This post is so long overdue! There are still people asking to see where we live and what our apartment looks like. I am not sure why it taken us so long to get to doing this – Busy at work? Long vacation in Thailand, followed by months of travel posts? Pregnancy? Who knows! We should have shown you our home ages ago, but better late than never, right?
To start off with, I will say that you should take a look at this old post from 2013 where we show you the complex that we live in: Our Complex. If I’m not mistaken, we live in the largest apartment complex in Qingdao, and I am thankful for the year that we have spent here because the facilities are great, and the grounds are beautiful! We are not 100% sure yet, but we might have to move soon. If we do, we will be sad to leave this amazing complex and our awesome apartment. But as our family grows and changes, so do our needs. With the baby coming a bigger apartment might be better suited for us. Our school did not provide this home for us. We had to find it ourselves, and in China that means paying a full year of rent in advance. Crazy, right? In fact, many bills are expected to be paid in advance for 6-12 months (depending on how lucky you get). Read more about that here: Renting in China. Needless to say, it was expensive to move in here and we then had to start considering our third year in China too. We have been saving all year for our next year of upfront rent payment and we are ready for that payment, which will be due in about two months. Yes – we have already lived in this apartment for 10 months, so let us get on with it, and show you our home…
To get to our front door, we need to take a longish elevator ride which takes us to the 24th floor of our building. There are three apartments per floor in each tower (our building has two towers), so we don’t have anyone walking by our front door, and for the most part, it is very peaceful once we get home. The only annoyances so far have been noisy neighbours below and above us, but after some complaining, they were more respectful. As you can see above, we have an entryway by our front door. This is perfect for life in an Asian country where shoes are not worn indoors. We use the hallway closets (behind the mirrored doors) for shoe and jacket storage.
This is our lounge. One of the things that we love about this apartment is all the finishings and decor. We fell in love with this place the minute we walked in! Since then we have spent a lot of time at home, mainly due to my morning sickness (2 months), a bitterly cold winter, and the fact that we are habitual home-bodies! We LOVE curling up on the couch and watching movies. We have therefore been very thankful for such a beautiful apartment which we have enjoyed so much.
One of our most favourite things about this apartment is the view. Above is the view from the lounge and our bedroom. All of these buildings are located within our complex, so as you can see, we really do live in a big community. At the top right, is a middle school and across the road from that is a big grocery store. There really are not many things that we need to leave our complex for – we can find take-out, hairdressers, flower shops, bakeries, coffee shops, and many other useful spots.
Although not very big, our apartment is very spacious and open. There is a lot of light and since we have doors on both sides, there is good airflow. Above you can see a single door on the right. That door leads around the side of our home and connects with the rest of our balcony. There is plenty of storage area there, and lots of place to hang our washing.
Our kitchen is great – the perfect size for us! We love to cook in here together, although lately hubby cooks much more than wifey does (because she needs to put up those swelling feet).
In the corner of our kitchen, above, you can see a round white contraption. That is a rice cooker and it’s the first one that we have ever had. We use it very regularly, and it honestly is the easiest way to cook rice! There were a number of appliances already in this kitchen when we moved in, so if we have to move, we are praying for an equally well-eqipped kitchen.
Below is our bedroom. It is pretty small but it has an great bay window which we like to sit in and read or relax. When Elijah is born, we will move his crib into our room – right beside our bed – but since things will be pretty cramped when we do that, we will leave his bed out of our room until he arrives.
We have a small area next to our bathroom where our washing machine and laundry basket are located. This works out perfectly since it is located between our bedroom and our bathroom, and therefore convenient for dirty laundry, etc. As you probably noticed, we don’t have a dryer (they are not very common over here in Asia), but with all that balcony space we can hang our washing out of sight and it dries pretty quickly in summer. In winter… Hhmmm, not so much! During the cold months our washing dries faster indoors since we have crazy-hot underfloor heating!
Our bathroom is pretty! We love the finishings… the marble counter, the big framed mirror, mosaic tiles around the mirror, and the fact that there is a spacious shower with a door (this is a commodity in Asia, since many bathrooms here simply have a shower over the toilet, which leaves the whole bathroom soaking wet after showers). Sure there are times when this bathrooms smells like a sewerage dump, but that is quite normal here in China. It comes with the territory!
Since there are only two of us, we did some rearranging when we moved in, and decided that we like our dining room table against the wall. It offers less sitting room, but we don’t need to use all side of the table so that’s okay. Besides just for eating, we often sit here to do school work, chat to family, blog, play games, and relax.
Behind the dining area is the kitchen to the left, and Eli’s little nursery area to the right. This was not even meant to be a room (as you can tell by the glass sliding doors), but we converted the office area into a baby area. It is very small but it fits his crib, some shelves, and a big wardrobe containing all of his things. We will show you his room in an upcoming post. Although you can’t see it, there is a fully-mirrored wall (opposite the kitchen) and this is where we do work-outs. Well… pre-pregnancy that was where we DID workouts!
We bought this rocking chair and footstool duo for when Eli comes. Justin gets tons of use out of it already since he likes to sit here and read. The light from the balcony door behind the chair is perfect. I imagine many hours will be spent here feeding and rocking our newborn baby!
And finally, our balcony. This is the coolest balcony we have seen in our time in Asia. We like that it wraps around one side of the apartment and can be accessed from both sides of our lounge. When we want to BBQ but the weather is not so great, we open a few windows so that we have enough shelter from wind but are still able to not smoke ourselves in. Being as spacious as it is, we appreciate this extra room for hanging washing and storing boxes (or extra luggage).
Not only do we have an indoor balcony, but we have a big outdoor area too. It tends to get pretty windy up here on the 24th floor but on good days, we have an amazing view and great sunshine all morning and afternoon. Hopefully the summer rains don’t take away too many of the afternoons we want to spend out here BBQing and relaxing in the sun. When baby comes and leaving the house isn’t as easy – we are happy to know that we have this area to escape to for some fresh air and sunshine.
We should have shown you are our home ages ago, and we are sorry that we didn’t. We have really enjoyed this apartment, and we would be happy to stay here for another year. If plans were to change and we do decide to move to a another apartment, we would miss this awesome little spot that we have but as long as we are together, it doesn’t matter where we live.
We hoped that you enjoyed the tour of our home in China.
We hoped that you enjoyed the tour of our home in China.
There may be a number of things about life as an expat that are tough to adjust to, but we have love living in this modern apartment with great views of the mountain.