This is where we lived in
moved to Kunming in mid-August 2005, with the hope of living on-campus,
but by mid-October, we had taken
all we could stand of living in a small dorm
room (and constantly searching through boxes to find the things we
wanted). After searching for a few weeks along the only bus route that
passed our campus, we finally found a place in a new complex called Chuan
Yi Ying Guo (or "Think UK"). Since the apartment was new, we didn't have
to deal with roaches (like we have before and since), but we did have to
buy a lot of furniture to go with the few pieces we'd brought from Xi'an.
Fortunately, our wonderful landlord bought the furniture when we left for
Xiamen, but that's another story!
When move-in day
came, it took two trucks to haul our stuff over from our "temporary
accommodations" on the YNUBS campus. It took another two
months to really unpack, buy all the needed furnishings, and decorate. On
the right, you see the main complex plaza, with a growing list of shops
and services. At various times of day this plaza is filled with exercisers
(often in rows, doing the same dance), dogs, or babies, just as you would
find in most Chinese pubic parks.
It is difficult to get good
photos of the inside of an apartment, but I pasted a few photos
together to try to give you some idea of where we lived.
The living room was huge, and
we often had over 20 students around our TV (including a few
behind this rail in the raised dining area--shown below). The main door was
just to the right of this photo, the kitchen was behind you, and the small
hallway (shown) was to the left. Standing in the hall doorway, you are in
the master bedroom, looking at Andrew's room. The main bathroom is to the
right, to the left you turn into the dining room, the door to the right
(next to Andrew's room) was the laundry room (and eventually
our dog's home), and opposite the laundry room was my office.
This apartment was the newest, biggest, nicest and cheapest
home we'd had in China. If that last word doesn't seem to fit, think of
this: every time we have moved in this country, Michael has taken a big
pay cut. Shanghai is very expensive by Chinese standards, but we had a
nice place of around 90 sq m. In Xi'an, Michael's pay was lower and our 97
sq m apartment was cheaper. Our Kunming apartment was around 110 sq m and
was in a new complex; and Michael's pay was considerably
lower than it was in Xi'an! If we keep moving, maybe we'll end up with a
huge apartment and no income at all.
Our next apartment (in
Zhangzhou) was actually cheaper, but the
following one (in Xiamen) made up for it, as the
most expensive home to date! But we loved "Think UK", especially in
comparison to the small campus dorm
room we had moved from.
and Vivian's home office Andrew's Bedroom
(note his alcove with a nice courtyard view)
This was the
nicest kitchen we've had in China, too. However, whoever designed the
kitchen forgot to include a place for the refrigerator. The landlord
suggested putting it in the dining room, but we opted to put it (with the
water dispenser) in the balcony (which is next to the kitchen window).
That made them
wonder where we would put the washing machine which belongs on the
balcony--well, we disconnected the shower beside the "Chinese" toilet and
put it there. We only used the squat toilet in emergency situations, until
we trained our dog to use it!.
bathroom is just inside the door to the master bedroom. When we arrived,
the shower water just splashed everywhere, so we added a glass stall.
was about the size of an American closet (this is four photos, stuck
together!). But it was easy to heat in the winter, and we added lots of
bookcases, a fast Internet connection and a nice wooden desk to make it
comfortable. But Michael certainly does not have a green thumb. He
managed to kill all of the plants shown in his window! (In Xiamen he had
better success with a cactus!) The refrigerator balcony is outside his window.
When we moved in (October
2005) there weren't many other tenants. For six
months we asked for an electric bill, but the complex management just kept
saying, "Sorry, we don't know how to bill you yet."
Every weekend (and
throughout the day, every day) LOTS of people were drilling, banging and
sawing to prepare their own apartments. Most of that stopped after Chinese
New Year (Feb. 2006) as more people moved in. In spite of being surrounded
by the city, it is a very quiet place to live or entertain.
After moving here, Michael had a 25-minute bus
ride to work at YNUBS. (The following three years he could walk to
school--until the Medical University moved.) This
apartment was also convenient for Andrew's school, until they jacked up
the rates so that we had to "home school" in 2009-10. It was also close to the heart of the city,
making it easier for Vivian to use busses, helping Andrew get to where he needed
to go, go shopping, etc. All in all, it was a wonderful place to live
while we "taught and learned" in beautiful Kunming.
Think UK is the green and yellow
complex looming over a hazy Kunming. The haze is normal, but
we also got blue skies a few days per week, which is a lot better than "a
few times per year" in Xi'an. On clear days, we can even see the mountains
from our complex.
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