The Unraveled Teacher

Teething, Typhoons, and Ten Thousand Steps: Moving to Kunshan Part 4

We found our wonderful MixTown apartment last week and finally got the keys last Thursday. This exciting event meant that we could stop living in a hotel room. The biggest issue we’ve had with being in a hotel was that our daughter is teething and she whines in her sleep as her huge molars are popping through. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome when relocating to China, and a good night’s sleep is necessary to avoid making threats to stab people with sharpened pencils (as a certain fellow foreigner new to Kunshan has recently threatened to do after learning of surprise taxes to be paid). Living in a hotel room means we have no freezer for her teethers. My advice to those relocating to China with a baby is to try and avoid doing this if your baby is teething. So like wait until he’s in college.

MixTown vs. Typhoon Lekima

We decided we would move our mountain of heavy suitcases from the hotel to the new apartment on Saturday since my husband works 7:30- 4:30 each weekday at Kang Chiao. It’s nearly impossible for me to move any luggage on my own because I have to either carry the baby or push her in the stroller. She can walk, but if I tried to let her walk alongside me while I dragged our luggage, she’d surely get taken out by an e-bike. So, Friday rolled around and so did Typhoon Lekima. I have been so wrapped up in trying to survive this transition period of our new life in China that I have no idea what’s going on outside of Kunshan’s Huaqiao district. Apparently a big ass typhoon was slamming Taiwan, and Shanghai was getting ready to evacuate people as I’m farting around in the hotel planning our move. I totally forgot typhoons were even a thing.

Flooded streets in Kunshan near Kang Chiao International School

We spent the day locked in our hotel eating weird flavored chips and drinking coffee. I was resigned to the fact that our weekend was shot and that we’d have to stay a third week in the hotel. After all, we still didn’t have a bed to sleep on at the apartment anyway. My bed I ordered from TaoBao (see my previous post for those exciting details) seemed like a lost cause at this point. Even if it had arrived at the complex’s secret package room, that place was flooded. We most likely had a damaged bed waiting in a secret location. We’d need another week to get that mess sorted out after the typhoon cleared up.

Moving In!

On Sunday morning, we were greeted with sunshine and blues skies. The flooded areas around our hotel were all dried up. I got a phone call from an unknown number and decided I’d answer it. It was a very annoyed guy asking me to open the door. I could only imagine this must be related to our bed delivery so I hung up and texted him instead of trying to talk. Through text, we were able to coordinate an afternoon delivery of our new bed! We hurried downstairs to breakfast, tanked up on hard boiled jidans, and started packing some bags to take to the apartment. We loaded up two suitcases as this is really the most we could handle while dragging the baby with us. Our DiDi took us to MixTown and we hopped out. A cleanup crew was sweeping and washing the MixTown shops. We dragged our bags to our building and were faced with this message at the elevators:

This is Chinese for “you’re screwed.”

The elevators were out of service. We live on the 32nd floor. We have a baby and two heavy suitcases.

To make it up, we trade off the baby at each floor and we each take one suitcase. We have to stop at each floor to catch our breath. We’re from Florida. Sea level has been our game for the last decade. The narrow cement stairwell has almost even steps, but every once in a while you’ll catch one step that’s a different size just to keep you on your toes.

There were others trying to make it up and on the landing for floor 14, and guy had set some chairs out for climbers to take a rest.

Look! MixTown is now home to some rooftop swimming pools!

One section of stairs turned into an obstacle course with bikes chained to the railings.

Now I know the proper place to store our bikes at least.
Taking a break on floor 24. Less than 10 flights to go!

It took us about 45 minutes to make it up to the 32nd floor. Luckily all power was not out and our AC was working. I let the bed delivery guy know there was no power to the elevators. We probably weren’t going to get that bed today after all.

After a couple hours in the apartment with no change in status with the elevators, it came time to eat lunch. We have nothing but gross baby formula in the apartment, so someone had to go downstairs to pick up food. I happily volunteered because I had been running around with the baby attached to my hip for days and was eager to go out without her, even if it meant going down and back up 32 flights of stairs.

I picked a few things like toilet paper and water at the convenience store then got some chicken wings and soda. I kept my hungry husband updated as I climbed a second time.

Stupid 33rd floor.

Shortly after my second climb, power returned to the elevator and our bed was delivered! Success! I got a lecture from the delivery guy about the furniture delivery protocol, but I didn’t understand enough of it to learn anything useful. When I left the apartment later to go buy scissors to open the packaging, the cleaning lady in the hallway also yelled at me about furniture delivery. She cornered me and wouldn’t let me on the elevator. No matter how many times I yelled “ting bu dong,” she kept yelling the same phrase at me over and over as if I would magically know what she was saying if she repeated it enough. I had to do some super agility move to hit the elevator button to escape her wrath.

But, we have a bed and some stronger calf muscles. It’s a win today.


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