Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Home Sweet China Home

We have now lived in the same apartment for over three years – a record! It has also been 5.5 years since we moved to Yinchuan! In honor of this unprecedented stability, I want to share my favorite aspects of our current home.
I wrote a while ago about our past apartment. I liked that apartment – despite the roaches and mold – but it would be hard to go back because this one is so much better. It may not be quite up to American dream home standards (one bathroom, no hot water in the sinks, a few spots where the wall or ceiling is falling apart), but it is a great China apartment.
 My favorite place in our apartment is the laundry porch. It's not because I love hanging up laundry. The “porch” is actually an enclosed area just off our bedroom which has windows on every side. It is the place that gets the most direct sunlight, making it very warm in the winter. I moved our ikea chair out there so I can sit in the sun. It is the furthest I can get from the general noise in the house (except for maybe the kitchen pantry, which is much less comfortable), and it takes the girls longer to notice I am there, giving me an extra 3.5 seconds of quiet. Even though the windows look into our neighbors' laundry porches, several classroom buildings, and a relatively busy campus thoroughfare, when I sit in my chair I mostly just see sky. And wet clothes hanging above me.
The girl's bedroom is warm and colorful, and it also gets lots of sunlight.  Natural light has always been important to me. I dislike artificial lights, and we get enough sunshine here I rarely have to turn on the lights during the day.
I had just cleaned their doesn't always look like this!
 A three-bedroom apartment leaves space to have an office/guest room/storage space/mud room. It is always a mess, therefore I try to avoid it. But Kevin is able to close the door and work on lessons with minimal disruption (he doesn't seem to mind mess). We have room for our big shoe rack (because of course we don't wear shoes indoors!), our big coat rack, and our bike helmet rack. Whenever we do actually have guests, we can clean up the bed/clutter gatherer.
Yeah, it usually looks like this.
The kitchen is another highlight, featuring a large window, bright blue cabinets, decent cabinet space, a two burner stove, and an actual pantry! It is a huge step up from our last kitchen. The attached eating area also houses the fridge, oven, and water machine. I like this area a little less because of the lack of noise absorption. Our mealtimes are very loud!
Some other nice features:
*Our recent paint job makes the walls look much cleaner and homier.
*The white tiles only look good when they are really clean, but they are nicer than gray tiles that never look clean.
*The large living room has enough room for running in circles, dance performances, slide tricks, and fort building. We also have a small home-school corner and enough seating for large groups.
*Our bedroom is small enough there really isn't room for it to get messy.
*The bathroom has space for a curtained off shower area. The whole floor still gets wet, but the rest of the room can stay dry. The bathroom also rarely smells like sewer gas.
Chinese bathrooms are never a thing of beauty, but I do appreciate having a shower area!
*Our laundry poles crank down to load and up to the ceiling so the clothes can be out of the way (thus allowing me to sit underneath them).
*We have no upstairs neighbors, so no sound coming through the ceiling. I cannot say the same for our poor downstairs neighbors...
*We have space to park our san lun che (3 wheeled vehicle) just below our apartment so we can run a super long extension cord from the 5th floor to charge it!
*Almost all of our furniture is school provided, but it is mostly decent and includes several nice bookshelves.
*On clear days, we can see the mountains from the windows.

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