Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Home Sweet Home

Some of you might be curious about where we live here at Sias University; some of you may not be curious (in this case, stop reading). All foreign faculty live in two large buildings called Peter Hall. This place includes our apartments, dining hall, cafe/lobby/meeting place, laundry room, conference room, and much more. As you may guess, we spend a heck of a lot of time here.

The ONLY place for American coffee within 50 miles
It is a great place for the most part-- clean, modern, and spacious, especially considering our surroundings. Let's begin the tour in our front lobby. This glass ceiling-ed place connects the old Peter Hall with the new one. It is where we get our mail, meet with students, celebrate holidays, and drink (American!) coffee. We were really fortunate to come when we did because they just finished construction in October, and it already feels like an integral part of Peter Hall.

We often meet students for coffee in the Bridge Cafe or in one of the side meeting rooms (to pretend we are important and official) located next to the lobby.

Our impressive front lobby

In the old Peter Hall, we have our much loved or much despised (depending on who you ask) dining hall. Here we get three meals each day-- some Western foods: waffles, parmesan chicken, and even Mexican are served on regular basis. We also get lots of Chinese dishes and, of course, rice. 

Our typical Monday buffet dinner of Chinese foods and a macaroni dish

 If you venture up to the 5th floor (elevators are for the weak), and go all the way down the hall, you will find the best flat in the building-- ours! Our home has definitely been a work in progress, but we feel very settled and at home in our little one bedroom, one office, and one living room apartment. We painted, moved furniture, and bought appliances, pillows, and plants all this year to make our place feel more cosy.

Before pictures:
Our jaundice yellow, sparse living room/front room
Our backroom that served as an office and laundry drying room (and sock art display)
Our kitchen before the sprucing and my beloved toaster oven
Our bedroom-- complete with a large, Chinese king sized bed
Our bathroom-- no squatty, thankfully!
 The after pictures!
Our lovely front entry and office
Ben spends a lot of his time at his desk!
Our bright and blue living room!
It also doubles as my office and our entertainment room!
We love having our students and friends over, and with our little hot plate and toaster oven, we've even managed to turn out some pretty spectacular meals! Homemade pizza, fajitas, and all different kinds of soups are only some of the things we've made during our time here. Cooking in China is definitely a challenge, but I enjoy hunting for available/substitutable ingredients, figuring out temperamental stoves and ovens, and cooking things like breads and chicken stock completely from scratch. 
Our microscopic, but functional kitchen/hallway
omelet with cheese and avocado, roasted potatoes, apples, kiwi, and
 homemade muffin from Lucy! Plus hazelnut coffee and sriracha!
Well, that about completes our grand Peter Hall tour! Hope you enjoyed it, and if there is anything else you are curious about life here, please let us know!

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