One Month In

This first month has flown by. We just received our air shipment of household goods! Good thing we brought our TV that we definitely could not sell to my friend Jake, because our apartment came with two TVs. Most everything electronic can accept both US and China power inputs. Except my xbox power adapter… there was only a little smoke.

We’re only just beginning to settle into our new apartment. Other than dinner excursions, we hadn’t even explored much of Nanjing until just last weekend.

Previous weekends were dedicated to organizing our apartment, figuring out how to pay for things here (more on that later), an Ikea trip, putting together Ikea things, and shopping for basic necessities. Or rather, figuring out where and how to shop for basic necessities. We’ve just learned how to order things online via the Chinese version of Amazon, and suddenly, we have more free time. We used that time to visit Purple Mountain last weekend, which is a large park in Nanjing. One of it’s many attractions is the final resting place of Sun Yat-sen, considered by many to be the founder of post dynasty China. Mark, a grad student peep, points out that Sun was not a communist, but more of a nationalist, and today his legacy stands as a forerunner of Chinese communism. Yat-sen is how we refer to him, but that is actually is pen-name. His popular Chinese name, Zhongshancan be found on many a street sign in most Chinese cities.

Until a week ago, I could not pay for things in China without cash. Nearly everything here can be paid for with your phone, but without a Chinese bank account it was extremely difficult to figure out how to set up mobile pay for me. Diana was able to get a bank account because she has a work permit. I might be able to get one once I get my long term visa. Most stores I’ve encountered either don’t carry change for cash payments, or make a huge fuss over accepting cash. Luckily, I do not understand Chinese curse words, and am therefore never offended.

If you follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, tisk tisk) you might have seen me showing off my new Murse a few weeks ago. After negotiating the price down to half of what it was listed at, I presented the shop keeper with cash money. She said something, mimed for me to wait there, and then left the store for almost 10 minutes. I stood inside, alone, where I decided shoplifting is probably frowned upon in China. She returned with exact change. Then finally last week, we managed to set up mobile pay for me on a new WeChat account (created in China) which allows me to have a digital wallet, which Diana can put money in. Husband allowance.

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Last Friday, we visited the downtown Nanjing visa office. The “interview” was brief, signatures were requested and proffered, and pictures taken. We were surprised that we could both apply for long term residency visas at the same time. We did. This meant handing over our original passports to the visa office. Hopefully we get them back before my tourist visa expires in another 30 days. I’m going to guess that staying past your visa in China is also probably frowned upon.

In Nanjing, virtually all public restrooms are squat toilets. Park restrooms, malls, stores, and even most restaurants. So far, I have managed to avoid pooping like a caveman, but I fear those days are numbered. Eventually a particularly spicy noodle soup or seemingly delicious meat on a stick is going to “inspire” me far from home. This will be a sad day peeps. While in the United States, I never found the home field advantage particularly important. In China, home field is everything. Maybe I’ll put the US TV and Xbox in the spare bathroom…

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