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  • Writer's pictureAnja

Looking for an appartement in China

After we looked at about 14 appartments together in the first week, Anja went out on her own with the housing agent the following week. Denny has been working full time since 26 October.

In the meantime, Anja has been shown 25 flats. There was really everything:

  • From run-down and really dangerous: top floor with roof terrace - the railing was only hanging by "thin threads".

  • To health hazards: the roof leaks and the whole flat is mouldy.

  • Up to: 300m² in a luxury skyscraper with an extra entrance for the staff ;)

We were so shocked that we forgot to take photos of the really bad flats. But here are a few impressions:

We can only explain such damage in this way: The houses here are built ultra-fast. Within a few weeks, a house stands where there was previously a meadow. In addition, the building fabric is exposed to temperature differences of almost 50°C in total. (Winter -20°C, Summer +30°C)

Then there are the different furnishing styles. ;)

What the Chinese consider a European style of furnishing (above) and the "Rich Chinese" style (below):

Yes, you feel a bit like you're in a museum, except that you can actually sleep in the bed.

How can such big differences arise?

We have a certain budget, which is calculated based on the number of people (2). The closer you choose a flat to the centre, the more expensive it is, or smaller.

The further out, the cheaper the housing.

Changchun's traffic volume is comparable to that of any big city in Germany. At rush hour, it's almost impossible to get around. If you drive anti-cyclically, it's relatively quick.

We chose a flat near Denny's work.

Next, the housing agent sends the landlord our expression of interest and a list of things the landlord should do before we move in.

For example, our flat of choice does not have an oven. But we have been assured by several places that this kind of "wish list" is common here, and the landlord is not annoyed by it.

So hopefully our stay at the hotel will soon be coming to an end and we will be allowed to move.

Our preferred date for the move is currently the weekend of 14/15th November. Keep your fingers crossed that everything works out the way we want it to. Oh, and of course we have chosen a flat that also has a guest room. As soon as everyone is allowed to travel again, we will be happy to have visitors.

And there is something else to report about Chinese home culture:

The older generation stores vegetables for the winter. Not in their own homes, however, but either in the hallway, i.e. the stairwell, or in front of the house or at barred windows. These are then filled so high that you can no longer see out. We had this phenomenon explained to us because we have seen it very often here: A few decades ago, there were no fresh vegetables in northern China in winter and because of the temperatures, nothing could be grown. So in autumn, people bought all the onions, cabbage or potatoes they could get and ate the stock over the winter. Now, of course, there are fresh fruits and vegetables everywhere, even in winter.


On our days off, or Denny's days off, we explore our new home town.

With about 7.7 million inhabitants (as of 2010), Changchun is a small city by Chinese standards. (Berlin, by the way, has only 3.7 million inhabitants.) Due to the continental climate here, it is bitterly cold in winter at -20°C and dry. We have a humidifier in our hotel room and you don't need to spin the washing at 1400 revolutions per minute, just 800 and it dries quickly. If you forget to turn on the humidifier and the air gets too dry, you are immediately reminded: you get a wipe ;)

Last Sunday we went to the city and took a long walk along the river. Sunday afternoon we were almost alone.

Now and then there were a few other walkers or sportsmen, but nothing more. It didn't really feel like being in a big city. However, there are no birds chirping here either. But maybe that's because it's already winter here. Last week, the temperature during the day was 5°C max. We don't want to believe the statements that the Chinese have eaten everything...

After walking almost 7 km, we finally reached our destination, the M Café. This is one of the few cafés here where you can sit outside. We sat inside anyway, because we were really cold.

But first we had to find the entrance. Everything is only written in Chinese... After shaking all the doors, we suddenly found ourselves in the kitchen. The cook then accompanied us to the entrance. You have to go through a bookcase and it only opens when you press a bell.... Man, a bit like track 9 ¾ in Harry Potter. But the cake and coffee defrosted us again.

Anja's first day at work

Yesterday Anja had her first unofficial/official working day. The work permit is not ready yet, but she is allowed to familiarise herself a little. For the time being one day/week and as soon as the permit is there also full time. The first day was, as it probably is everywhere, filled with IT stories, access authorisations, creating employee ID cards and getting to know colleagues. Since Anja then works as an assistant for the board of the German Primary School Association, she also goes back to school from now on. However, she did not receive a school bag. You are welcome to have a look at the school's website:

We give you all our best wishes

Anja & Denny

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