All I Need is the Air That I Breathe…

So I woke up yesterday to find an alert on my phone.

It’s this nifty little China Air quality app I have.  Normally it only tells me the number for the air quality (both the US embassy number and the “official” Chinese number.  Note there’s a difference!  This is apparently a bone of contention with the Chinese gov’t, and they have request the US to stop posting numbers.  But I digress.)

Anyway, apparently the app, when it gets to “If I were you, I’d wear a mask” levels, actually sends a warning. The school took us around Beijing yesterday (more on that in a minute), so I was able to snap a few photos from the thick of it, as it were.  Here’s what 240 looks like:

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We had this 9 hour tour yesterday of all the different areas we could live in, with many of the faculty opening up their apartments so we could get an idea of what is available and the cost. It was loads of fun, actually. WAB is known as the drinking school apparently, someone said, and there were beverages of all sorts on the bus, China trivia quizzes, and tons of food at each of the apartments, all ending with a barbecue at the apartments downtown.

Now, let me preface this by saying an agent took me hunting about two weeks ago, and I was seriously depressed afterwards.  He was showing me $1100 dollar dives–small, filthy, and falling apart.  I put in a bid on one small but very nice apt near the school.  The landlords wanted $2200, I offered $2,000, but it took them so long to accept, that I was past my notice date for our temporary apartments, so I had to turn it down.

Thank God!  When I saw the large, airy, beautiful flats most people were living in for around $1500, I was so glad it didn’t work out!  So I am now hopeful I’ll find something lovely and affordable.  Of course, all 47 of us newbies are now vying for flats in the same buildings, so it may be something of a free-for-all as we try to get places by the end of Sept.

I know where I want mine.  Everyone send up prayers and positive thoughts that I do!


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