Our Home Away From Home . . .

Well, the Ochsner family has been home over a month now.  We had some posts we still wanted to write even though our time in China is over.  I had always wanted to share with our readers where we lived and a peek into our daily life.  This post is to give you a glimpse and help remind me someday of our “home away from home”!

Here is our apartment building.  We lived on the seventh floor (you can’t see our windows from this viewpoint . . . our porch was on the other side of the building).  We were told that buildings with six floors or less are not built with elevators.  We were thankful in this case we lived on the seventh floor (no noise from neighbors above us) and it had a working elevator!  We will always remember stepping onto the elevators with other building tenants and them automatically pushing number seven.  I guess word got around that we were their new neighbors. :o)  Most other tenants were associated with the university as faculty or in administration.

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We were thankful for a partially furnished, spacious (for Beijing standards) apartment for our months living on campus.  We had four bedrooms and two bathrooms.  The apartment came with our living room furniture (including couch and two chairs, TV, TV stand, and coffee table), dining room table with four chairs (we had to buy four more), a refrigerator, a large bed for Tyson and I (not a king, but bigger than a queen), a full size bed for the girls’ room, a wardrobe in the master bedroom, and some cabinets we used for storage in the boys’ room.

This is the master bedroom which had sliding doors that led into an enclosed porch and had an adjoining master bathroom.

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This is the girls’ bedroom.  The desk originally was in our master bedroom until Audrey started to need it to do her school during the fall.  The girls had the fun experience of sharing a bed . . . which was beneficial when the nights got cold, but also could be annoying when you woke up and your sister was in your space!

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This was the boys’ room.  We had to purchase the bunk beds and crib for our stay and were thankful friends could use them after we left.  They had a spacious room, but also was the hottest room during the summer and the coldest room in the winter!

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This was Scarlett’s bedroom.  It was quite small, but offered her a place of her own to retreat to when she had had enough of our family!

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The kitchen had a small sink and two burners.  A couple months into our stay, a new friend loaned us her small oven (more like a glorified toaster oven) that we kept in the living room (next to the refrigerator).  We boiled water constantly in the electric pot to wash fruit, brush teeth with, and drink.  How thankful we have been to just go to the tap water here in the States and drink the water!  We also lived without a dishwasher and microwave (which I use daily here in our home in the States!).  The machine on the wall is our hot water heater (which supplied the hot water for all of the apartment).

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Here is the little porch off the master bedroom that served as the “drying room” for our clothes and the kids’ play room (mostly housing the K’nex my parents brought over).  I was thankful for this little extra space for them to use to play in, but didn’t like the mold that liked to grow on the walls!

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Of all the appliances we lived without, the clothes dryer was the most difficult not to have for me.  A family of seven (eight with Scarlett) generates a lot of dirty clothing.  The drying racks we bought would either be on the enclosed porch (on sunny days) to dry the clothes or placed in front of the machine below (which was our A/C unit in the summer and electric heater in the winter).  It’s one thing to not dry your shirts, but when you have to air dry socks, underwear, jeans, and towels . . . it becomes kind of a nuisance!  Since coming home to the US, I have yet to complain about doing the laundry!

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I’m so thankful for the accommodations that were provided for us in our time living in China.  Through our living experience there, I realized how many conveniences I take for granted here in the States!  I hope this has given you a glimpse of “our home away from home” and how we lived for five months!

Thanks for reading!

–Stephanie

Nanjing: The Last Hurrah

Our very last large adventure was to the beautiful, beautiful city of Nanjing. Nanjing was once the capitol of China before Beijing and is now known as “the southern capitol”. In my opinion, Nanjing was the most beautiful city we visited in China. The weather while we were there was gorgeous and we got to tour some beautiful parks including Purple Mountain and the Nanjing City Wall. The purpose of this last trip was to visit a scholar that had trained with Dad at OSU and she set up us in a beautiful hotel adjoining a really nice park. It was during this trip I realized how very much I had missed the countryside, nature, and the sounds of birds even. Continue reading “Nanjing: The Last Hurrah”