So, when we first arrived in China (four years ago now), we were in for many cultural shocks. For example, nobody waits in lines, having to learn how to use “squatty potties,” figuring out the hard way that apartments don’t have ovens (despite the perception that they’re there… they are in fact, dish sanitizers…), having to use a VPN for any sort of social media/Google site (and shoddy internet at best)… Oh, the list could go on forever!
However, one of the most pressing issues (literally) was the beds. The Chinese believe that sleeping on hard beds is good for their health, therefore nearly EVERY single bed in China (hotels included) have hard beds. It was quite an adjustment trying to sleep in these hard beds in our hotel (before we found our apartment) AND trying to sleep enough to recover from jet-lag.
For some reason we thought that once we got to an apartment, things would get better. And for some reason our hotel bed experience didn’t give us pause to test the beds when we were apartment hunting… Anyways, we finally found the apartment of our (then) dreams (it got even better the second year) and moved in. By this time, school had started and we were in full-swing preparing for the school year. This meant long hours sitting in front of a computer building a classroom website, planning out our curriculum, and long hours of standing/climbing/kneeling preparing a classroom for a year of use! We spent LONG, LONG, LONG hours at our school that first month or so that we were there. And we’d go home DOG TIRED!!! But then, trying to sleep was next to impossible. It was like sleeping on a hard wood table. Even though there was “padding,” it was essentially the equivalent of placing a cloth over a table. We have a video somewhere of Trent knocking on our bed… it’s like someone is knocking on your door! Needless to say, it did NOT make for good sleep.
I mean, seriously!!! Look at how skinny that mattress is!!!!!
When the first week of school (with students) was underway, I mentioned to our then P.E. coach that we weren’t sleeping at night and it was NOT helping with my attitude or energy to be able to work with 4 and 5 year olds during the day, he mentioned to me that many expats buy a mattress from this company out of Beijing called Slumber MAAX. Immediately, we started looking into it. We found that their mattresses were pretty decently priced (about $800 USD), especially considering that they were entirely made of memory foam. AND, even better, Mike told us that we could use some of our $2,000 USD “settlement allowance” given to us by the school to purchase it (or rather, be reimbursed for it). We literally ordered it THAT NIGHT! Even paying for the shipping ($22 bucks USD) and an official fapiao (receipt in order to be reimbursed- $35 USD) were minimal costs in the scheme of things.
However, we still had to survive in the meantime. I am a side-sleeper, so I was actually getting bruises and sores on my shoulder and hip from sleeping that way. Trent and I decided to get creative. We ended up taking the cushions from our living room sofa and placing them on the bed at night. It was still awkward, because they tended to separate right at the shoulder and hip, but it was still better than nothing! We had tried adding extra comforters, sleeping on top of the comforter… anything else we could think of to add some extra comfort.
Then that magical day arrived… after a short wait (2-4 business days), this small Chinese man arrived with this RIDICULOUSLY large, King-sized mattress, all rolled up in this big, HEAVY roll. Trent went out to meet him to show him to our apartment (since we didn’t know how to direct them up in Chinese) and ended up helping this poor, tiny man carry it up our stairs. Of course, as they were carrying it, the packaging started bursting open, so it started expanding before it even made it to our door. Finally, the guys lugged it all the way up and into our bedroom! We cut the remaining plastic packaging and let it expand!
It was literally like the angels sang! And the rest is history… I actually don’t think we’ll EVER have as nice a bed OR mattress ever again (at least not for that price)! We could set a glass of wine on that bad boy and it wouldn’t even budge. Neither of us felt the other one toss or turn or get up. It offered great support and truly, it was a Godsend. I’m not sure we would have made it through that first year (let alone stayed for a second) if it wasn’t for Slumber MAAX.
For anyone planning on staying long-term in China… we absolutely recommend them!!!