I have to say living in Fuzhou has proved to be quite an adventure! I have lived in other cities in China. Each city has it’s one personality. Nanchang is rude and dirty. My loyal blog readers no I have no love for that place. Hangzhou is hip, beautiful and peaceful. It is very vibrant. Probably hands down my favorite city that I have lived in. Wuxi was ok, it had a lot of Western conviences. The air quality was terrible. Fuzhou, I will say is extremely quirky. I have never experienced such a place. It isn’t as westernized as the other cities that I have lived in. I think that is what gives it it’s quirky charm.
This quirky charm made my apartment hunting quite the adventure. Unlike the other cities that I lived in, gated communities are not that popular. There are a few getting built. Most of them were no where near my school. Also here in Fuzhou the outside area may not look beautiful but the interior are lovely.
The HR girl who is helping me settle in is such a sweetie pie. I shall refer to her as Sweetie Pie in this post. Sweetie Pie called on the second day after I arrived in Fuzhou and asked me to meet her at the school gate because the realtor was going to show me some apartments. I told her prior to the realtor meeting my specifications.
When I arrived Sweetie Pie was waiting for me at the gate. I assumed that we we going to get picked up by a car. Well oh boy I was wrong! My chariot was in the form of a guy on an ebike. Sweetie Pie told me to get on the back. I am a bit scared of ebikes. I have slowly overcome my fear. When I first moved to China I was so scared that I clawed at the drivers chest with my nails and drew a bit of blood whilst screaming like a banshee.
This time I was a bit better but I was still tense. Plus that realtor kept answering his cellphone while driving. He showed me the first set of apartments. I wasn’t thrilled with the exterior and the kitchens were way too small. Also it was a bit far from my school. He called his colleague who had a bigger ebike to take me. I guess he felt I was too big to ride on his bike. Honestly there was no issue and I fit just find. However the other guy was a better driver.
The 3 of us went onward to the next series of apartments there were a bit better but they didn’t have any shower stalls and the kitchens were too small. They were closer to the school but I just didn’t like them. They didn’t feel like a home. So day one of the great apartment hunt was a bust. The realtors were exasperated with me. They typed on their translators that there were not many vacant apartment available during this time of the year.
Day 2 of the apartment search began. This time the guy with the bigger ebike came to pick me up at the hotel. They had two apartments for me to look at that were very near the school. I upped my price too above 4000 rmb. The apartments that I was seeing between 3000-4000 rmb wer not what I was looking for. They were all 2 bedrooms but just not the right apartment for me.Then I saw one right near my school. It was in a cute community with pink building. I could envision Popcorn and Marshmallow frolicking about in the grass.
There were a group of ayi( older women) that stared at me as if I were an alien from outer space. This apartment I loved. The kitchen was big. It had a great vibe to it. It was bright and cheerful. The bedrooms were a nice size. I was so excited .
Then I looked into the bathroom it was a wet room. Basically a wet room is a a toilet and a shower with no stall. So when you take a shower everything got soaked. This is a very popular type of bathroom in China. Two of my apartments had wet rooms. I vowed never never again. This apartment was also a no. If the bathroom was bigger it would have been a yes. So we went on to the next one. This one was a nice size but it was very old and not maintained well. It was like the landlord took no pride in it. That was a shame because that aprtment had tons of apartment if he actually took care of it. It was a two bedroom and two bathrooms. The bedrooms were big. The master bedroom had it’s own private bathroom with a shower. The other bathroom was a wet room. I had. To say no because the place reeked of roach spray.
The realtor dropped me off at my school. I had. To talk to Sweetie Pie about something and give her my passport to pick up my FEC ( Foreign Experts Certificate) . I asked her if maybe we can use a second realtor because this guy was not finding what I wanted. I was really feeling bad for him he really was working hard for his commission. As I was walkin home the realtor guy found me and told me to get on the bike. he had two more places to show me. So I hopped on and. Away we went.
This next one was kinda old but not bad it was a two bedroom. The kitchen was ok. The bathroom was a nice size had a stall. The bedrooms were nice. Then I went to the master bedroom and opened what I thought was a closet. Nope it was a shitter. It was squat toilet with a wet room. H-E double hockey sticks no!! The he showed me the last one it was right near the school. It was huge!!! 3 bedrooms, an office, and aquarium. It was old but huge!! I loved it the kitchen was huge. This was it!! I found the place. I kept asking him in Chinese the price. He never answer. I found out later from Sweetie Pie that apartment was 7,800. Which was way out of my budget. I don’t know I was shown such a place!
Sweetie Pie told me that she would help me search on the Internet for apartments. She used http://www.58.com There were 3 choices. The first choice was already taken it was 4500. The second one was just posted. I loved how it looked. It was right near the lake. It was 5700. A bit more than what I was asking but it was a great location and apartment prices here are a bit expensive. It is the capital city of the province afterall. The third one was already taken. I had an appointment at 6 pm with another realtor to see the apartment by the lake.
We had to wait awhile for their colleague to come because he had the key. 20 minutes later the colleague comes with the key. This area around this apartment is very artsy and has many cute cafes. They is a wine and jazz bar on the block. The apartment is amazing. It is a two bedroom with a third room that was used as a bedroom. I see it as more of a dining room. It felt like home. The kitchen was a great size. The bathroom had a stall. The doors and cabinets are all wood that was built into the wall. A lovely color. In the guest room there is a vanity table!!! In the master bedroom there it a long curved desk that is built into the walls.
Then my competion walked in, a young Chinese couple. The place was getting shown to both of us at the same time. I typed into the translator that I wanted this place and I had cash on hand. I called Sweetie Pie and put her on the phone with the realtors. We then sat around. I think the landlords were coming. Later Sweetie Pie texted me that we had an appointment to see the landlord tomorrow at 9 am. I guessed at that time maybe the Chinese couple weren’t interested.
The next day I met the landlords. They were Christians just like me. I was told that the other couple were very interested but since she got the call from me first and I had cash on hand an was able to give her the money sooner than the Chinese couple that I got the apartment. They couple not sign until after work! I really lucked up on this.
I type this blog sitting on the couch of my new apartment in Fuzhou. This place feels so Zen. I feel so happy when I walk into the door. Let the new chapter of my life commence.