We arrived in August 2014, and had a pretty horrendous 5 days coping with a new city, new country, jet lag and of course finding somewhere to live.
The apartment we chose back then has suited us well. We knew what we were dealing with when we chose it as the apartment had no underfloor heating, no double glazing and hard beds, but it was well located. 10 minutes from the tube (metro/subway), 15 minutes on the ebike to Eleanor’s school, on a bus route to Martin’s school (though he gets a lift in each morning and takes the tube home), close to bus routes to the supermarkets, light and airy and not overlooked from our bedroom or living room and it had a good view.
This, though, has been a mild winter, and we were able to combat the cold by buying 2 oil fired radiators, 1 for our room and the other for Eleanor’s room. We didn’t fancy having the reverse air conditioning on all the time in our rooms as well as our living room. We also bought 2 rugs for the living room so it would be cosy underfoot, but you can’t get escape the gaps between the windows in the kitchen. To warm up there, you put the two gas burners on, before you even think about the first cup of tea/coffee.
Things have also started to come adrift, the skirting board is tiled, and a few tiles have started coming off. Door stoppers are magnetic and each time you close the door, you pull the stopper away from the wall, and last night the door handle snapped in Eleanor’s hand. (Good quality Chinese workmanship)
Landlord has refused to pay. Probably something to do with the fact that we have handed our notice in.
Many people are beginning to look at what is closer to the school and the topic of conversation has turned to whether people are moving or not. We were pretty much undecided. The compound is lovely and it is close to the vegetable market. But what else was out there.
We decided to message our agent to see whether we could have a look at other properties in the surrounding area. It would either confirm to us that we would be better staying put or we would see something fabulous that would encourage us to move.
On Good Friday, I deposited Eleanor at school, she was only a tad confused why Daddy was still in bed, and Martin and I went flat hunting once more.
How different it was. No child, no heat and no pressure. We saw 2 properties in one compound that we saw in August, whilst nice, and indeed one was on the ground floor with front and rear enclosed gardens, they were dark. You couldn’t sit in the living room or eating area in the morning without the lights being on. And what is good about our present apartment is that it has white floors and white walls making it a bright and airy apartment.
So both of the apartments were turned down. Time for our mystery apartment. Photos had been taken and sent to us prior to seeing it. It looked as if it had come from the pages of Tatler.
The compound has very few amenities, ours at present has a dry cleaner, a mini supermarket, bank, a swimming pool between June and September and a tennis court. This compound, whilst not yet fully explored has none of that. But it is opposite the arboretum, a children’s centre (housing a swimming pool all year round), and a tube station within 2 minutes walk. It also crucially has ebike charging points, which our current compound doesn’t.
The block, block 1 looks a bit dilapidated. The main door is coming off its hinges, there are no recycling bins but the pictures of this apartment looked stunning. Must not judge a book by its cover.
We go into the lift. And button 16 is pressed. There are no buttons above it. Ooh top floor apartment. The lift doors open and we realise that there is no other apartment on this floor either. We go through the door which opens by way of either a key, card or code and once in, shoes off and slippers on. We have a choice of going left or right. What is immediately obvious though is that this apartment is beautifully furnished and has lots of light, due in part to the floor to ceiling windows curving around the living room. The living area and kitchen and study are on the left, bedrooms and bathroom to the right.
It is obvious that this is first and foremost a home, we have now met the owners who wanted to meet us before anything was signed (!) and both of them have spent a lot of time, effort and money creating their desired home in China. The tiles in the bathroom were cut to their specification, there is an abundance of storage including built in wardrobes that were extended by moving the walls, and air purifiers that are being left in the apartment. The beds are comfortable and the views of the arboretum lovely.
Sadly there is no built in oven, but I am ok with that as they are leaving an oven which is bigger than the one I currently have! There is, however, a massive building site opposite our bedroom window, but having visited twice, once during a working day, and once at night, there is no noise. The owners have paid attention to detail, and having been there for 5 years we certainly intend to look after it and enjoy it.
We plan to move on Mayday, a public holiday here. It gives me precisely 11 days. Let the packing commence. (Well the construction of boxes anyhow!)