After living for one year in my Suzhou apartment I though it might be time to move to a new place. Currently I live in a student complex. Although being surrounded by students all day does make you feel young, one also is prone to lossing touch with society as a whole.
My apartment was recommended to me by XJTLU. It is 1 of the 4 main apartment complexes that are used for housing students and some staff. According to the human resource office I was very lucky to be able to get into ‘Parfait International Apartment’. It has two major advantages. Firstly it is only 3 years old. It was not degraded that much, as is so typical of many Chinese developments after a few years. Secondly there was heating in the living room and in the bed room!
The city I live in is below the Chinese heating border that runs near latitude 33 degrees north. Above this the state provides subsidised central heating, since it freezes there in winter. Below this–which also means Suzhou–people have to make do with individual electric heaters, when it gets cold. Remarkably even at my university it is not uncommon to have (out)doors open all the time in winter and windows wide open, while at the same time running airco in the heating mode.
I was motivated in my search for a new apartment by one of my colleagues who lived in the same complex. My colleague had made an appointment with a real estate agent, to show him two apartments near the university, one new, one old. I was going with him, as was another colleague.
The first apartment being shown was previously used by three students. It was in an apartment block, that was not older then 10 years. Sadly it was totally run down! The window frames were almost falling out of the wall, the kitchen looked like a stable . . . Price 3500 Yuan. The second apartment we were being shown was brand-new. But again, the finishing and detailing were horrible, also it was rather pricy (5000 yuan).
The bottom line was that for the price and quality we were looking for it was rather hard to find something better. So for the moment I decide to stay at my current place!