Monday, August 29, 2011

House Hunting Woes

So I officially hate house hunting in Nanjing. This may be more of a rant than a post, but it'll work as a nice outlet anyways.

First, a rant about Flagship funding. It is August 29th and I have been in Nanjing for 1 day. All of my funding comes from scholarships, and most (if not all) go through the UO Financial Aid office. This means that they don't go into effect until the first week of school, at the end of September. In turn this means that I don't have any money from school until then. This is a problem when apartment hunting because because not only do we have to pay a deposit and finders fee (everyone goes through real estate agents, which is also strange) but also ALL month's rent UP FRONT. We are allotted 2,500 rmb a month for rent, which is about 400 dollars. Times five months plus the deposit and finders fee (a month and half a month's rent), totals about 2,600 dollars. So this means that I had to ask my parents for a loan on top of the loan that they gave me for the plane ticket there (over 1,000). So I am really frustrated with funding right now (and in turn, Flagship) because we're expected to get an apartment and figure out utilities and everything and pay for it all without any funding. Thank God my parents are as amazing as they are and have been able and willing to help me get through this, because I honestly don't know what I would do otherwise.

Now we turn to apartment hunting. I rode on my first moped, which was only mildly terrifying weaving in and out of traffic and pedestrians. It was only when we got there and I asked how much it was a month that we discovered that it was way too expensive (3,000 rmb a month). I then went back to the real estate office and proceeded to hang out for about an hour and a half, talking to the various students that came in. Most of them were from BYU (there are about 30 of them studying abroad there, not in the Flagship program) and extremely nice and talkative. But by the time that two o'clock rolled around and they finally revealed to me that they wouldn't be showing another place until 4:30 I was out of there, and went to another real estate agent. This one was much nicer and while we were waiting for the agent we talked a lot. It's nice to know that I can hold a conversation without too much difficulty (sometimes the accent was a little hard to understand). We saw four apartments today. The first was on the 7th floor (all stairs of course) and was probably the most cluttered apartment I've ever seen. The second was amazing, except for the fact that it had a shared toilet outside of the apartment (I took one look in there and decided to move on). The third one I actualy really liked (fifth floor and a good size). The only problem was that it wasn't available until September 16th, two weeks from now and a week after class starts, which is too late. The final place we saw was rather far, in addition to being the 7th floor. To add to it, there were not mattresses on the bed and the main bedroom had black mold. They tried to tell me that it wasn't a problem, but I lived in Oregon for four years, I know black mold is a problem. At this point my knee was starting to get angry with me so as we walked back I was in rather low spirits.

But after getting back to my hotel and meeting up with Alex we went out to eat dinner with about 10 other Flagship students. I met one guy who is the first person I've met who also wants to teach Chinese, and overall it was a wonderfully spirit-lifting dinner. The students are from Indiana and Mississippi, and are all very friendly and talkative. We had an excellent dinner and I look forward to having some classes with them. After dinner we were sitting on the steps outside the hotel and met three other students who are here for a month long study abroad stay, and they were from the University of Washington! It seems like most foreigners who are here are very friendly and outgoing, and we ended up talking for an hour. I'm not sure I can say that I look forward to more apartment hunting tomorrow, but I am definitely looking forward to getting to know my fellow Flagship students a little better. Love,

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