Thursday, August 9, 2012

Look What the Storm Blew In

On Tuesday morning, Chris and I got the email that every expat looks forward to when moving to a new country.

I let out a "woot" in the middle of the Metro station when I read this email!
After 58 days without our personal affects, our airfreight passed Chinese quarantine, customs, and was ready to be delivered! Chris and I were elated, to say the least.  Why the delay?  In China, you can’t get your airfreight until you have your work and residence visas.  (We did not get our visas until 2 weeks after we moved here.)  After you get your visas, your boxes are shipped to China, sit in quarantine for a week, and are inspected.  Finally, they are cleared for delivery.  It’s a piece of cake.

As noted in my prior posts, nothing about this move has been predictable or easy.  Unfortunately this includes getting our airfreight.

Around 3:00 pm yesterday, we got the following message from China Unicom, my cellphone provider. 

“Meteorological Observatory issued the Shanghai Typhoon Warning Center, in the middle of the night from the 7th typhoon severe storm impact on the city, the cumulative rainfall of 250-400 mm, wind 8-11 grade, pay close attention to the typhoon warning, and to strengthen prevention.”

This was going to be no big deal.  We had two typhoons last week that produced a little drizzle and a breeze.  We could move boxes in that. 

One hour later, we received a similar email from the American Consulate in Shanghai. Suddenly, I had a feeling the shipment may be further delayed due to the weather.  My hunch was confirmed with this email.

Thank you very little Mother Nature. 

The next morning, we woke to the worst typhoon China has seen since 2005.  Sheets of sideways rain were flooding the streets, and for the first time our neighborhood was pretty much empty. 
A typhoon was a GREAT excuse to take the new rain boots for a test drive.

A taxi splashes down the street outside our apartment complex.  The water was about 4" deep on the sides of the road.

Chris got a “Typhoon Day”, so we hung around the apartment and worked on our laptops.  Around 9:00 AM, we got the call.

Chris gets down to business.

“Hello, this is AGS Four Winds.  We would like to deliver your airfreight today, but it may be a little late due to the typhoon.  Would 3:00 pm be okay for you?”   

I could not believe it!  The movers were going to brave the flooded streets and gusting winds so I could get my stuff!!!  I felt like a giddy child on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to drop off my loot. 

The moving crew arrived at our place at 2:30.  They were able to move 35+ boxes from the truck to our apartment in 20 minutes.  

The movers were amazed that we had so many boxes of air freight.

Chris counted the boxes, signed the paperwork and the movers were on their way.

The next four hours were similar to Christmas morning. We gleefully ripped through our goods one box at a time.  The movers had packed everything in the States, so we found some surprises in the boxes.   

I did not expect our movers to pack the Sweet N Low and Equal!  Thank goodness they did; it is impossible to find good artificial sweetener packets around here.

This is my dream-mare.  I have to completely reorganize my scrapbooking room/ office. I see an IKEA visit in my future!
I am having packer's remorse...we don't have space for all of our glassware.  Did I really need to bring my snowmen and pilgrim salt and pepper shakers?

It is amazing how a few personal touches can make an apartment feel like a home.

In spite of the typhoon, Shanghai is starting to feel like home.