Published on March 2nd, 2011 | by Paz16
Our New Home in China
If you have been following our Facebook Page you will know that we have gone from a ‘wonderful job/housing’ to homeless and jobless back to living in a beautiful apartment and gainfully employed. One thing that we have learned about making your dreams happen is that you have to be flexible and patient. Remember everything is not always easy and good things do not come without some frustration or disappointments. Now that we have settled, we want to share our new home in China with you.
Chinese apartments. Now this could be different in other parts of China but here is our experience in Guangzhou and our hunt for apartments. Since we are a family of 4 with two little ones there are some things that we needed in our Chinese apartment.
1. Elevator….with two kids under 5 in tow yes we needed an elevator. Some of the apartments that we found were very nice but on the 8th floor with no elevator. As nice as that would have been for my gluteus maximus it would have gotten very tiring very quickly.
2. Western toilet,yup the kind you put your big fat fanny on. Although we have begun to master squatting! Lupita is a pro now it is nice to be able to handle whatever stomach issues might arise on a seat that we can sit on.
3. Enclosed shower. Although I have taken showers in the bathrooms where the shower is the bathroom. There is nothing wrong with them, it is just that our children have grown accustom to being able to bother us in the bathroom at any time with out fear of getting wet and the difference in these type of apartments was minimal it was a no brain-er to upgrade.
4. Separate bedrooms. In our original price range we were looking at many studio style apartments. They were wonderful, however we need a place to put the kids to sleep and have the ability to work and make music.
Once we decided that we needed to start our hunt for our own apartment we needed help. So we asked the concierge at our Holiday Inn (very nice) Hotel to find someone to help us find apartments. They called Frank (now a good friend). He arrived at the hotel in 1 hour and helped us look online and made tons of phone calls from his personal cell phone. He roughly spent 8 hours with us looking for apartments and helped us get our first Chinese cell phone. We found nothing our first day, but we realized that he was someone that we could trust and would be a great contact here in China. He charged us $50.00 for his services, we have him $60.00. Frank went on apartment hunts with us two more days and gave out his personal cell phone for the agents to contact him at and called us at all hours to give us updates. One day he refused to take payment, however we instead on giving him at least $15.00 for his bus fair considering he was traveling almost an hour each way to come and help us. Frank is 27 and works 2 jobs, he was helping us in his time off considering he works 3rd shift at a hotel. We felt bad about taking up so much of his time, however he said that he was young and it is not good for him to be idle. He also explained a lot about Chinese culture and we explained a lot about American Culture. This is why we moved, to be able to make these types of connections. He is coming over next week for dinner.
After looking at almost 15 apartments we were both at our wits end. We had to make a decision on which one. However Zeek and I couldn’t agree on one. We decided one more agent. The agent says that he has an apartment up to our standards but it is 4500 RMB. That is outside of our price range, thank you we are going to try another agent. He stops us and tells us that he might be able to negotiate down the price if we are interested. Zeek is tired of negotiating and we are both tired of looking at apartments. Zeek in a stern voice tells Frank to let this guy know that he better not be wasting our time and we want the lower price before we see it. If you know Zeek, this is not his character at all. He is the most laid back person and it is me that is the bulldog. It works he negotiates it down in a matter of minutes to 3600 RMB a month and we agree to go and see it. The apartment ends up being in the same building that I just had an interview in for a good job the day before. The location couldn’t be better. We’ll take it!
Here is the entrance and you can see Frank in the background.
How to rent in China. We were lucky to have Frank read us the contract. We had to give a 2 month security deposit and pay our first month rent upfront as well as our 50% agent fee. So basically we had to come up with 3.5 months rent cash. Yikes! Not what we originally expected, but the paperwork was all fine and the landlady who we met later that day was very nice. Off to the ATM we go!
We decided on an apartment in Yuexiu District,Guangzhou, Guangzhou PRC: China 510000.
Bathroom- everything was new in the apartment. I actually has never been used.
Galley Kitchen– all of the kitchens in China are Galley Kitchens. I am not sure why other than the need to conserve space. We originally thought this was a dishwasher, however we now believe that it is a UV sanitizer. We have seen these in China…if anyone can help us on exactly what this is and how to use it that would be great.
There are no ovens as people don’t really bake anything. Almost 90% of Chinese food is steamed, not fried as you might think. As Frank pointed out to us it is uncommon and not proper eating habits to eat more than one fried item in a meal. Good advice Frank!
Here is our bedroom. It has a wonderful window where you could sit and read with an amazing view of the city. This is obviously before we moved all of our belongings in.
Here is Lupita and Abe’s room. Poor Abe he always gets stuck looking at girly colors. The grandma’s bought Abe an orange crib and Lupita’s purple bedspread before they left. They also got us all set with a tea pot, bedding, mob, broom, fry pan, rice cooker, and some great goodies. You have to love Grandma’s. Abe is sleeping like a baby and as always enjoying sharing a room with his big sister.
Here is our dining/living room. It has a nice table for four to sit and eat.
Here you see the Grandma’s and Zeek taking a much needed rest in the living room. Although they are wood they are actually very comfortable and we do not intend to spend much time in them.
Utilities…in China you must pay before you use anything. So we had to pay a full year upfront of Internet, t.v. and two months of gas before anything could be turned on. We were told that once we had a good paying history that they would let us pay after we used the services. The only good thing about paying upfront is that we paid when they came to install and now we don’t have to figure out where to go and who to pay!
So there you have it. Our new house. We have two security guards at the front door to our building who stopped me twice on our first day. So no worries about unwanted visitors. They also helped us bring our things to the elevator. We are very thankful to be in our new home and start exploring our neighborhood. We hope you enjoyed taking a look at what a home in China can looks like.
Are you thinking about moving to China?