Hello everyone. This is Kimfucius reporting from Kunming! (Kim in Kunming has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?) House hunting in China was a fun and crazy experience. Basically Jess and I wandered around different areas of the city where we might want to live, found tiny real estate offices, walked in and asked if they had anything that fit our criteria. We must have seen eight or more different apartments on the first day. Some were downright disgusting, and some were beautiful but not practical. It was excellent Chinese practice for me, and I was surprised how much I understood and was able to communicate after not speaking Chinese for over a month. When we finally found the apartment we wanted, the negotiations began. We bargained down the price of the apartment (well below our housing allowance given by the university) and then went to the ATM to withdraw six months worth of rent, plus the agent’s fee, plus the security deposit. That’s easily the most cash I’ve ever held at one time! Signing the contract and handing over the money went well, and we had a walk-through of the apartment where we showed the landlord things that needed to be fixed. The agent had dealt with foreigners before, and was very patient with me, speaking slowly and repeating things in different words if I didn’t understand. The day after we had signed off on everything, I found this informative post that summarizes the house hunting process pretty well.
One of the best parts of the new apartment is that the previous tenants (two Filipino guys here studying Chinese) left behind all of their stuff. This means that we haven’t really had to buy much for the apartment. We also had a lot of fun digging through closets filled with all sorts of random knick-knacks.
After spending a few days “playing house,” cleaning, and setting things up, Jess and I have finally made the space our own.
Oh, did I mention that we live on the 8th floor? No elevator. Hooray for toned legs and buns of steel in 2011!