When I went into the kitchen on Saturday morning the wind was whistling through the window. It was below freezing outside and the air coming in chilled everything at that end of the kitchen. The blessing was that the wind had blown away all the pollution in the air and the sky was blue again. When I went to take pictures for this blog this morning, I realized that I could see buildings in the distance I’d never seen before. In looking at the prediction of air quality for this week it appears that having warmth with no wind brings dirty air. Cold and wind bring clear air. I’m not sure which I want most, but the rest of the family benefits from clear air, so I’ll just bundle up for the wind.
We are blessed to be able to house sit for a couple that had to return to the U.S. They are both Chinese, so the apartment is much more Chinese than our kids’ apartment. We’ve had to make a few adjustments to make it comfortable for us. Chinese prefer very hard mattresses. I like a firm mattress, but this mattress was beyond firm. Between couch cushions and mattress pads we’re both sleeping well. There are several downsides. One is that the thing you need is always in the other apartment. Twice I’ve forgotten to bring eggs for breakfast. Another is that we have no choice but to go outside. I suppose we could find a way through the under-ground parking garage. Maybe we’ll try that. I think it would be an interesting adventure.
Sometime yesterday morning it struck me that I was living in China and it just seemed natural. The biggest adjustment this trip has been the constantly changing procedures for dealing with the virus. The initial quarantine only involved the Wuhan district. The impact in Beijing was minor. That has changed. Almost every day the access to our apartment complex is getting tighter. Our son is headed out to get new ID cards for us that will be used to get into and out of the apartment complex. After tomorrow, without this card we wouldn’t be able to leave the complex.
One other observation from this morning. For some reason the morning street market that we like to use is not open. When we look down from our apartment we can see that the big blue doors at the entrance to the market area are closed. However, that didn’t keep the merchants from establishing a new market. There is some open land right next to the market between the market and the treacherous path over the railroad tracks. As we were getting ready to transfer from one apartment to the other it looked like the merchants were all set up and open for business. We would call this a farmer’s market and these farmer’s might have no income if they weren’t able to sell their produce. It will be interesting to see if it still open tomorrow in the new location.
The biggest blessing is that we’re getting to spend much more time together as a family than we expected. The grandkids are doing homeschool in the morning. A typical afternoon involves watching a move together. We just started watching Anne of Green Gables and we’re all enjoying that. Afternoons the grandkids are generally out playing with friends. They are having a fun time on the trampoline at one of the neighbor’s houses. We all eat dinner together and then often play games after. We’re learning many new games. The game Anomia just arrived, so we have another new game to learn.
Overall, the blessings continue to outweigh the costs, but there are costs.