Today, Saturday 9th August is the eve of our move into our own apartment. (Rapturous applause please)
This is a long blog…so grab yourself a cup of tea, gin and tonic or glass of something and see you at the end.
We survived the flights on Lufthansa on Monday/Tuesday. Martin blagged his viola as handluggage on the Frankfurt/Shanghai route. Eleanor slept most of the way and had to be woken up for landing. It has always been my wish to either enter a plane and turn left r go upstairs. Well my wish wasn’t granted this time, and now Martin has to deal with the 5 year old asking to go upstairs on the plane. Martin’s answer – well your Mother can get a job.I have now got the job… And we did get to fly upstairs but in economy… And we bid and were successful for business class between Bornep and KL. Frankfurth airport wins on the free wifi. you can register for 24 hours. Heathrow Terminal 1 stands at a measly 45 minutes. Both terminals catered for Eleanor in providing play areas, so we had a happy and exhausted child as we entered the plane at Franfurt.
Relief was palatable when we all got through immigration and were collected by the school HR lady with a driver. He took an intake of breath when he saw how much stuff we had. Two hours later we were in Suzhou. Eleanor had her first experience of squat toilets at a service station and we had arrived at Landmark skylight hotel, home for the next 5 nights. A hotel that no longer exists – it has been knocked down. And was never again used for incoming staff.
9am Wednesday saw us collected and taken to see 8 apartments pre lunch and 4 after lunch. As you may recall I had wanted a lake view and an oven. Only the 2nd one out of 8 remotely filled that criteria…and quite quickly we realised that what we were seeing on the websites that looked like ovens – weren’t. There were sterilisers. You wash your dishes and then put them in this recepticle to be sterilised.
The second estate agent, Ginger from NEST has been fabulous. We saw 4 apartments on Wednesday afternoon and it was the 3rd one that we fell in love with. The 4th one was also a good contender but the Chinese sometimes like to furnish their property with typical Chinese furniture which is all rather dark and heavy and can make a room seem dark and claustrophobic. Of course one couldn’t be rude as most of the time the owner was standing right next to you or indeed was still living in the apartment, so all the right noises were made. The views and the furniture have made the apartment that we wanted.
BUT DISASTER STRUCK. On our way to have more medical school taken (more bloods and an ECG for Martin and I), we had a phone call from Ginger. She told Martin that the landlord lived away, that there were cracks on the work surface and the landlord was not willing to replace it for us and as such she didn’t think the apartment was for us….
So once we had our bloods taken (which Eleanor witnessed and asked questions about) and our ECG – the nurses need to learn what bedside manner is!) we then went to see 4 more apartments, which turned into 5, plus the original one we had been recommended not to take. The weather was also reflecting my mood – darkening and hot.
We were told that some more apartments were of the same floor plan as the one we had fallen in love with, but that doesn’t mean that they are furnished the same or have the same views. One even had a glass window/wall with. Wooden struts in one of the bedrooms. At this point in the afternoon I cried. A hissy fit if you will. I wasn’t getting my own any, I was fed up with the estate agent (who is lovely), following me into every room, I felt the pressure to like the flat which was more or less the same floor plan, it had double glazing in the kitchen is the head should have been saying yes, but the heart was most definitely saying no. And however you look at it, I have no job and will be spending more time in the apartment than Eleanor and Martin, therefore I need to like it.
We then saw the beloved one again, and despite the superficial issues (I may not be saying this when the wind and rain are battering our single glazing window in the kitchen in winter) we still like it. So contract was signed on Friday, Internet and water dispenser installed today. We move tomorrow.