I was pleasantly surprised to see the teachers' apartments. There are six floors of units - with four on each level in our building. The doors are metal, and a bit tricky to open, but once inside it is OK. (I don't think it would be easy for anyone to break down the door!)
The apartments have two large bedrooms - (much bigger than my one at home) with a Queensized bed, two bedside tables, a desk, and a wardrobe.
In the main "living room" there is a timber table with four chairs (in my case only two were safe to sit on!), and a TV and phone in one corner on a "entertainment cabinet". (I have found one television station in English - where if you miss the program one day, it is repeated the next!)
A little kitchen with two gas burners, a microwave and a hot water system, a huge sink, and marble benches - no drawers, and in my case almost nothing else. There were two glasses, a grotty mug, a small tea cup, and three plates.
The bathroom is quite good - large with two hand basins, the shower and toilet. The shower is really just a corner of the room and a shower curtain, so after showering one has to mop up all the water with a squeegee. The toilet is pretty much a western toilet, with two flush buttons, just like home. However, there is a trick to making them function correctly (which I won't go into here), but easy when you know how.
In the living room there is a fridge/freezer, and something that looks like a water cooler. It is in fact a water sterilizer - with big bottle on the top and two taps. One for boiling water, and the other for warm water. Water directly out of taps is not potable. (My water machine makes awful noises - like a buffalo drowning.)
Also in a corner is a Chinese washing machine - no instructions, either in English or Chinese. I wonder if I will find it easier to wash by hand?
I have had to purchase eating utensils, glasses, dishcloths, towels, tea towels - almost everything, and I still have a small list of things to get to make my life more comfortable.
I have the two bedroomed apartment to myself at this point - which has advantages and disadvantages. I've been able to choose the best room without negotiation (it has the softer mattress - the other one was like sleeping on granite!), and as I have my laptop I don't need the Chinese computer. (I hope my roommate, if I get one, can manage the Chinese one, or bring her own laptop.) I understand three new teachers from Australia are due in the next few weeks.
I have bought one small lamp - the bright lights of the fluorescent lights in my bedroom and the loungeroom cry out for a dimmer switch, so it is easier to purchase a couple of lamps. I have one on my bedside table, and will get another one for the living room.
Oh, I almost forgot. I have a couch - something that no one else has. It is a bit faded, but it is a three seater, and is good if I want to watch television or have guests. (The wooden chairs are a bit hard to sit on all the time, so I am lucky!)
I must say there are some foreign teachers who have been here for long periods, and they do spend money on making their apartments more comfortable. I think the bare walls will get to me at some stage, and I'll find it necessary for some decor. I'd love a pot plant too. An orchid perhaps?
(My apartment is on the fifth floor and there are no lifts/elevators. I have already lost weight!!!)