When things happen around here they happen fast.  For example, on Tuesday Leanne told us we would be moving before the 23rd.  My initial reaction was "NO!"  I'd already bought Christmas gifts and the one's from the big guy I don't wrap.  My little abode was all decorated for the holiday and I wasn't about to  move it all. This was the last week of class and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday's were my busiest days.  There was no way I was going to move on the weekend with a 3.5 and a 4.5 year old underfoot getting in the way.  Well then I went over to the new building (which still isn't finished, just our floors) and took a look at the new place and changed my mind. I went to my classes on Wednesday and Thursday and begged my students to show up on Saturday at 12:30 to help me.  I figured with 90 students, it should go very quickly.

On Thursday evening Leanne told me they'd hired movers to come over and move our refrigerators, televisions, sofa's and desks to the new building. My two graduate student friends Sarah and Nancy came over that evening and we began packing.  With two children I definitely have the most "stuff" of any of the teachers and I knew it would take a while to get all of our junk loaded into suitcases, boxes and my dwindling supply of handy dandy WalMart sacks (the trash sacks over here are sooooo thin and I've almost used up my Wally World sacks that I brought as packing material).  Anyway to make a long story even longer.  I started going through all of our junk and a bunch of it I couldn't see moving.  I filled up three of the lovely blue sacks and took them out to the trash.  I didn't wear a coat (hey it was only 12 degrees F) and so I thought I'd take the short cut back.  Well this bush came from out of no where and jumped out in front of me.  I ran smack dab into one of the branches, of course it was at eye level and it ended up cutting my eye on the while part.  That ended the evening's packing for me.  Sarah and Nancy wanted me to go to the hospital, but after a while it didn't hurt very bad and I'd scratched my eye before and thought that the doctor had told me eye's heal very quickly, so I thought if it wasn't better in the morning I'd go.  In the morning you could still see the internal bleeding that had taken place, but there was only a slight feeling of pressure when I bent over.  Of course our boss came by and happened to see me and she wanted me to go to the hospital too....forget it, I feel fine.

Nancy and Sarah came back at 9:00 and we started packing again.  At 12:30 the movers showed up and since I was almost packed they decided to move me first.  They came in and got the heavy stuff.  At 1:00 I send Sarah over to my class that was due to start at 1:10 to tell the students we were having class in my room.  I'd teach them English moving terms har har har.  Well 30 students showed up, Nancy and Sarah went with them over to the new place and I started passing out stuff that needed to be moved.  Needless to say, all my stuff was moved in record time.  The students then each made a couple of trips for the other teachers.

It was Sarah and Nancy to rescue again, they helped me start unpacking again.  We made the bed and set up the tv and dvd player first (so the girls would have something to do) and started the laborious job of putting all the rest of the junk away.  I was ready to drop, I'd been up since 3:00 am .....couldn't sleep.  At 4:15 Nancy and Sarah went to the kindergarten to pick up the girls.  I just laid down.  All of the foreign teachers had decided to get together on this night (if was before we knew we were moving) and have a Christmas dinner and exchange gifts.  so at 6:15 I located the suitcase with the gifts in it, grabbed them and we headed out to dinner.

We had a wonderful Chinese meal with NO FANCY FOOD.  It seems like they always try to impress us at banquets and serve those wonderful (NOT) delicies that none of us like.  There was not one drunken (aka raw) shrimp, fried bumble bee, squid, donkey meat or pigeon leg in sight.  Katie had drawn my name and without even knowing my love for Christmas ornaments, she bought me two beautiful cloisinay Chinese style lantern ornaments.  They are absolutely stunning.  Miki the Japanese teacher and Mark the British teacher drew the girls names.  They each got them a stuffed animal which delighted the girls.  Since I won the bet and had collected 20 yuan from everyone, I just placed all the money in the pot as my contribution toward dinner.  It seemed like the nice thing to do.  After dinner we came home and crashed.  Well the girls crashed anyway.  Our new bed is a Chinese style bed.  It is basically a wooden platform with a 2 inch straw pad on it (we had regular mattresses in the guest house, hard but not as hard and ungiving as the plywood bed).  I'd placed my foam on top of the pad but it still isn't enough.  I will be purchasing another piece of foam tomorrow!

Saturday morning we got up and basically finished unpacking.  Miss Ma (my boss) and the rest of the foreign affairs office were in and out all morning.  The other teachers finished moving (I was the only one to spend the night in the new place) and we discovered we have no hot water and no telephone lines (I don't know when this will get mailed).  This is when Leanne told me they really didn't want us (just our furniture and fridges) moving until Tuesday...as if we could have stayed in the guest house with just a bed and clothes.  My daughters would have had a cow.  We were told we'd have phones yesterday afternoon (Saturday) but needless to say we still don't.... oh well "TIC" ... this is China.  We are being told we'll have hot water on Tuesday (Christmas...well that would be a good present) We just have to either go and use the public student showers.....AS IF, or get the key and go back to the guest house and use our old showers.

Saturday afternoon it was again Nancy and Sarah to the rescue.  Our new apartment is in the middle of a construction zone so you can just imagine the mess it is in.  Workers are the same the world over.  There was gunk all over the tile in the bathroom and the wood floors have traces of glue and about 6 inches of dust on them.  There is a layer of dust covering almost everything in the building.  Well Sarah and Nancy came over and helped me clean the place up.  We dusted everything and got the floors done so at least the kids can play on the floor without resembling a dust mop. The tile walls in the bathroom are still a wreck but I'll tackle that another day.

All of the American teachers and students have headed south.  They all left for Beijing on the sleeper train last night.  Jeff and Phillip are heading first for Kunming then on to Thailand.  Adam and Katie are going to head on down later and meet up with her parents in Bancok Thailand in January.  Miki the Japanese teacher and Mark the  British teachers have purchased plane tickets and will meet up with all of them later in January.  I'm sure they'll all have a great time.

Well they just came and hooked up our phones, not bad only 24 hours after they said they would, so I guess I'll get this sent.


Karen aka Julie and Charlie's mom