Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Home in Shanghai

We have finally moved into our new place (2nd hand but renovated, so new to us!). We're literally smack dab in the middle of downtown Shanghai right off Huaihai Lu. It's a great location, there is a new subway line being built near us along with a new high end shopping center. Great for property values!

I'll post photos of the place once the boxes are out of the way. :-)

Some small but interesting tibits of information that are essential to new homeowners in China.

#1. You must suck up to your neighbors,

Especially if they're local. We share some common space outside of our front door with our neighbors, the space includes a built in shoe closet and also some space where you could put a bench or hooks for coats, etc. Our lovely neighbors have lived in the building since it was built in 2001 which seems to make them think they're more entitled to the common space than we are. We have tried our best to be very polite, bring them fruit and introduce ourselves, etc. But they haven't once offered to let us use any of the space which they have occupied with their own things. So, now we play the game of negotiating without negotiating. We've invited them over to our place this weekend for tea and cakes - at this time we're going to tell them that we've bought them a lovely storage bench and hooks and we'd love to give it to them so they can use it in the hallway. This is our way of trying to say "Hey look, let's share the space and at the same time update it by using more modern looking furniture!". If they don't go for this idea then we can get tough and just demand that they let us use the space too. husband insists that before we do anything too "confrontational" we have to use this passive aggressive strategy. It seems like a hell of a lot of work to me, I prefer the more direct approach. But that doesn't seem to be the Chinese we're going try it this way. We'll see what happens!

#2. Suck up to your security guards and concierge!

These people man our building 24/7, they know everyone and know pretty much everything that goes on. Because we're foreigners and we own a place they pay even more attention to us. They knew we were putting in a red kitchen, that we went out of town for the weekend, that we hired a new Ayi, etc. They can really help you out with little things or could probably really screw you over if they didn't like you. I'm going to bake mine cupcakes next week. :-)

More to come as we adjust to owning a home in China.

ps - one of our other neighbors accross the hall has his grandson living with him. The grandson plays a traditional Chinese flute called the Xiao every morning and evening. This is a small gem we've recently discovered. It makes all the stress and maddness of buying and renovating here a little bit better.

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