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Birmingham teachers Luke and Sarah Pinney and their two daughters Hannah (9) and Chloe (6) are swapping life in their home city for a 12 month stint working in China. Their destination - Nanjing. Here's the first of their regular blogs on what promises to be the trip of a lifetime .

Taxi, train (with space for all our bags!) from New street, two days at Sarah's sisters', taxi to Heathrow and 12 hour flight to Shanghai. We left Heathrow at 9ish and arrived in Shanghai around 3 with breakfast a couple of hours before touchdown.

Normal breakfast had run out, leaving Chinese breakfast of beef noodles!

We took a taxi from the airport with Sarah's friend giving directions. Without that or a card in Chinese stating where we wanted to go I think we would have struggled to get to our hotel.

The 30 mile drive finally convinced Sarah that I'm a good driver and I have to say if you like an adrenaline rush you'll enjoy travelling by car in China.

Travelling over Nanpu Bridge amused us as the kids' nan is called Nan and so the name had to be repeated the entire length as we looked on at downtown Shanghai.

We stayed in a posh hotel on the river overlooking the new towers of Shanghai which all have to be covered in neon to be showed off until the early hours of the morning.

Went to a welcome party where we found one of the hosts kept crickets. Chloe, our nature nut spent most the party staring at them so the next day we went down the pet market.

The pet market had loads of crickets to choose from and so the girls chose a noisy one each. There were also loads of turtles and our guide bought a scorpion!

The crickets are still in their little cardboard boxes and have to be taken out of our apartment every night because of the noise they make.

Arriving in Nanjing

The apartment is surprisingly big - three bedrooms, a lounge, dining room, two bathrooms, kitchen, washroom, office and very large roof top balcony and is situated in a compound that has a guard at the entrance.

It's hot and humid here. You sweat buckets just standing still but apparently it will soon cool down and we look forward to snow in the winter.

We've had another air conditioning unit added along with a washing machine, satellite TV, phone and internet. We've even got a dishwasher and we bought a mini oven to make English style bread.

Along with the food bought at the large supermarket I'm worried about being too English while we are here. And now I'm off to watch my fourth live game of the opening Premiership weekend with the Blues about to play. Except for the heat you would hardly know we were in China.


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