Heeeeey, guys.

Lot's of good stuff happening. 

First, we're in our new apartment now. The landlord is young, accommodating, funny, and took great care of the place (his mom and dad were living here before us). It's smaller than we wanted, a little more expensive, but it's going to make for a much better first year. Oh, and we bucked up a little cash for an Ikea run to make it feel more like it's ours. Rugs, a few pillows, a repeat of Rob's favorite lounge chair (he was SO sad to sell the one we had in Houston), a little storage, and some lamps.  Photos? Soon.

Second, I'm working for the School of Music doing English documents and liason-y stuff. It's still kind of confusing and I don't know what the long range plan is, but at least I am useful on a small scale. And maybe I'll be able to help kickstart a more effective system for the administration over time. And my co-workers are lovely, so that's a plus.

Third, I think our shipment will be delivered in the next 2 weeks. We tried to to the paperwork for customs on our own, but it's reallyreallyreally complicated, so we gratefully accepted the help of a logistics agent who managed another faculty member's import. Long story short, we would have paid the same amount of money to travel back and forth to Shanghai to pick up  a paper, have it stamped in Suzhou, take it back to Shanghai customs, bring a new form back to be filed with Suzhou customs, pick up an approval and take it back to Shanghai... so we might as well pay someone to navigate the red tape on our behalf. P.S. this will be a story aaall by itself.

Fourth, it has been getting more and more pleasant outside and the best is still to come. We discovered that many of the rooftop accesses are unlocked and open, so a great evening view of the area has been a real treat. A group of professors are planning to split the cost of a barbeque. 

Fifth, on the whole, we're loving the company and contributions of the majority of the new team. There are two people who have awfully skewed expectations of what they should and should not have a say in regarding planning, what should be just given to them (services and comforts), and how little they should have to try out the culture for themselves. I really hope the dynamic shifts with them and they find a "happy place" because the rest of the faculty is full of good attitudes, a willingness to dive in and do, and are happily fumbling their way through Chinese cultural conventions. We've had some crazy-fun card game evenings and potluck parties and laugh-filled impromptu meetings with a bunch of other professors, so getting this program up and running might be tough, but it's going to be good. Good peeps. 

Sixth, we're ready to start rolling on planning for getting Miles and Eddie over here. I am beyond excited. It's been way too long as a non-pet-owner. Scratching a soft doggy head or rubbing a little cat chin when you're having a crappy day is the best remedy.

Seventh, I think I might be managing the whole two-week international recruitment tour for the School of Music in November and December. I'm making arrangements for concert venues and travel, but I think that also means I get to tag along. Seoul, Taipei, Singapore, HongKong, Shanghai, and Beijing.

Check in with you guys later!


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