After a couple of intense weeks moving out of our house and getting our documents for our visas in order, we’ve arrived in China and are now fully immersed in this new experience. We departed from San Francisco at 1:50 am on Monday and arrived in Hong Kong at about 6:30 am on Tuesday. The 14-hour flight was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I had anticipated a lot of fidgeting, whining, and crying, and I was also worried about how the kids would handle it. Fortunately, we were all nice and sleepy and were able to doze for much of the flight. Hadley, being so little, was able to curl up in the empty seat next to her and sleep comfortably for at least 8 hours.
Once in Hong Kong, all we had to do was get our baggage and go through customs before meeting the driver the school had arranged for us. The trip to our hotel in Shenzhen took a little over an hour and as we entered China we had to exit the van with all of our luggage to go through customs. At the hotel, we were greeted by a representative from the school who helped us get settled in. The hotel room is nice, but not very roomy. Since we will be staying here until we find our permanent housing, we are eager to start the house hunting process.
Today we were taken for our health exams which are needed in order to obtain our work visas. The health exam was intense and included a chest X-ray, ultrasound, vision test, ECC, and blood draw. I had my first experience with squat toilets while there and learned that I need to carry my own toilet paper and soap with me when I am out and about in China.
There is so much to adapt to here and the language barrier adds a whole new layer of complexity to things. Once we get our Chinese SIM cards and bank accounts, life will be a lot easier, but at this point we’re struggling to communicate whenever we’re out and about on our own. I’m eager to learn some Mandarin so that getting around will be easier. For now, we’re doing our best to be flexible and go with the flow.