The Big Box

Chinese word of the day: 箱子
(xiang1zi) chest, box, case

After endless phone calls and much help from the wonderful Panda Wang, we decided that the best way to get our stuff back to Canada was to buy a big box and ship it by sea.  We don’t care how long it takes to arrive.  Accordingly we went back to the small commodities market and tried to buy one of the used equipment cases in one of the booths.  They wouldn’t sell just the case, because there was a flat screen TV inside it, but they did offer to make us a custom case for a great price:  1,100RMB = $203.13 Canadian at today’s exchange rate.  I suppose this is overkill for a shipping crate, but it sure is a beauty of a box.

The big box was delivered while we were away in Shuibian.  It was waiting for us on our return and it is very impressive. I hate to think what a box like this would cost in Canada, but I’m sure I couldn’t get one for two hundred bucks.  That wouldn’t cover the cost of materials, let alone the locks, wheels, and the rest of the hardware.

Picture:  the hardware on our big box.  Wuxi, China

Picture: Ruth in the process of packing the big box. Jiangnan University, Wuxi, ChinaSo next came the loading.  Ruth considers herself a master of the use of space, and I don’t argue with that assessment.  She packed the box with everything long, big, or heavy that we thought has enough value to justify the shipping cost.  She made everything fit so snugly that nothing is going to rattle or bump into anything else. The list includes my old dead Mac, which I want for parts when I get home, a classical guitar, a banjo, two mandolins, two erhu, two pipa, three Chinese drums, two Chinese chess tables with stands, a suitcase full of video gear, our lighting kit, my heavy duty tripod and microphone boom, and a whole pile of bits and pieces,  the whole packed in with sheets and clothing.  Loaded the box weighed between 200 and 300 kg., far too heavy for us to carry down the stairs.  So so that called for documenting how things fit, emptying the box, taking the box down to the yard, and filling it up again.

Picture:  The boys from the shipping company ready to take the box away.  Jiangnan University, Wuxi, ChinaNothing is ever Simple Here in China

We expected the moving company to bring in a truck to take our box away.  But that would be too easy.  The guards wouldn’t allow the truck on campus.  So the two guys from the moving company walked the box to the little East gate.  Good thing it was on wheels.

Picture:  Walking the big box to the little East gate.  Jiangnan University, Wuxi, ChinaIn the photo above he is calling Panda to ask why the foreigners are following them.  Don’t we trust them?  We got Panda to explain that we just wanted to see the box go on to the truck, and take some pictures.

Picture:  Loading the big box onto the truck.  Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China

-Ruth Anderson photo

I think it was a good thing they had my help getting the box onto the truck.  I was surprised to find that they had no loading planks, which would have made the job easy.

There are still a lot of questions around this shipment.  The shippers were reluctant to take it without sending it through a customs broker.  Supposedly no broker is needed if we send it by air, and simply declare that goods are to follow us when we clear customs, but that would cost a fortune.  For some unknown reason, sending it by sea will call for a customs broker.  That will also more than double the cost, according to their estimate.  So we sent it off and told them we will arrange for a customs broker when it arrives in Vancouver.  No doubt that will take some phone calls and discussion, but at least we can do that in English.

Our Panda Has Flown from the Nest

Panda has been sleeping on our living room floor for the past couple of months while she gets her business doing medical/dental liaison for foreigners up and running.  It’s been just wonderful having her as a house guest, and we hate to see her move out.  But her timing was very good.  She’s found a really classy apartment close to the South gate of the campus.

Picture:  Panda Wang with her parents.  Jiangnan University, Wuxi, ChinaToday her parents are visiting from Nangong near Beijing.  They took us out for dinner last night, yet another feast, and will cook dumplings in our apartment this evening.

That’s it for Classes

It’s been an emotional couple of days.  This morning I had my last class in China.  I can’t really believe that it’s been nine years since this adventure began, nor that it’s now coming to an end.

Picture:  My final class with 10BA1.  Jiangnan University, Wuxi, ChinaFor the most part, I’ve enjoyed teaching in China and loved my students.  I’m going to miss them, and miss this lifestyle.

I Do Love Chinglish

I snapped this picture while we waited at a stop light.  All they needed was the letter B and and a bit of letter shuffling and they would have had it right.

Picture:  Chinglish sign on a car trunk.  "Baby on Road" Wuxi, China

2 thoughts on “The Big Box

  1. When I saw darling Gou Gou being packed off to Canada I felt rather teary. I remember looking after her for a few days while you went off for a weekend back in 2007. And now all your beautiful things are packed away. I cannot believe the hour has nearly come. I am going to miss you guys. You are part of my China.

    Zai jian in Canada some day.
    Love you both tons.

    • It sure is a bitter sweet parting, Elaine. These past few days we’ve had a stream of visitors, mostly young people we have grown to love. Winkle came all the way from Shanghai today just to say goodbye to us. I’m excited to be picking up the strings of my Canadian life again, but we sure are leaving a lot behind. The emperor came off the wall, and is now packed in a box for mailing to Canada. We’ve spent the day going through all the memorabilia, trying to decide what to keep, what to give away, and what to trash.

      Friends like you are so much of what made the China experience fantastic for us. Maybe we’ll see you in Israel or Australia or Canada, or even back here in China someday. Keep in touch.

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