We’re here! We arrived exhausted and had a full afternoon and evening of running around and starting to get oriented. But the other NGO associates have been great – they really know how to take care of rookies and have done a lot to begin easing our disorientation stress. Our apartment is on the sixth floor. Here’s the view from our windows:
This smoke stack is on our block. It’s where they burn the coal to make the heat for the buildings in the area. Heat comes on on a certain day and goes off on a certain day each year. You control the temperature by opening or closing windows… at least, that’s how we’re doing it!
I don’t think I realized just how comfortable we’d become in Yonghe until we drove in to Tianjin from the airport. A new city, big, polluted, doesn’t look or feel like Taipei, we didn’t know where anything is, we’re almost 100% dependent on others for absolutely everything… and this time there are other foreigners around who all know the area and who have better Chinese, so you feel like you’re behind. I was wondering why I suddenly felt better when we were shown where the first big grocery store was, and realized it’s because I was now just that much less dependent on others. Of course it’s not the first time we’ve experienced this, and in the big picture we have it really easy. Anyway, we’re still tired and disoriented and I’m not sure I even know what I’m saying. ;) But we’re here and settling down, surrounded by some great people.
The NGO associates have been great, having us in for dinner, making themselves available for questions, showing us around. I think we go to the bike market tomorrow morning. I’m aiming for an old one that won’t get stolen but hopefully won’t break down every other trip. There’s a tea shop in the wet market… now that we can make hot water we’ll get tea tomorrow, too. These three pictures are the only ones we’ve taken so far. I’m posting this using a pirated wireless signal from next door, so I’ll get it posted before our neighbour goes to bed. We’re doing great. Thanks to everyone for your cares and support! We’ll respond to all the e-mails when we get some longer time online.