I signed my lease yesterday! It’s for a 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment on the second floor of an apartment complex that is a block away from campus and less than a five minute walk to the Flagship main office (which is also where I will be having most of my classes). I am so enchanted by it. My room is nice and big and has a closet, TV (which I plan on covering and using as a desktop), and a balcony area off of it that is for drying clothes (with a washer to the side). My soon to be roommate’s room is past the dining room area (there is a small kitchen off of that), and is much smaller, but hey, they are getting free rent so I don’t think that they can complain. The water is heated by a propane tank, which I have to turn on when I want hot water. I also have to open the window to ventilate the place, and I admit that I am not very keen on smelling the gas (I was raised to be very weary when smelling gas). The door to the house is very interesting- the key is shaped like a four-pronged screw driver, and the outside of the door has no door handle, only the key hole and a peep hole. It does help me feel safer, as I’m pretty sure there is no conceivable way to get in without a key. The windows outside of my room on the balcony also have bars on them, which is nice.
The rent is 2600 rmb a month, which is approximately 413 dollars a month (not bad for a 2 bedroom). I’ll be staying there for 5 months, and had to put down a deposit of one month’s rent. In total, that means that I owe the landlady 15600 rmb, approximately 2476 dollars. I was able to put down 6,000 rmb immediately, however because I am only able to withdraw 2500 rmb a day, she is giving me until Monday to get the rest of the money to her (9600 rmb). Aside from this, I paid the intermediary fee, which was half a month’s rent. This will pretty much wipe out my bank account until the scholarship money gets there, which unfortunately is not until the first week of classes at the University of Oregon, at the very end of September! Luckily the Chinese Governmental Scholarship gives me a small stipend, however this also won’t come into effect until around September 20. I am lucky that food in China is so cheap (a light dinner tonight for 2 was 7 rmb, about 1.30 American). The only other issue money wise that I have encountered concerns credit cards, the use of which is almost non-existant in Nanjing. The one exception came today when Alex, Brandon, and I went to Ikea! Thank goodness for international companies, as otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to buy a blanket and pillow, let alone a towel! Ikea was a really interesting place, I have only been there once in the US, and China was pretty much the same. The only difference is that people here take pictures in the set up rooms and even take naps on the couches and beds! One woman I saw was tucking her sleeping child into one of the kid’s beds. It was adorable.
The landlady and her mother (whose apartment it is) are coming back on Friday to collect some of their things and show me some last minute details. After that I am going to thoroughly clean the apartment and only then start to unpack and decorate. It’s going to be a little cramped as far as time goes, because I have orientation from nine to noon, then a break until two, and then placement testing from two until five thirty. The landlady is showing up at one, so I’ll have to keep a close eye on the clock to make it back in time for the testing. I’m lucky I live so close!
Today I signed up for internet through the same company as my phone. Unfortunately they only have year long contracts, but for 480 rmb, approximately 76 dollars, I think it'll be okay. It's certainly cheaper than what I paid for in the US. Now the only question is when the people will come to install it. I hope that they won't call when I'm in the middle of orientation or taking my placement tests... I suppose that's out of my hands. For now I'll enjoy the apartment by watching Battlestar Galactica and unpacking ikea stuff (so much packaging, and I don't know where the trash is yet!). Tonight we're going to a night market by the Confucius Temple. It's a food night market and also a stuff night market, so I can get hangers and trash cans and the like for pretty cheap. I'll be sure to take pictures! Love,