Finally, I can say that I have my own apartment – well, it’s shared with two other girls, but still, you get the point. Though it is in a foreign country, I have a key for a place that I can call home. I just want to talk about some of the differences about apartments in China and in the U.S.A. today.
1. No dryers, just hang dry
It’s common in China to see clothes hanging off of buildings as they air dry them. Even in our fairly Western apartment, we have a rod which is inside our laundry room where you hang dry your clothes. You just have to plan to have a day to get your laundry because it sure isn’t instant like a dryer.
2. Most come furnished
The number of people that live in Beijing is around 25 million I believe. With that being said, almost all of the apartments here come with furniture that the landlord supplies. It wouldn’t really be logical to have huge semi-trucks moving furniture from apartment to apartment. Although some people attempt to move some furniture on the back of their little tricycles and other smaller vehicles.
3. No ovens, but we did negotiate a toaster oven
It isn’t common to bake things here or even use an oven in any means. Explaining to the landlord during the negotiation process that we wanted a toaster oven was quite an interesting endeavor.
4. Pay 3 months of rent up front – plus the deposit
This was a huge part of the moving expenses (besides the plane ticket I bought at the last minute thanks to the visa process). This is the main reason that housing in Beijing is so expensive. You pay rent quarterly, which means I will have to pay at the end of October as well. I don’t mind paying for this view though – the skyline is Guomao
5. Pay for utilities before you use them, or else you have no utilities
Unlike the states where you pay for your utilities when you get a bill for how much water, gas and electricity you have used in the month, China works on a pay as you go system. If you don’t pay ahead for your utilities, you just won’t have any until you pay. Quite simple, but something we need to pay attention to.
6. Water heater has to be turned on in order to use hot water
Inside the kitchen there is this huge mechanical box that has to be turned on in order for there to be hot water. Luckily, ours doesn’t take that long to heat up because other can take up to 45 minutes to heat the water. However, you have to press the on button as well as plugging it in - I had to teach my roommates that after they took a few cold showers.
7. Take your shoes off inside
The ground in China is considered dirty which makes sense because I’ve seen so many children use the restroom on the sidewalk and the squatter toilets aren’t the cleanest. When you enter someone’s home, it is likely that they will give you slippers to wear in order to keep your “dirty” outdoor shoes off of their floors inside their house.
8. Chinese deep cleaning is different than American deep cleaning
Our apartment was “deep cleaned” before we moved in but deep clean in China has a different meaning than in America. With that being said, we did our version of deep cleaning before moving in completely as well.
9. Can’t flush toilet paper down the toilet
If you choose to do so, then you will more than likely clog the toilet. The piping here just isn’t made to have the paper be flushed through them. So having a trash can next to the toilet is necessary.
10. Bathrooms normally don’t have shower stalls
Typical Chinese bathrooms do not come equipped with a glass shower stall or even a tub. The whole bathroom instead just gets wet and the water is moped into one central drain on the bathroom floor. I’m so grateful for our bathroom glass shower stall.
All of these pictures are picture from the first day we saw our apartment, so of course, we have added our own personal touches to it at this point in time. We will add much more once we get our first paycheck at the end of the month!