We do not have to move to Changlian! We are staying in Yueyang for the duration of our contracts (which end February 17th, 2011)!
Praise God that He softened the hearts of the people we work for. About a month ago, we agreed (under pressure) to move to Changlian, the factory associated with the college here. When we agreed to do so, it had been raining for a few weeks so the pollution was not at its normal state. Also, we were still adjusting to the time zone and our work environment. All this to say that we weren’t fully aware of the exact situation.
As weeks passed without any word on us moving, we assumed that our employers had been unable to locate a suitable apartment for us. We adjusted to our surroundings and realized that moving to Changlian would be awful. First of all, Changlian is located in an industrial belt in central China in between two of the world’s twenty most polluted cities. The pollution and smog is atrocious at best. It is hard on our lungs and respiratory systems. I am developing colds and asthma-like symptoms. Secondly, Changlian has a population of only 30,0o0 compared to the population of 600,000 in Yueyang. In the US, these would be decently sized cities. In China, they are small and miserably small. Yueyang is small enough; there are no 3rd places to go (places other than work and home in which to chill, ie coffee shops, bookstores, libraries, etc). Changlian has no Western influences at all. Also, we would be trapped and watched like a hawk. I would feel like I was living life in a glass box – trapped while on display for all. So, because we value our health and our freedom (can anyone say American???) we decided that moving to Changlian wasn’t for us.
And then we were surprised the day before our 10 day vacation with news that we were scheduled to move the day we got back from traveling. Needless to say, this was not a happy surprise. After prayer and discussion, we emailed one of our employers and explained the situation, offering to go ahead with the move if it was too inconvenient, but stating our reasons and preference to stay in Yueyang. And then we waited. And waited. Apparently that particular person does not have access to a computer at home (really? in 2010 this still happens?). After communicating via text with him, we found out today that we are allowed to stay in Yueyang! My lungs, along with the entire rest of me, are extremely excited!