(written by Leah K)
In Shenyang, we live in an area called New Hun nan District. It is located just south of the huge river in this picture. This is the newest district in the city, as it was built for the 2008 Winter Olympics. The soccer stadium for the big event is located right across the street from our apartment complex. It’s a massive arena that doesn’t seem to be used for much of anything anymore. Looks cool though?
New Hun nan District is evolving at such a rapid rate that I notice new stores and apartments daily. The apartment complex Nick and I live in has forty buildings. Can you imagine forty 32 story buildings? It takes us almost 10 minutes to walk out of the complex and onto a main road. A year before we moved into SR International New Castle there were only 2 buildings. Now there are forty. Talk about rapid growth!? It’s hard to walk down the street with out hearing a hammer, saw, or power drill. Since there are so many new developments in my neighborhood, dust tends to pick up and blow around. A LOT. My friends an I call the area that we live in the dirty south. Chinese call it the muddy south. Also, the Gobi Desert doesn’t help the situation, taking over Northeast China with it’s dust storms.
All of the dust makes it difficult to have a clean house. Since Nick and I don’t have air conditioning it is necessary to keep the windows open. Even with the screens on the windows, dust sneaks in. I sweep our house at least once a week and every single time the house will yield an entire dustpan full of dust/dirt. All of the dust also makes it hard to go on a run with out having dirt on my arms when I’m finished. The sweat makes the dirt in the crease of my arm turn to mud. It also makes it hard to do yoga with out having soot on my stomach after I do a vinyasa. Guess I’m gettin’ real down to earth, huh?
People in Shenyang have a number of methods to protect themselves from the dust. Some wear face masks and others keep all their windows closed. There is a lady that takes a walk near my school every morning in a Darth Vader mask. Nick and I have actually called her Darth Vader to her face…she has no idea what we are saying. I have grown accustomed to feeling like I always have a layer of dirt on me. Since most things you touch here in Shenyang are full of dirt, I wash my hands more frequently than I ever have in my life. I’m so used to it now that it doesn’t even phase me. When ever I leave the city it takes me a couple of minutes to realize that the reason I feel clean is because I am not in Shenyang. Should be quite a surprise when I actually leave China!