What was living with my chinese in-laws like? I also share some random features in a chinese apartment with you. Sadly, the family also made me very mad at an occasion…
6. Living Situation
It’s planned that we will never stay in a hotel but live with family or friends depending in which city we are. I think that is rather tiring because at some point I want to close the door of my room and take a break and process all of the impressions. It feels like I will never have a break. There is always someone at home with whom I have to deal with (except for my boyfriend of course).
Well, of course there are many benefits when you live with the family. There are no additional expenses for a hotel room and you can spend more time together. My boyfriend and I always had our own room, which was a big plus. But after a week I was a bit sick of being a guest. You just can’t move freely in an apartment which isn’t yours. Being a guest for 3 weeks is really not my thing…
Living with the family:
We were supposed to live with my boyfriend’s aunt in their hometown (this was in week 2-3 of my stay). Her apartment was just too messy. There was not even room on any surface to put your phone down! When you want to sit down, you first have to make room on the couch for your butt! We arrived late at night, so we first slept there and in the morning my boyfriend and I decided to search for a hotel. I was scared that the aunt would be hurt and mad. My boyfriend told her we wouldn’t want to live with her because she lived on the 8th floor without a lift and we didn’t want to walk the stairs several times a day 😉 (A couple days later she gave me a disneyland Snow White necklace as present so I don’t think she was mad.)
It was difficult to find a hotel because not every hotel is allowed to have foreign guests. Hotels need a special permit to have foreign guests (so no cheap hotels for foreigners). We wanted to check a couple hotels out to find a clean one. Mother-in-law told a family friend (who is a police officer) to help us look for a room. But wait – here is what actually happened:
- Morning: We decide to not stay in aunts’ apartment.
- Noon: Boyfriend and I go for lunch (pizza hut with good cheese!!!).
- After lunch: We want to meet up with mother-in-law at grandfathers’ place. No one is at home.
- Later: Everybody comes home and hands us a key for a hotel room the police officer friend arranged.
Well, they surely had good intentions but we had no say in it! So typical! They didn’t even tell us that they went to look at hotels. The room wasn’t even clean and breakfast was horrible… I also read beforehand that you have to show your ID or passport when you book a hotel room. No one asked for our data.
Randomness in an apartment:
What first surprised me were chinese beds, showers and stoves.
Beds are so hard (even in the hotel)! They sleep on a regular sized mattress but inside is a wooden plank with a thin blanket on top. The pillow was also hard! It was filled with some kind of kernels. At first I thought my back would hurt so much when I sleep because I mostly sleep on the side and there is no “hip support”. I subconsciously always slept on my back and had no problems! My butt just hurt if my upper body was more lifted, for example when I read a book. In one apartment the bed was wayyyy too hard. There was no blanket on top of the wood. Even sleeping on the back was painful…
And the shower doesn’t exist (even in the hotel). There is a shower head but no cabin so you basically flood the whole bathroom. I don’t mind but I wouldn’t want it in my home…
I don’t know if they have a gas stove but I never saw a stove like this. Sometimes they had two hotplates but oftentimes just one. Therefore, they just cook one dish at a time and it takes a while if they want to cook several dishes. At first I thought the first dish which was brought to the table was our meal, so I would eat a lot. Then one more dish comes up, and then another one etc. Lessen learned: eat slowly and wait for the rest!