Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Arrived and Settled

Hello friends and family! Sorry it has taken so long to update you all. We are finally settled and have overcome two weeks filled with meeting after meeting plus 18 hours per week of teaching. Rachel and I have about 400 students between the both of us. Luckily, we have a short day on Thursdays and don't teach on Fridays! Woohoo! Time to explore! :)

Allow me to backtrack a little, though....

Saturday 25th of August, we flew out of SFO at 650pm and arrived at LAX around 8:14pm. This felt like the most unnecessary flight since we flew out of LAX a few hours later and flew right over SFO (where we originally started) and THEN proceeded towards China. On a positive note, it was really great seeing my sister, Leya, before getting to China. She drove 45 minutes to get to LAX on her day off to see us off and treated us to our last dinner in America (for the time being).

Fifteen hours later, we touched down in Guangzhou and shortly there after took a two hour flight to Zhengzhou. I will spare you the details of our long agonizing flight -- its not worth mentioning how many crying babies there were on our plane. But there! Now you know what it must have been like!

Around 10:30am, we touched down and were able to quickly find our luggage. We are very grateful to have the wonderful returning teachers and cultural students pick us up and save us the trouble of finding our own ride to the university.

Upon arrival, we were immediately shown our apartment. It was a little covered in dust all over and in major need of a paint job. On top of that, we had really dark and old, broken down furniture. Also, our shower drain was clogged and the shower head didn't work. Oh, one more thing, our AC pipe had been leaking onto the hardwood floor and has all been warped now. Hey, it all sounds bad. But at least we weren't the unit that literally got flooded when a big pipe burst. Those poor guys had it a lot worse than we did. 

Of course, we made peace with our new life and standard of living. Then, one beautifully smoggy morning, we came down from our 5th floor apartment to see the lobby of our building lined with brand new WHITE furniture! Thank you, Lord, our apartment wasn't going to be so bad after all. :) We were one of the lucky ones that got brand new Ikea-esque furniture. Pictures of our apartment will be posted soon; hopefully, right after we paint the peeling bright yellow walls. 

Its a shame you can't see the view from our bedroom
window. Yes, this is how smoggy it gets here
on a normal day. Please send us some
of the fresh air you are breathing
as you read this. Thanks! :)
As I mentioned earlier, Rachel and I have been very busy with teaching classes and going to meetings every single day. It has definitely been a little exhausting. The humidity and heavy local pollution hasn't really helped either. With that said, we have been adjusting just fine. We have both even gone on runs by ourselves already. What an awesome way to explore! We both know we are called and meant to be here. Hence, we are quite happy and very thankful to be here. . 

Thank you for thinking of us and reading this blog. Sorry if it gets a little dry sometimes. I hope to share with family and friends the things we are going through and the lessons we are learning.

More pictures will be coming very soon! I promise!

-本杰明 (aka, Benjamin) 


  1. Thank you for the update! Sounds like the adventure you were hoping for... keep the positive attitude=)
    Love you and miss you!!

    1. Love you, mom! By the way, I talk about you all the time in my class! WHEN you visit, my students are going to be so excited to finally meet you! Miss you tons!

  2. You and Rachel are inspiring Ben! Praying for you both and of course for that smog to at least go away during your running and exploring times! Love you both!

    1. Oh whatever, YOU are the inspiring one, Chris! Thanks for the prayers! Believe it or not, we just had the most incredible 4 days of sunshine and blue skies that people have ever seen here! Powerful! We love you, too :)

  3. Looks like it's shaping up to be quite the adventure! Do you guys have an address over there that things can be mailed to? :)

    1. Kimmi! That is so sweet of you!
      Here is my address:

      中国河南省新郑市人民路东段 1680 号
      西亚斯国际学院 收
      Rachel Vidmar-Muradyan

      I'm pretty sure if you just print and tape it on, it will get there, but you might have to put China in English on the bottom :)
      Hope mommyhood is amazing!!

  4. Beautiful adventure for you both! I was only there for 12 days and that was enough for me, but I'm a wimp, so congrats!
    Susie Klein (Ben and Peter's mom)

    1. Hi Susie! 12 days is much more than most people! Thanks for the encouragement :)