forty-two stairs from the street

1 Mar

I kept thinking that I would take pictures of my apartment once I got it all cleaned up and set up nicely. Specifically, I’m in the middle of convincing the school to buy new curtains, since the current ones are depressing and ugly. Also, I’m hoping to get something decorative to hang on the walls, whether it’s art or fabric, because they are pretty bare. And the walls aren’t just naked–right now, they’re scarred and marked with tape and poster putty. This is one of the ways that this apartment reminds me of cheap, off-campus student housing. It just feels like a place that has had a parade of tenants occupying it short term and bearing little responsibility for maintenance or improvement. Probably a pretty on-target summation, since the school owns the apartment and has been stashing foreign teachers here for 10 years.

The quest for curtains and wall decorations has proved slow-moving, so I give up. Here is a pictorial tour of my Jiujiang apartment.

We’ll start with the living room. It’s fairly well-appointed, all things considered. And at least the wooden furniture isn’t covered in hideous upholstery (that’s a fleece throw over the back of the couch).

Here’s another angle. Doesn’t that couch look temptingly comfortable? I bet you just want to cuddle up on those wooden slats and take a nap, as the planks realign your spine and the grain of the wood becomes branded into your hip. Also, notice the Bob Marley poster some previous foreign teacher left on the wall. At first I couldn’t wait to take him down, but now he’s kind of grown on me. I feel like maybe I should leave him there so he can continue to welcome new tenants long after I’m gone.

Now, on to the bathroom. The bathroom is two rooms. The first houses the sink, mirror, and washing machine. The second houses the toilet and shower. And yes, I have to hold my shower head in my hand and point it at myself. It could be worse–as recently as the late 1990’s, some foreign teachers in China had to shower using a cup and a bucket of water.

Room one:

Room two:

And, finally, my bedroom. You can’t see it, but against the wall opposite the bed there’s a small vanity with a mirror and chair.

There’s a second bedroom, as well, which is smaller and also houses the only wardrobe in the apartment. It has a queen bed just like my bedroom, but between the bed and the wardrobe there’s barely room to walk around, which is why I don’t sleep in there. But, hey, if any of you are ever traveling along the Yangtze, I’ve got an extra bed and I’d love the company!

I also have a kitchen, but to be honest I didn’t feel like doing the dishes at this exact moment just so that I could take a picture, so that will have to wait for another post.

Like every apartment I’ve ever moved into, this apartment was not as clean as I think it should have been. I spent days on the bathroom alone (yes, the pictures above are the cleaner, much improved bathroom!). The apartment is really large for one person, though, and it has been maintained–it’s not falling apart. It’s not what I’m used to, but it’s more than sufficient.

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9 Responses to “forty-two stairs from the street”

  1. Caitlyn March 1, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    I want to come visit!

  2. Erin March 2, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    I wish you could! It would be so epic.

  3. Kathy March 2, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    Bob Marley

    I vote for keeping Bob Marley,but you know I like Bob Marley…Three little birds on my doorstep..singing sweet songs,a melodies pure and true, singing this is my message to you.. Singing Don’t worry, about a thing.. every little thing is going to be alright!

    • Erin March 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

      I think for now I’ll keep him. And, honestly, even if I find something cheerier to hang on that wall, I’ll probably just relocate him to another wall!

  4. kjschnur March 2, 2011 at 5:39 am #

    hi there

  5. Jessica March 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    I like the looks of the living room, though I’m not a big fan of the Bob Marley poster. I am, however, a fan of the blue sink. It’s all a lot bigger than I expected!

    • Erin March 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

      Thank you for all the comments! The apartment is pretty nice, all things considered. My one real complaint was cleanliness, and I believe that had more to do with previous tenants than with the school…there were dirty dishes in the cupboard, for example!

      Now that I’ve put in the elbow grease to get it clean, I’m pretty happy with it!

  6. Jessica March 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    P.S. I like the BNL reference in your title. Reminds me of our apt in Ann Arbor! : )

    • Erin March 3, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

      Me, too! In fact, that song was playing the day I moved out of that apartment (and it was raining…and Bill Clinton was on tv denying having sex with Monica Lewinsky). But every time I’ve heard that song since, it’s reminded me of that apartment!

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