30 July Dalian Development Area
Thanks for everyone who emailed that they were able to see this post via a link from Facebook and Twitter. We hope to get a VPN soonish then we too can see all our friends having wonderful western fun (they did have a jar of peanut butter in our pantry so we would not have too much of a culture shock and Narda brought Vegemite).
After a two and half hour flight delay – we are getting use to this, we arrived at Dalian airport where we were met by our new boss, the headmaster at DAIS. We learned a lot in our one hour drive to Campus Village – our new home, arriving five AM Saturday (Melbourne time, three AM). We got to bed at six AM – exactly 24 hours after leaving Melbourne. Now I am sort of awake and exploring our new home at 9 AM Saturday. Three hours sleep is enough though Narda seems to want more and I will be quiet.
My favourite tidbit on the way in is that here in the Dalian Development Area they have leveled three large hills. One of which was the largest in the area or province or whatever these sections are referred to. All done in eleven weeks of 24-hour earth movement. The dirt, rocks, fossils, trees and whatever that was in the way has been dumped along the sea where a new coast line is being constructed for the new city (a mere two-million population eventually) and the new industry of movie making. Hollywood folks have already been here putting in bids for studios. Gosh. It won’t all be done this weekend. Apparently they are only in the third of a ten-year plan. The film industry (Is it Chollywood?) is suppose to be like everything in China, a bit big. There will also be a marina for a yacht club. I want to be the token American/Australian old person in a sitcom here, wish me luck.
So our home. New, large two bed-room, big walk-in closets and two full bathrooms. All modern furniture which left us to say ‘what were we thinking?’ The fact is somewhere out there on the ocean blue is a lift-van, seven/six/five feet of our stuff steaming at a rapid rate to here. Full of “antiques”. We even sent a large desk (well it has been in the family for a long time) chests, bookshelves, dishes, junk and more junk. Where all those pirates when they are needed? Not only is there no room but basically, how embarrassing. It all looked good in our one-hundred year old house in upstate New York and our one-hundred year house in the hood in Jersey City, but here, heaven help us all.
We are excited about our school. Our headmaster is looking forward to our involvement and I have lots of ideas.
Well off to explore. And again thanks for letting us know that the Facebook/Twitter links work from this blog. We will make Narda’s OK to view soon.
cheers from over here
Swimming Pool at Dalian American International School
My biorhythm chart but I feel great so obviously these are nonsensical
So the flight is half an hour late leaving Melbourne and we have a tight connection in Shanghai. They put us up in first-class so we can be among the first to alight – nice way to arrive in China to begin our new life.
We rush out the door to the waiting bus but which sits there until it is full, making us wonder why we almost fell down the steps getting out of the plane. We are quickly processed with our new ‘Z’ working visas and run the full length of the airport to the domestic area in hopes we can still make our connecting 8.45pm boarding time to Dalian. We have too much stuff as always but fortunately it was just our several bags each of carry-on plus coats with pockets full of hard-drives, thumb-drives, phones, toothbrushes and what-not. Our baggage we don’t have to collect as it will hopefully get on the same flight as us.
We went to the wrong gate and galloped across the domestic terminal to get to the correct gate and panting/sweating/heart-failures we throw ourselves against the desk in hopes we can still get on our flight.
“The plane is not here yet you wait two more hours or more”.
They give us a pack of cookies and a drink. This happened in June on the way to Australia. They are always late but that time was worse as we were wiped out from flying from JFK and still had all the way to Australia yet to go and we had to wait five hours. That time it was the volcano in Chile giving us grief. I am not sure what it is this time.
But wait there is more – we are fine we have Internet and I still have another ten minutes on my battery.
Of course Facebook and Twitter is blocked so I have no way to know if my blog will be forwarded to either of those. If it is could someone write and let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org
We are excited only a few hours to go and we will be in the our new apartment in Dalian. It is 10.43 and the plane is suppose to leave at 11 though of course there is no movement at the station.
I grew up surrounded by bits and pieces and stories from/of China. Clifton Park New York in the 1960s was/is a long ways from anywhere.
I left ‘the farm’ when I was about 16 or 17 – there was a blurring effect toward the end of the 1960s. Firstly I went to Orlando Florida then Key West then New Orleans then San Francisco for the summer of love and New York City in between then on to Oregon and to Hawaii, and on and on with so many places and memories between then and now.
