We are staying in a lovely apartment. My host calls it a house, but I call it an apartment. It’s on the 26th floor of a 28-story building that looks like every other building around it–for almost as far as the eye can see. I cannot imagine the number of people living in this one-block area. There are always people and cars on the streets. We aren’t even in Beijing, but in a smaller town outside called Yanjiao.

Maggie and Molly at the bedroom window.

The “house” has a kitchen, european bathroom, two bedrooms, and a living room. My bedroom features an window seat/balcony with tall windows that look out towards the other equally tall buildings. The windows open wide to let the breeze billow in. On the opposite side of the apartment, with the living room in between, is an enclosed balcony with floor to ceiling windows and a rod to hang our clothes to dry. Next to the balcony is the other bedroom and then the kitchen with a big wall of windows which look out towards the mountains surrounding Beijing and what seem to be industrial buildings. The screens in the windows roll up or down, and when all the windows are open a pleasant breeze flows through the apartment.

Laura playing the whistle in the bedroom window seat.

Wide-planked wood floors in the bedrooms dissolve into large shiny white tiles in the living areas. Elegantly carved doors beckon, the kitchen door features a frosted glass flower design inset. A blue-sky-green-grass opalescent sliding door encloses the bathroom. Elegant, clean simple lines flow thoroughout echoed in the furnishings from the local IKEA (yes! an IKEA in Beijing). It is much more than I could have imagined and expected.