House Hunters International

I’m not sure if this is on the news in America… but we are experiencing record heat in China right now. Seriously. Its been on average 100*F here with the heat index reaching 115*F. All the moisture in the air (80-90% humidity) with no chance of rain… it feels like you’re swimming. I personally have lost all of my water weight. But we are thankful that we have clear and sunny skies here.

On the rood of the hotel.
On the roof of the hotel. Huaqiao, PRC. 

The only challenge with the heat is walking around exploring. I recently bought an umbrella after seeing all of the Chinese women carry them around for shade. They do it to keep their skin white, I do it so I don’t sweat. Its really a necessity either way. Best weird complement I received yesterday: “You’re prettier than in your pictures. You are so much whiter in person.” Ok, thanks?! This complement was from our apartment agent Elva. We went around to see 3 different apartments and choose from them.

I always kind of thought that there was no way that you only look at 3 apartments before making a choice on where to live. But after experiencing house hunting internationally, you just accept the first best thing you can afford. When we started thinking of where to live last week, we had two choices: in town or by the school (10 minutes from town). We decided to live nearest to school so getting there on time wouldn’t be difficult. We put our deposit down on a brand new 2 bedroom apartment. The landlord is going to furnish it with brand new furniture and air conditioning units.

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Heres the breakdown. Nick and I each receive 1800RMB/month for an apartment so 3600RMB total. Our apartment will cost 2300RMB/month. Good News: we will save 1100RMB per month from our stipend. Bad News:We owe lots of money upfront. The agent fee is 1150RMB, the deposit is 2300RMB and we have to pay 3 months rent at a time. So the grand total cost for our first 3 months of rent with deposit and fees is: 10350RMB. Yikes. And we don’t get paid or reimbursed until September 1. So we’re living on the cheap until September.

Also, we needed phones so we ordered them on TaoBao. Two phones with our SIM cards were 3200RMB. But its awesome having a working phone with a translator to help us communicate, and messaging so we don’t always have to find wifi to communicate.

Goodbye iPhone, hello Mi phone.
Goodbye iPhone, hello Mi phone.

Other than that there hasn’t been any surprises that we’ve encountered. Here’s my advice for people moving overseas. Make sure you know how much overhead you need to get a life started.

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