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Transitioning to Life in Yichang

We arrived on a Sunday evening and were taken to our apartment. The landlady and her husband were there and showed us how to operate everything, from the washer to the light switches. Of course, we were still in jet lag, so we just nodded to much of what they said with the hope of just unpacking our pillows and getting to sleep. Eventually, they were satisfied that we know how to operate the hot water heater and left us to a blissful and deep night’s sleep.

The next morning we went to our foreign students affairs office to arrange for language study to begin. They were well organized and we were scheduled to begin our studies the following day. No point in lounging around, I guess.

So, we took off and found a local market to get some cleaning supplies with which we launched our first battle in scrubbing the apartment down. We were thankful that the landlady left some basic furniture for us, but they also left several years worth of cooking oil coating most of the kitchen. They had also left the windows open for the past month to air out the apartment, which made it smell fresh, but with the construction taking place right outside our window there was plenty of dust.

After a good afternoon of cleaning, we took a public bus to see the downtown Yichang at night. Then, we found a small restaurant to eat at called it a night.

The next morning we went to class with fresh minds and willing spirits. We left with blown minds and doubting spirits. But after a couple hours of study, we knew that with a little elbow grease we could do it. While we were studying, we heard a lout explosion outside and felt the apartment shake. Rushing to the window, I discovered that some construction workers were in the process of slowly blowing up a small hill a hundred yards away. The resulting landslide covered the main road at the bottom…but it was time for lunch so the workers left it as it was. It would take another two days to clear the road.

Speaking of lunch, we left to find a close food market about a ten minute walk away. Imagine a small and busy street crowded with stalls and small restaurants. Each stall specializes in a certain dish. Already we’ve found many dishes that we like and have made friends with some of the stall owners. (We now eat here nearly every day.)

That evening some fireworks were let off a half mile away and we could see them clearly from our window. It may have been in celebration of a wedding or perhaps the opening of some apartments or new restaurant. Whatever the occasion, it was a great sight to watch for several minutes. Yeah, I could live here.

And so begins life in Yichang. With a bang!

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