Monday, August 20, 2012

Our Hangzhou Home

Esther and i arrived in Hangzhou on July 15th and started looking at apartments immediately. Over the next three weeks we'd see about 20 places, and it turns out we found our future home on the first day. The family living there wasn't ready to move yet so we had another month to try to find something better, but this place was just too good: a two bedroom/one office/two bathroom end unit with windows on three sides, second floor, 121 sqm, with very nice furnishing and in a good location. This place would be 8000RMB in Beijing, but it's ours for 4500/month in Hangzhou. We even escaped the agent fee by working with the family directly and locked in a flexible two-year lease.

We moved in on August 10th and it's taken about a week to get settled, but it already feels like home. Life in Hangzhou is good. We've got frisbee two days a week, poker every monday, and plenty to keep us busy in between. I've been cooking for often, trying out some dishes her mom cooks, as well as improvising some of my own. My favorite so far is the Organic Cauliflower with Bacon, but the Salmon Spinach Pasta is great too. Our days are spent running errands, setting up the home gym (!) and preparing for parenthood (!!). The treadmill arrives this weekend, and the baby on Oct 21st.

Esther's hospital visits in Xiaoshan have been easy and uneventful, which is good. The last checkup, i'm not exaggerating, would have cost 3RMB, but her insurance covered 2 of it (yaaay!) so she paid 1 RMB.

Hangzhou is still relatively new to me, but i'm figuring it out fast. The free bike system helps a lot. You put down a 200 RMB deposit one time and you can take a bike for 1 hour for free. It's 1 RMB for the second hour, but you can return the bike at any of the bike stations and just grab another one before the hour is up, renewing your free hour. It's all automated. We've got a bike station right outside our apartment, and they are everywhere. The bikes are impressively well-maintained too. Aside from the occasional broken bell or lock, they ride beautifully.

That's it for now... i'll close it out with a random picture of my beautiful wife.



Joel said...

Every time I hear about things that have happened in China in the past year my brain explodes a little. There's Frisbee in Hangzhou?

Larkin said...

your baby is due on my birthday... very good omen!