Monday, August 14, 2006

Moving in Shanghai

August 14, 2006

How much can you move by bike? That continues to be the refrain for our life in Shanghai.

On Monday we moved from a townhouse in one compound to a villa in the next compound; both compounds owned by the same management company. Detailed agreements were struck in June over the renovations needed – walls added or moved, walkways, shelving, closets, etc. Suffice it to say that on Sunday afternoon (2 months later), there were still 10 workers doing things in the house and a list of items that would not be ready for move in. Meanwhile, reception is muttering about being able to move us as there was another move scheduled for that day (they had agreed to move all of the furniture and appliances; after all, they own them).

Promptly at 9, May and Sophia from the relocation firm arrived, the Asian Tigers staff arriving to pack up our stuff, and, of course, no sign of the housekeeping staff to move the furniture. As packing begins, I head to the new house to see how ready it might be ... it was still crawling with people fixing various things. Here’s the front of the house, missing the lawn that will come when the weather cools down.

Eventually housekeeping shows up and the furniture begins to be loaded – by 2 men with a tricycle. The first load arrives – a sofa and loveseat. Douglas has followed them over so he could find the way.

And so the day continued, one load after another; eventually involving 4 men and two tricycles.

Lunch break was called at 11:15 – seemed a bit early, but particularly when 2:00 rolled around and they still weren’t back! Now to be fair, I think a couple of the guys were diverted to cleaning a chandelier. We won’t mention that they had been reminded to clean it on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday! Nonetheless as the skies darkened and only the first floor furniture (of a 4 story house) had been moved, Tim had visions of soaking wet mattresses, and I just kept saying “all I need are my beds.” But then I wasn’t expecting my mattress to get into the house this way ....

It’s now Friday and most of the boxes are unpacked and things put away. There’s a bit more organization needed, pictures to be hung, and of course, things to be fixed about the house; not to mention the eventual lawn. But we’re all pleased with our new home. The house is much brighter and more spacious in the areas we use the most. Guests may find their accommodations a little less luxurious than before and Douglas practically sits on his TV in his den, but it definitely feels more like a home.

So what can you move by bike? Imagine a house with 3 bedrooms, office and den and all its furniture, not forgetting the washer and dryer. THAT can be moved by bike all in one day.


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