March 6 Ordinary Life, Longhua

This blog entry is more about some of the ordinary things that I do or see nearly everyday when I am here in Longhua.

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Tress getting new leaves for springtime, as seen from my dorm room window

This is the view from the window of Jeff’s dorm room, in the apartment complex that Foxconn built in Longhua, called Century City, where I spend most of my time. I know that Jeff would like to be up higher, on the 6th or 7th floor of this building. But I like being so close to the tree tops, and listening to the birds here on the 3rd floor. It is also nice to overlook the pool and courtyard. The shorter, eight story buildings in the above photo are the ones in our Century City complex. The tall buildings behind them are part of a new, multi-building apartment complex being built next to us. (There is lots of construction noise during the daytime hours.)

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Vans parked in the courtyard next to the cafeteria

This photo shows a typical morning and evening scene, with vans parked in the courtyard below. All Foxconn employees at Director level or higher can request a car (van) and driver to take them to and from work, and to other places on Sunday, the one day when they are not working. This L-shaped dorm building where Jeff has his room is all single rooms. As such, you need to be a Director level or higher to get assigned a room in this building. The other buildings have shared rooms, similar to very small two bedroom apartments, that have 2-4 people living in them. Because everyone living in this building can request a driver and van, I often see them parked in the courtyard below.The cafeteria is located on the first floor, where you can see the red rug in front of the doors with light coming out of the entrance.

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Breakfast items for sale on a table near the pool and bus boarding area

Also, in the morning, they set up a table near the pool to sell “grab and go” breakfast items like steam buns and tea eggs and egg sandwiches. It is very popular with the employees, who can just stop by and get something to eat on the bus to work. Foxconn runs buses from 7-8 am, and 6-8 pm Monday through Saturday to take employees from this complex to work at the big Foxconn facility nearby. Jeff usually rides the bus, instead of requesting a driver. I think that he prefers to do that so he can talk to other people on the way to and from work.

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Ann getting ready to eat dinner in the cafeteria

Here I am in the cafeteria getting ready to eat dinner. This is a typical dinner that they serve, with a small portion of meat, two stir fried vegetables, soup (in the covered cup), and a condiment side dish like pickled radish. You can also get rice to eat with your meal, and tea to drink. The food is pretty good, and the pan-fried small fish is one of my favorites, so I order it often. Jeff and I usually eat dinner in the cafeteria 5 or 6 times a week, and breakfast from the cafeteria 6-7 times a week. In the morning, Jeff goes down to get the food and brings it back up to the room for us to eat. I am a slow starter in the morning, and it is hard for me to get up and dressed by 6 am, so he brings it upstairs so I can eat it in my pajamas. I usually make instant coffee while I wait for him to bring up the food for breakfast.

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My “kitchen”

We have a very small fridge and a microwave in our room. We also have a water filter/heater that cleans and heats the tap water so we can safely drink it. That is all there is, so I can make hot drinks, and store and reheat food, but not cook. (This is very much like a college dorm room!) That is why there is a cafeteria in the building. The cafeteria can get quite crowded at dinnertime, because the employees who live in the other buildings often eat dinner in the cafeteria, even though they have small kitchens in their shared rooms. The breakfast food is very good, too. Jeff often brings up yogurt and stir fried vegetables and steam buns, etc. that I eat later for lunch in my room.

Oh, my hair is wet in the above photo because I did my workout right before dinner, and had just gotten out of the shower when we went downstairs to eat. Usually, I  workout in my room before I eat lunch. There is a gym upstairs on the top floor of this building, but it is only open from 5-7 am and 5-11 pm. Jeff uses it when I am not here, and we both use it when the weather is hot and sticky outside, but I prefer to work out in my room  mid-day, and walk around the apartment complex in the afternoon when the weather is nice, like right now. I am just not awake enough to exercise first thing in the morning, and I am often too tired to exercise at night.

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Jeff standing next to the LED lights for Chinese New Year’s decorations wrapped around the trees lining the road to the entrance to the Century City complex

Okay, after having said that I don’t like to exercise at night, the above picture was taken when Jeff and I were out walking after dinner. We usually go out walking or jogging around the Century City complex after dinner, because we have found that this helps to keep Jeff’s blood sugar lower overnight. It is also a good time to buy fresh fruit from the two vendors who set up their carts to sell fruit right by the entrance gate from 5-10 pm. I was very happy when they put up the lights back in the beginning of February because I get to see them almost every night when we go out walking or jogging!

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Jeff rinses his dishes with hot tea before eating in a local restaurant

This is a photo of Jeff demonstrating a local custom. When you eat out in a local restaurant, you are supposed to rinse all of your dishes. including your chopsticks, with hot tea from your table’s tea pot before you eat off of them. You are supposed to do this even if  they come to the table shrink wrapped in plastic because they have been through a heat sterilizer. You are supposed to do this even in fancy restaurants. This always seemed silly to me, and a waste of good tea. If the dishes look clean, why rinse them and potentially make a mess at your table? But I do it anyway.

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Jeff sitting at a table for lunch in a local vegetarian restaurant

These photos were taken when we went out to eat at a local vegetarian restaurant. When we go out to eat, I like to eat at the vegetarian restaurants. There aren’t many of them here, so it has taken us a while to find them. The food is always good, it’s healthy, and I don’t have to carefully try to pick bone bits, etc., out of my food before I eat it! The common Chinese style of cooking is to use a meat cleaver to cut meat into small, chopstick size pieces, bone, gristle, cartilage, skin, and all, and then cook it. So I always have to eat soup made with meat, or vegetables stir fried with meat, for example, very carefully. I don’t have to do this in vegetarian restaurants, which is something I appreciate!

I will end this blog entry with something else I appreciated. I saw this sign in a subway station in downtown Shenzhen. In a city of immigrants, I thought that it was wonderful that the local government would put a sign like this up where so many people could see it

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Shenzhen subway sign that says “You Are A ShenZhener Once You Come Here”

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