Sunday, March 19, 2017

Our new home in the OC

Guess what? We moved! Surprise. As you know we were in a neighborhood called Crystal City. Our apartment was nice, but a bit small and without many kids around. Unlike Korea, where key money is needed and the rules around renting are incredibly confusing, in China renting is fairly simple, more like in America. The school had found our initial apartment, but after 6 months we had the freedom to look around if we weren't happy. Getting a bigger place like this costs more than the housing allowance that comes with the job so we are paying some out of pocket but it really feels worth it.

Original County, or as cool people refer to it, OC, is right behind the school. We can walk to work in less than ten minutes or ride our scooters there in less than three minutes. We are further from downtown Tianjin, but the neighborhood is filled with the kids' classmates. There is a gym and some groceries a short walk from our house. There are also several restaurants nearby, one in particular that we like and we have started going there every Sunday night.

For the first time since our children were born we have extra space. After our small house in Denver and then 4 years in Korea we had gotten used to being squeezed together, but as our kids keep growing they take up more room and get louder, and want some amount of privacy (really just the girls want privacy, August would be happy if we all just lived in a single room and shared one giant bed).

Here are the pics! It is a 3 story row house, the people on either side of us are older Chinese couples and both have seemed very nice. You will notice there is an enormous amount of gold wallpaper, there's nothing we can do about that, and some of the more ornate furniture came with the house, but we have been working to make all this space feel comfortable, like home, and we have been pretty successful.

The virtual tour begins at the front door:



The family room:





The living room (really just the other part of the big family room):


The dining room:





The kitchen:



Our room:



Our bathroom-heated toilet seat, bidet, and a shower that does all kinds of things. It says it will play CDs but we haven't figured out where to put them in.

2nd floor hallway:


Our office, which has been taken over by a Lepin project. Lepin is the Chinese knock off version of Lego. It's so affordable that, for his birthday, Jim requested the biggest one we could find on Taobao and we got him the 3000 piece Disney Princess Castle. Unlike Lego, the pieces do not come in sectioned, organized bags. You get what you pay for, I guess. It is a remarkably complicated project as even the smallest parts are assembled out of even smaller parts. 

August's room:
August also is in the middle of a large Lepin Star Wnrs project in his room (that's not a typo- we have been pronouncing the Lepin brand product "Star Wieners")





The third floor is all for the kids, half of it is set up as a playroom:



There's a bathroom with a washer and DRYER.

And then the girls share a very large room off of the playroom:



We have a small back yard, that I think will be so beautiful in the summer:





In our first weekend here we came home to find a big collection of bicycles piled up outside the front door and lots of kids over playing. That alone made all the effort to find the place and move entirely worth it. Short commute and happy kids both go a long way toward a happy life.


All we need now are the Cohen's.


via GIPHY