In January 2008, we moved from Jiuquan, Gansu Province, China, to the Xigu District of Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China. Our teaching contract in Jiuquan was over and we had to find a new job. My Chinese daughter, Lucy, helped us to find a new job in the Xigu District of Lanzhou at the Lanzhou Shi Hua Ji Xu Xue Yuan (Lanzhou Petrochemical Vocational and Technical College).
Lucy rented an apartment for us so we would have a place to live in Lanzhou as we did our job hunting. The place she rented was huge! And cold! It was the coldest winter in China in the past hundred years. We couldn’t afford to heat the place, so we lived mostly in the bedroom and kept that room warm with an electric heater that pulled about 2300 watts to run and cost almost 1,000 yuan a month in electricity!
Chinese apartments are heated with radiators but are set so low by the government that there’s very little heat provided by them. The heat is turned on all over the northern part of the country on November 1 every year. If the temperature is below 0 degrees every day and night in September or October it doesn’t matter, the heat still does not come on until November 1. If the temperatures are over 100 degrees right up until November 1, the heat still comes on. On April 1, the heat is turned off, no matter what the weather. There is no heat provided in the central and southern parts China, even though they do have low temperatures.
When Lucy took us for the interview at the new school the leaders were so impressed with her English ability that they wanted to hire her too! Lucy was a new college grad and had not had her first job yet because of poor health. But her health was improving every day! Praise the Lord.
We only had to stay in this big apartment for less than a month. At that time, we got the new job and the school paid to move us into the school’s apartment. The school’s apartment was big enough for one person, but we were two people and it’s where we had to live. (The school had larger, much nicer apartments that were vacant, but refused to let a foreign teacher live in them!) It was much easier to heat!
When the director of foreign affairs (our boss) for the school came to move us into the school’s apartment he had a “micro truck” that was probably smaller than our minivans here in the States. We had been in China for almost three years and had accumulated things, many of them books and teaching supplies, kitchen equipment for soup suppers, and a little furniture. We had probably one hundred boxes plus. The director of foreign affairs looked at his little truck out the window and all our boxes inside and scratched his head, and made some phone calls. Soon a bigger truck and more men came and moved our stuff.
Even though the apartment we were moving into was miniscule in size, the trash heap in it left by the previous foreign teacher tenant was overwhelming. It was time for Spring Festival and our student, Sunny, from the Jiuquan College came to visit us at this time. She slept on the sofa and helped us clean up the place and helped us unpack and put things away. Her help was so greatly appreciated!
During Spring Festival we had time to get acquainted with our new neighborhood. Other students from our previous school came to visit. We were so grateful to God for his blessings of finding a new job for us and providing the new place to live and new visas.
When the new term began we were very busy, as expected. Later in the term, we had to teach a class every couple of weeks for the English teachers.
Then, on Monday, May 12, we got ready to go and Tim escorted me to school as usual. Then he went shopping as he didn’t have classes that morning. It was a beautiful warm day and a blue sky, rare in LZ!