Still working on the home part, but I cooked myself a cute and pretty tasty dinner tonight. I thought I’d share, in the spirit of moderate pride that I made something cute and good, and also poking fun at my good friend Caroline. Do you read this, Care?
Today after class (and after grading homework), I stopped by a rental agents’. No one spoke English, but they got someone on the phone to translate (she spoke to me and IMed the realtor–very cool!) and within 10 or 15 minutes I was out the door with Mr. Zhou to see a place. It was not too bad, especially considering the rent hike in Xinzhuang due to the planned MRT line. It was also pretty unique because studios are hard to come by here (I don’t know why), and if you can find them, it’s usually more like what I had in college with a shared living space and kitchen, but private room and bathroom (called a tàofáng). Come to think of it, that’s more than I had in college!
I told the agent in my busted Chinese that it was not bad but not great, and we finally understood each other that I wanted yī fáng yī tīng (one bedroom, one living room) and a kitchen. As soon as I said it, I remembered the housing unit in Chinese class and was a little frustrated with myself, but since we basically understood my needs, it was a success. We parted ways in the lobby with a promise from him to call tomorrow, and I went to hunt down the realtor Rebecca and Steve helped me find.
It was almost not to be. Because of the location of the potential studio, I took a very different way home and thought I was doing pretty well, but then I crossed the river and psyched myself into turning too soon. It was a very pleasant exploratory walk for all that it took place in a heavy rain shower, but it served to remind me that I was not at home here yet. This sounds depressing, but it was really more exhilarating than anything else.
Fortunately, when I found my way back to a main street I was familiar with, I hadn’t yet reached the first rental agency. As I came up to it, I caught my realtor about to leave and asked him to call me tomorrow. With any luck, I’ll have a good variety of places to look at tomorrow!