The wise words of my aunt Susie: They don't call it culture shock for nothin. She isn't lying.
Traveling to Guiyang wasn't as bad as predicted. In total, we racked up about 35 hours of travel but Carl and I were very excited/anxious to arrive. My first indication that we were in for a shock was when I went to the bathroom and had my first encounter with a Turkish toilet (basically a porcelain hole in the ground). Our manager came to pick us up from the airport and brought us to our apartment. While driving, we saw towering buildings, building cranes and lots and lots of traffic. We were grateful to step on solid ground after our first and only trip in a car in Guiyang - the drivers here are how should we say...aggressive. Lots of honking, yelling, slightly reminiscent of Cruisin' USA the old arcade game.
After 8 flights of stairs, we entered our new home. Its a nice place - the living room is really nice and the bedroom is very accommodating with lots of storage. Our bed is big, but kind of like sleeping on a box spring sans mattress. The kitchen is small, but we have a microwave, fridge and a portable, ceramic burner for cooking. We tried to use the burner for the first time this morning and by the end smoke was billowing into the living room along with the smell of burned eggs. Baby steps, I guess. Our biggest shock was our bathroom. It is a Turkish toilet in the middle of the floor and then a shower head directly above it. In our mind, we were going to have a western toilet and shower in separate areas, but so it goes. After 2 weeks here, I've almost gotten used to it which is promising. We have a lovely water heater which saves us every morning for our biggest nemesis...the cold.
Indoor heating has not yet reached the majority of Southern China. The temperature outside is currently around 32 degrees F, and the temperature inside hovers around 40. Our lifesaver (our space heater) brings our bedroom temperature to a balmy 49 degrees. We usually spend our time at home huddled under the blankets. One of the first things our manager said to me at the airport was "You do have Winter clothes, yes?" I was wearing some yoga pants for the flight and looked absurdly out of place walking through the airport. I gave a short laugh and said "Oh yeah, but I just spent the last week in Wisconsin and its really cold there. This is nothing." How silly of me.
In any case, we are getting used to our apartment here; putting up pictures, scrubbing down the kitchen and bathroom and buying some new sheets for our bed, is getting us closer to calling this new place home.