Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Happy Niu Year

It has finally happened: we have decided to start a blog! The reason for this is simple: since the arrival of Auro, the need for us to 'stay in touch' has increased so drastically that we (read: Caroline) can not write to everyone personally every day anymore. On the other hand, there is also an urgent desire on our (read: Caroline's) side to talk about our everyday encounters.
As for the language, we will try to write in English as much as possible, but there might be some episodes in Dutch or Italian too...

Well, to start this this blog let me tell you about our first week back in Changchun (yes! one week has already passed since we left Belgium behind...). The trip went perfectly fine until we arrived at the airport of Changchun and we had to take a taxi to go home. Auro and I stayed inside of the airport while Remo faced the cold and went to look for a taxi (the note with our address written on it in Chinese in his hand). After a good 10 minutes he gestured to me that we could come out, but as soon as the taxi driver saw me and Auro, he started complaining and asking for more money. The price went from 150 rmb to 250 rmb and no begging or cursing from our side could change that, so... we got out again and ran back inside. Remo then called the dean of the Physics College to come pick us up. In the car the outside temperature read -16 degrees!
At home we were greeted by a warm apartment and lots of dead cockroaches!! I guess they had a party here while we were gone. The next couple of days, we still found some survivors, but the last 2 days we haven't seen any anymore... let's hope...
Sunday then was the last day of the year for the Chinese and was celebrated with fireworks from the early morning until late in the night. There was a peak between 10pm and 1am, during which it felt as if we were in the middle of a war zone. Auro, who was still struggling with his jetlag (though I think it was more me who was feeling it) woke up around 1 and asked for a 'comfort-feeding'. The next dayS people around our building continued setting of fireworks, but by now (it's Thursday!) they have almost stopped. The new year is the year of the 'niu' (=bull/cow/ox) according to the Chinese calendar. I don't know if that's good, but let's hope that it will bring a lot of happiness for all of us. I wish you all a happy and prosperous Niu Year!

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