The Story of the Apartment

So, I think most people did not believe me at first when I tried to explain just how bad the apartment was when we got here. It was literally unlivable. Now I realize that I was exhausted and in a bit of shock when we first saw it, so I waited about half an hour trying to rationalize myself to living here. But I remembered reading several past experiences of teachers who had said that if there is a problem, complain. Buckland will help if there is an issue but they have to know. So finally I called Greg, the office manager at Buckland, and through my tears explained that I could not stay in this place.
There were actually two apartments. They were both almost equally bad, but one had been more recently lived in and one had a slightly better floor plan. But they were both so moldy it was hard to tell that the other apartment was actually slightly better. It seems to be slightly better insulated and have better air conditioning units. But still, even an itemized list will not explain everything wrong with the apartment when we arrived. The mold was so bad my allergies exploded. I was sneezing and my eyes itched and I was coughing. There was no clean water to drink so I couldn’t take any medicine for my allergies or headache. The school is outside of town, so we couldn’t even walk to a store to find water. The stove was unlike anything I had ever seen. It looks like a stove, but has an external gas tank that I had no idea how to work, so we couldn’t even boil water. Most of the lights did not work. There was no internet. Everything was filthy. Dust and mold on everything. The bathroom was disgusting. Many of the furniture pieces were broken. The bed linens were disgusting. It was also set way apart from the rest of the school and behind the new construction area of a new building so it was very lonely feeling, isolated, and almost unsafe feeling. The air conditioners did work, but when they blew, I could smell more mold pouring out. Oh, and the porn in the bathroom (not really porn, but a tastefully partially nude woman on the wall. But I was hardly in the mood to deal with that).
I tried to get Seth to call Greg because I was afraid that through my crying Greg would not be able to understand me. But Seth said that if Greg was to hear just how upset I was, then he would be more likely to understand just how bad it was. So I called, and I cried, and Greg was very worried. He told me to try and stay calm, and lay down, and he would call Owen and get it sorted out. I tried to sleep, but the allergies and crying was so bad I couldn’t. Greg called me back a couple of hours later and said that Cindy was on her way to get us and take us to a hotel. He said we had two options, we could have them fix up the apartment or we could ask for an apartment off campus in town. At first, I really wanted the apartment in town. But when Cindy came back, she felt very bad and started listing all the things she would do to get the apartment ready for us to move back in. So we agreed to let her work on the apartment, which probably was the better choice anyway.
She took us to what she called the nicest hotel in town which was an international business hotel. It was very nice and only around 400 Yuan a night, which is a lot for Chinese people, but is only about $66 American. We stayed there for two days while Cindy hired some cleaners to clean the apartment. We went back the next day to check on their progress and while it was better, they don’t seem to use bleach much in China so I knew I was still going to have to clean it again myself. One of the big problems, though, was still the mold. I don’t think the Chinese realize exactly what mold is or how bad it can be. It can kill you. So I was trying to explain to her what mold was and how bad it was and I showed her the mold stains on the walls, so she agreed to have the apartments painted for us and said I could pick the colors. So, we agreed. She also was going to have the curtains cleaned and get us new linens. We started to live in the apartment that had been more recently lived in, but Cindy (wisely) decided to fix up both apartments at the same time. This was good, but it meant only being in our apartment for a week until we had to move back over to the other unit while ours was painted. Even after the other one had been painted, we are actually both extremely alergic to it. The bedroom, even with the air conditioner running all day, stays constantly moist. About the time we moved into the other unit, Seth had another bad roound of sore throat and chest cold. This caused quite a bit more stress and worry and he ended up having to go to the local doctor and get seveal boxes of new meds. On top of all this, my first week of teaching was a nightmare, but more on that in it’s own post. Food was an issue as well, as Seth has already written about. Oh, also, the first night we agreed to actually stay in the apartment we put my luggange in the bedroom, turned on the air conditioner to freshen the room, and shut the door. When we went to bed, we found out the air conditioner leaked, and it leaked all over my luggage soaking my clothes and suede bag. Just one more thing to upset me and stress me out. Needless to say, these are just some of the many reasons I was incredibly depressed for about two weeks.
But (finally!!) three weeks after first arriving, we are in the right apartment and it is livable. They did paint the walls (all the wrong colors) but it is still a vast improvement. All we are waiting on right now is our first paycheck so we can start doing some decorating! *sigh*