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An Expat Talks About What It is Like to Move to Tianjin, China, Report 2079 | Expat Exchange
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An Expat Talks about Moving to Tianjin, China

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Tianjin

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

Three things I wish I had brought

1. My own bed or a new American made King Size bed!!! My poor back may never forgive me for not doing so. Along with not knowing the meaning of safety and sanitation, the Chinese do not have a clue when it comes to making comfortable furniture.PS. Also the complete bedding for that bed.

2. Also, like the bed two very comfortable chairs(like a laz-y-boy) for the living room. Again, your body will appreciate you for doing so.

3. A mixer that has been wired for 220 volt. Can be done by companies in America that wire appliances for overseas living.The chinese do not use(yet) many of the appliances Americans are use to using in their kitchens.

Three things I wish I had left at home.

1. At least 3/4's of my clothing (with the exception of underwear, jeans, and shoes) China is a nation of a zillion clothing shops and, also, excellent tailors and seamstresses that do not charge all that much to make good clothing.

2. My breadmaker. China now has lots of bakeries and while their pastries still leave something to be desired their many choices of breads will do just fine for your dinner table.

3. My fear of the Chinese people. I can honestly say that I have NOT had one single intimadating, fearful enounter or situation with any Chinese since moving here over two years ago. Frustrating and confusing at times,yes, but I have never felt threatened. In fact,sadly ironically, I have felt much safer here in China than I ever felt back in my good, ole USA.

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Come for what I call a looky-see trip first before committing to come live in this area to make sure you can find a decent home for you and your family. Get a good relocation company to help you look and negotiate for you. Everything in china is up for negotiation! Make sure your company is allowing you enough housing money per month to get you a good place to live and make sure you detail and negotiate EVERYTHING you want the place to have BEFORE you seal the deal and move into the place. *** When your contract for the house is up for renewal that is the time the owner will make other changes you need or forgot to ask for intitally to keep you in the place for another go round.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

I live on the 23rd floor of what is known as a fully-serviced apt building. Fully serviced means that they provide housekeeping six days a week. My apt is a modest sized three bedroom/2 bath place.No dishwasher or garbage disposal but does have access to western TV programming which is banned to the Chinese locals. It is centrally located so I can walk to many places I want to go to or easily flag down one of the little red suicide taxis that play road chicken games all over town. Like most Chinese made buildings, this place while only five years old is already showing signs of falling apart.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

There were not that many choices in Tianjin of what we call, "western style" housing. Still are not that many choices. We ended up in the place we have(23rd floor of a centrally located Singaporian run apt building) because one became available when we needed it and we grabbed the bird in hand not knowing if there were any left out there in the bushes, so to speak.

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Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

The intial cost per month for this apt was $5,000 USD!(They have since dropped the rent down to $4,000 per month) The same apt back in Seattle would run around $1,000 per month and would include a dishwasher and garbage disposal. There are apts in Tianjin to be had for less, of course, but not as nice or offer perks like good western TV programming like our building can get for its tennants.

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