese characters that say "To our American Little Friends Julie and Charlie." The characters on the right of the picture are the school's name and the artist. Before coming home, I will definitely find a cardboard tube and this will be one of my "carry on's"
This is a picture of our xiao (little) bedroom. It is the length of a queen size bed and the little bed at the end of it. It is as wide as the queen size bed, a little night stand and the open door. You can't see it in the picture, but there is a fairly good size wardrobe. It holds my clothes (Julie and Charlie's clothes are kept in the bigger wardrobe in the living room). Since taking Lisa McClure's advice and purchasing a piece of foam for the bed, we all sleep quite comfortably. The beds in China are extremely hard. In fact most people do not have mattresses. Most people sleep on beds that are a plywood platform with 2 or 3 quilts placed on top of them. Only one of the American teachers (Phillip) enjoys the hard beds! Personally I think he's nuts!
Last but not least is or bathroom. It is very small as you can see, but we have our own hot water supply and don't have to wait on "certain hours" to have hot water. Jeff, the student from Eastern Kentucky University, has been put up in the school's hotel as all the guest house rooms are full with teachers. At the hotel, resident's only have hot water from 7 to 9 in the evenings, so if you want to take a shower you'd better be there during those hours. There are no exceptions. You will also notice that despite my repeated scrubbing the tub is stained beyond belief. I figure I've surely killed all the "strange" germs and any now are purely ours. We just bathe and don't worry about it.
All of the foreign teachers and student's are really excited about moving to our new dig's. We just don't know when it's going to happen! As soon as it does, I'll post pictures of our new home.