9.01.2012

Let’s Build a Home


Some bricks now baby
Let’s build a home
-The White Stripes
 

Obtaining a job at a university teaching English has some benefits. One is that a Z Visa, or work visa, comes with the job. A Z visa means we can live and work here legally. Another major benefit is that the university provides us a home. It saves us a headache from dealing with landlords in another language, setting up internet and figuring out how to pay for electricity and water.

Our apartment is on the 7th story of a 10-story residential building. Half the building is devoted to student dorms, and the other half is for foreign teachers. The apartment comes with furniture, a private bathroom, and two rooms. Maid service is provided every day during non-holidays. The apartment lacks a full kitchen, only having a microwave, a water boiler, and a mini-refrigerator. There is shared kitchen (which is just a room with sinks, no stove) at the opposite end of our floor. A laundry room with a washer and dryer (only partially dries) is immediately adjacent to our apartment.

At first, maid service and lacking a full kitchen majorly concerned us.  What if they are nosy maids? How will we eat? We have to eat out all the time? Do we have to feel like we live in a hotel? Maybe we should look for something off campus? Before making any hasty decisions, we weighed the pros and cons.

Cons
  •  Someone comes in our apartment every day. Potential invasion of privacy.
  • We have to make sure we leave the apartment neat every day. 
  •  No kitchen and really small refrigerator.
  • Hot water is provided only from 7 – 9 am, 3 - 5 pm, and 8 pm – 12 am every day. We have to schedule showers accordingly.
  • birdMAN has to be dressed if the maids come when he is home.
Pros
  •  Our apartment is neat every day.
  • Daily someone else cleans the toilet, mops the floors, makes our bed, and wipes the counters. Weekly someone else washes and changes the linens.
  • Short commute, less than 10 minutes by bike. Major plus during cold weather.
  • Free internet, water, electricity, and toilet paper.
  • We live on a beautiful campus that looks like a park.
We weighed the pros and cons, and we decided to stay. We bought a single burner induction stove and a rice cooker from a nice lady in an outdoor market. We have even had a few guests for dinner. I cooked what I thought was plain tofu (actually egg flavored tofu – couldn’t read the package and the picture was misleading) along with greens and mushrooms over rice. Cooking was a success!

So overall we are quite happy in our new home.

Chinese word of the blog: 电饭煲 diàn fàn bāo (literally, electric rice pot)
English translation: rice cooker 

On this rare occasion, we could see mountains!

The new neighborhood
The view from the laundry room
Home sweet home
If you are wondering, this bed is hard. Fortunately, we don't mind an extra extra firm mattress.
Buying the rice cooker and stove
Outdoor market near our home
Cooking dinner
No table? No problem.
Even guests don't mind not having a table