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  • Writer's pictureAnja

Good news, bad news

Well, what's new to tell? Let's start with the not so good:


Anja is not allowed to work for the time being!

Background (as we understand it - you always have to make up anything plausible from all these Chinese stories):

To be able to work in China, you need a work permit and a corresponding visa.

Denny got a PU letter from his company. This is probably a kind of invitation letter, which was approved by the government. With this, he was able to apply for a short-term business visa (M visa) at the Chinese embassy in Hamburg. Anja was given a short-term escort visa (S2 visa) to accompany him.

So much for the back story.

The school where Anja was to work as an executive assistant wanted to apply for a work permit for Anja. Unfortunately, this did not work out. The application was rejected.

When asked why, there was no answer. Except: There are no answers for this kind of thing. Through Denny's work we asked a man from the party to enquire at the ministry, all in consultation with an employee of the school. Here we got an answer: Since there have been one or two corona cases in the south of China, the ministry does not work in the north.

However, the school had had the necessary documents since August. Anja had signed the work contract since the end of July and even after several enquiries we were told that, for example, a PU letter to enter with an M visa was not feasible in the "short" time (we didn't even know when we could really enter), but we didn't have to worry, it would also work with the normal visa.

Nope, it didn't!

We'll leave all the other details, i.e. the human relations, out of this. But we can say this much: with one exception, there is room for improvement in the way people deal with each other and in their attitude to work.

Would you like to see a small excerpt?

An excel sheet to be filled in was sent by Anja. This is printed out, filled in by hand, photographed with the mobile phone and sent to Anja's private number for checking...... without words!


Since 15 November we are in our new flat. We had already reported about it in the last blog. Today there are a few new details.

We have three floors. Basement with its own garage and gym, living room and kitchen level and at the very top bedrooms. All in all it should be 240m². But the Chinese include the garage, terrace, unheated tile rooms and stairs as full square metres. So it's probably more like 140m².

The first thing we did was to remove almost all the bars in front of the windows. It felt a bit like being in prison... Then we threw all the bulky waste that was hidden in all the corners into rubbish. Denny refitted door panels that had fallen off, repaired wardrobe doors, tightened all the windows so they didn't leak, replaced broken light bulbs, straightened kitchen cupboard doors, screwed down a toilet, glued a hoover and negotiated with the landlady for a dishwasher. On the surface, everything here is quite nice, but as soon as you take a closer look: the heating in the study doesn't work, there's a draught in the kitchen through the vent, the laminate is warped and has gaps, in one bathroom the shower drains are set in on a mountain (the water is always in the shower and doesn't run off), there are stone window sills on all the windows - excellent cold bridges..., all the craftsman's or carpenter's work is poorly done, water damage is just painted over, sockets and light switches are loose, and on and on.

The cottage was handed over to us "deep clean". Well, Anja has been cleaning the deep-clean house since 15 November. The tiles on the walls were so dirty that it left black streaks when you wiped with a cloth, cobwebs in all corners, cupboards not wiped out, limescale on the taps, adhesive strips on the walls, dust in layers of years under the beds, curtains dark grey (even after washing they didn't turn white again), window frames with black streaks (landlord's comment: it won't come off -> but it will! With scouring milk and work), dirt in every conceivable corner and on the edges of the washbasin... In addition, a hoover that doesn't pull a herring off the plate and a mop that doesn't deserve the name...

So we still have a lot to do and optimise. Including new glasses, cutlery, cups and tableware. Because there was none. Neither was there a coffee machine or other kitchen utensils. But we now know that most Chinese neither cook nor bake. They order their food. Even breakfast. There is a lot of traffic in the compound in the morning because all the delivery services are out and about.

To the picture: The delivery man drives through the pedestrian entrance on his scooter.

But since this week we have seat cushions that are all the same colour and don't slip off the chair when you sit on them.

(Update: there were heating people there who cleaned the heating. After that, the heating in the study should work again. -> No, it still does not)


Our container is also a not so pleasant topic. We packed it on 22 September. We were told that it would take about 6-8 weeks for the container to reach China. We asked in quarantine and they said "everything is fine". When Denny asked again at the beginning of November, he was told in mid-November that the container had now been loaded onto the ship and would be there by the end of December. After that, it would have to go through customs for 2 weeks and would be with us around the middle or end of January.

German logistics then tell you fairy tales to explain why: That the container will only be shipped when the work permit has arrived and so on.

However, the fact that the German logistics colleague has made a mistake, sends emails to the wrong recipient, the wrong person doesn't say that he is the wrong person, the German colleague doesn't set a deadline and then tells us that he hasn't made a mistake, that's the last straw! We are still in the process of escalating this. But we don't have much hope of success.

If the container really arrives in January, we will already be in China for 14 weeks. In the depths of winter, without warm clothes. Denny didn't even have winter shoes until recently. And that at daytime highs of -5° Celsius.

By the way: one of Denny's colleagues, who flew 3 days before us, already got his container last weekend....

Enough complaining!

We can experience many things here that are not possible in Germany. Christmas market with mulled wine, bratwurst and waffles. A Christmas dinner with 300 people without a mask (in our old hotel), visits to restaurants, cinema shows and we even found a place to dance. So no disco, but dance training. :)

And ice on the lake!

And something else great: online shopping.

Since the malls here are so overwhelming and also too expensive, we discovered TaoBao for ourselves. This is more or less the Amazon of the western world. Everything is in Chinese, thanks to the translator, but it still works quite well most of the time.

You can get everything here at normal prices. However, it's always a surprise what quality actually arrives. Anja had ordered a dress. Measured according to the size chart, it should fit quite well. But the disappointment was great when a transparent flap with ruffles arrived. At least you can send them back.

Expectations vs. reality

After the second try, we have now found ski suits that fit us and don't look like a sack, even in partner look and really good. We haven't found anything like that in German shops. So if anyone wants one, let us know :)

Tools, towel racks, ice skates, energy-saving lamps, shoes, furniture, milk, water... there's everything. On the subject of ice skates: here too, it is now the third pair that Denny has ordered. The first pair were too small, the second pair had runners that were just a piece of sheet metal. But the third pair are good now and Denny is already looking forward to the weekend.

Because it's been so cold all the time, all the lakes and rivers here are frozen. It hasn't been above freezing here for weeks. For the next few weeks, the weather forecast says -21° degrees at night.

So the ice is already thick enough to walk on. But it still makes noise.

Glad that we had our kites in our hand luggage, we set off yesterday. A simple climbing harness replaces the harness lying in the container and a SUP pump works too. All you need is the matching end piece to the valve.

We are early birds, so we were already on the lake at 10:30. We held out until 14:00, because it's a bit cold. We had just packed up when the police came to shoo away all the people who were on the ice.

And at the end, a radish :)

Greetings from Anja & Denny

Hang in there and keep your feet still, we want to visit you in April and celebrate with you!

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