Growing up in upstate New York I heard the stories of my relatives who were missionaries. Some in Cambodia and Viet Nam and some in China. I still have a suitcase of silk robes and bound-foot wear from the 1930s before the missionaries were shown the way out of China.
We have been packing all year – that is eight months. Firstly it was our house in NYC and sending a 7X6X5 foot crate to Dalian and leaving a house of furniture then renting it out. Then there were the two houses in upstate New York with more stored stuff and now rented out so we can forget those belongings for the time being. In a long round-about route we ended up in Clifton Park in 2002 to look after my father who lived to three months short of 102 for four years before grabbing some teaching gigs in New York City for these past five years.
But it is here in Adelaide, South Australia where I lived for twenty-years the largest pile of the past has lived. A shed full. Now that the in-laws are in their 80s and moving into a smaller home we had to move our shed of crap to Narda’s son’s house in the hills. There were more than one-hundred boxes of the past and in one was the passport of my aunty from my childhood who went to China – in the 1930s. Now we are going to Dalian China for two years, not as missionaries – well missionaries of capitalism I suppose, but as school teachers. We have been to China four times in the past: Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. We never thought of living in China, we had planned to move to India but all these years after living in a house with a lot of items from China we are off to there in six days. I will take my aunty’s passport with me and perhaps leave it in China. I have spent a few hours on this chilly Saturday 23 July reading about missionaries in China in the 1930s. An interesting study but sorry mate and my family’s past but I left those beliefs behind back in the 1960s except for a seven year period (1969 – 1978) in a cult order that I would like to leave further behind than Clifton Park.
Notes at start of 2011-2012 school year For Integration of Technology 6 – 12.
I have had visiting visas in the past, Cambodia, Viet Nam, China (three times) and India. Other countries visited we did not need visas for: Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, The Netherlands [heaps as my wife is from there], do we count Canada?, Puerto Rico, All those British places [England, Scotland, Ireland], Germany, Italy, Korea, Greece, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Vatican City, New Zealand, Fiji, France and I suppose the two countries I am citizens of, USA and Australia and several I no longer recall.
Where was I?
So now it is a working visa, a two-year working visa. What a lot of paper work and preparation. So we have this pile of papers from China from our employer all set and ready to go but as there is no consulate in Adelaide we have to either post or front up somewhere with a consulate. The nearest is Melbourne and that is what our visa papers from Dalian say. But we are suppose to post them as there is no place in Adelaide but if we post then they have to go to Sydney but if they go to Sydney they won’t take them because the employer’s invitation says Melbourne and by the time we get the visa our plane would have left at the end of July. We decide one of us will deliver our passports to Melbourne and the other collect them a week later. Not so fast mate! An hour after we purchase Narda a ticket on Tiger airlines we get a phone call from the Chinese consulate in Melbourne wanting us to have a medical exam before filing. We had been told that we would get them in Dalian and not to do it here. They want x-rays too. So Narda cancels the flight and luckily Tiger lets us put it forward to the following week, in the meantime we rush around Adelaide seeing doctors and getting x-rays (something about seeing if we have TB) and by the end of the day we have everything in hand and get a ticket for the next day, Wednesday 29th June. We are up at 4 am and get Narda on the first flight out at 6 and she delivers our passports by ten AM. They want a Melbourne address, my son lives there so that works out, and we say we will pick them up a week later. Of course we are nervous for the rest of the week worried something might go wrong and we will never get to our jobs. The fact that we seem to worry too much and have a history of staying awake at night because of things that really work out well anyway is passed over and we worry some more. The Chinese had not rung us by Friday night which meant there was no problems with our visa request. Saturday morning I booked a flight on Qantas, for Tuesday 6th July. Saturday came the news that Tiger airlines was grounded for the next week because of safety issues. Luckily I was booked on Qantas.
To make a long story short, and the fact there is not much of a story except what we created as a worry in our head I collected our passports with work visas firmly pasted in, had lunch with my son, Sacha, and flew back to Adelaide. With 23 days left in Australia I will spend most of my spare time working on integration of technology. A lot of time will be spent going through what we stored in our shed a decade ago when we went off to New York, what a night mare. We left Adelaide to look after my then 98 year-old father in 2002. (see Narda’s blog on this http://blog.narda.us/) We had planned to be in New York for a couple of years. Now we leave behind three houses, all with some of our stuff in them and once again we are off to somewhere for two years. I really doubt we will spend a decade in China but who are we to predict the future? When do we retire?