Posts Tagged ‘apartment’

Full house

When I first looked at this place I’m living in now, there was only one person and I didn’t see her for at least a week.  Now, all four rooms are full and two out of the three other ladies speak English.  I’m so lucky!

On Saturday, I did the final bulk of my moving which consisted of calling a taxi and packing it full of all the big things and some bags on sticks like a hobo.  When I had hauled everything upstairs and begun re-arranging, my landlady came down from her apartment to see what was going on.  She seemed a little concerned with the liberties I was taking with her furniture and flooring (I pulled up the previous tenants’ awful foam puzzle floor), but that might just be her face…

Just a few minutes later, the new chatty girl came home and we started to talk.  She had brought two flats of strawberries and so we stood around and ate them in the hallway as they asked me questions and talked about housing matters.  The chatty girl is 42, I believe, so girl is not the right word even though she is quite girlish.  Because of her age and the age of the other tenant, they were quite amazed at the daring that brought such a child to their doorstep.  How did my mom feel?  She’s visited me; she’s okay with it.  Did I have a boyfriend?  At my answer, they immediately got a little fluttery as they brought up the landlady’s sons, neither of whom is married.

Long story short, yesterday Mrs. Lin gave me some bananas and grape juice, and this evening she brought me a plate of really awesome dumplings.  I think I’m betrothed, you guys.


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Movin’ on up (to the west side!)

I put a reservation deposit of 500元 on my room today, and I am most pleased with my choice!  I love the street I’m on (lane, rather) and I love the park at the end of it and I think I like the landlady and her son.  The fact that I’m 3 minutes from an MRT station and probably 30 minutes walk from work doesn’t hurt at all!  Plus, I have a window.

Are you surprised that a window is a thing to be celebrated?  Let’s talk about housing in Taipei.  Unless you want to spend a lot of money, you’re looking at renting single rooms, rather like three-quarters of my college life.  Many people take a normal apartment and spit it up, the classier places using real walls, and the others using particle board and the like.  No joke: there’s a field on the most popular housing site in Taiwan to state what the room’s walls are made of.  Once that charming distinction is out of the way, there are two kinds of rooms: 套房 and 雅房.  The first group, taofang, comes with an en suite bathroom.  Yafang (the second) do not.  Another interesting feature of these places is that the kitchens are often partial or non-existent.  The one I have chosen has a kitchen space, but no real cooking appliances.  This is a step up from the other place I saw that had just a fridge at the end of the hall.

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Since I haven’t moved in yet, I have only pictures of the outside that I took when I first went to see the place.  I can only reiterate how charmed I am by the street and how perfectly it fits my picture of Taipei City life.

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It’s now 2011 and I had a good time ringing it in.  I don’t think I did anything remarkable for 2010, but I know that from my freshman year of college to my senior year, I had decidedly limited New Year’s Eves due to the Rose Parade.  Since 2011 marks the 100th year of the Republic of China, I set my mind to seeing a spectacle, and in spite of all the warnings, I went into the city with my roommates.

They had an idea to take the bus to a key MRT intersection and find a club or bar, but I was going to see the fireworks at 101, no question about it.  They decided that it wasn’t a bad idea, and we rode the bus, going slower and slower as we approached the road closures around Taipei 101 and the city hall.

While on the bus, we noticed the masses of people streaming past us, often faster than the traffic, so we knew that it would be as crowded as people said, but once off the bus, the feeling of an oppressive and too-dense crowd never really kicked in.  Not until the fireworks were over was it even crowded in a bad way, and even then it was still pretty orderly.

Favorite moments:

  • seeing the night sky as starry dark blue with sparse clouds instead of as an orange haze as it’s recently seemed in Xinzhuang
  • using a squat porta-john (most pleasantly fragrant portable toilet I’ve ever encountered)
  • walking right down the middle of Zhongxiao E. Road, a main thoroughfare
  • cramped and undoubtedly freezing belly dancers on the smallest stage in the world
  • crowd control in a 7-11 and my resulting grapey-vodka drink (I forgot how much I liked grape juice!)
  • waiting around and seeing the various ways people were occupying themselves
  • counting down the New Year in Chinese, which was disappointingly difficult and made me sympathize with the kindergarten kids I have made do this in the past
  • the excellent fireworks all around the 101 area and up and down the building itself
  • guarding my alley-peeing roommates and almost slipping off the curb playing with a sparkle-stick I had found on the way to said alley
  • witnessing an engagement or even extremely casual wedding go down on the median
  • walking 5 MRT stops but getting good seats and then taking an affordable and comfortable taxi home,  frequently recognizing what I thought would be an unfamiliar area

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The house is a home

I didn’t know until at probably middle school that mechanics were considered crooks, or at the very least, untrustworthy and shady.  My dad was always the helpful hero, magically diagnosing and fixing people’s car problems, so when I found out the common perception, I was shocked.

That said, I don’t think I’m going to rock anyone’s world with this observation: movers are the worst!  After some searching, one of my coworkers helped me arrange a really excellent and clearly outlined deal.  When they arrived, they tried to play us for fools and more than double the price because they didn’t “know they would need the big truck.”  We clarified and explained and bargained, and eventually kicked them out.  I should add that the boss of the pair was a stereotype to end all stereotypes: sweaty, ratty shirt, betel nut teeth, flabby gut…

Fortunately, we found another place who was more expensive but upfront about it and just plain personable.  The two guys were strong and fast and very jokey, and even though they upped the price by 200 NT, I really didn’t begrudge them it.  It was also kind of cool because they were Hakka, and if I had known earlier, I would have asked for a few words.

We had hoped to start moving at 11, but nothing actually got to my house until 4, and things weren’t settled and completed for another few hours after that.  As it is, I’ve still got a lot to do tomorrow, but at least I’ve got a much prettier home to do it in!

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My new place

I’m fully moved in to my new apartment, which means I have one couch, one bed, one blanket (Irma, it’s called Irma!!!  That’s the main reason I bought it), two suitcases, one computer bag, and one duffel full of dirty clothes.

After some shopping with Rebecca today, I also have a new purse and some facewash, but tomorrow is when I plan to do the heavy lifting.  IKEA’s going to deliver a desk chair and a dresser, and I’m also going to run to Carrefour for hangers and towels and FOOD.

In between all of this, I’m going to be reading as much as possible for the 24-hour Read-a-thon!  I rarely need an excuse for this kind of thing, but I’m going to be using it as mandatory relaxation in the midst of getting my apartment ready for real habitation.  Fun times!

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Today I signed a lease for a year. You guys, this is serious now.

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Tentative excitement

Oh, I hesitate to get too worked up since I haven’t signed the lease yet, but I think I have a place!  About $450/mo for 2 bedrooms, 1.5 – 2 bathrooms, “security” (which means garbage service and a gate and camera), and an office.  It has the potential to be as good as my New Mexican house, which I still occasionally mourn.

I will update as I learn more!

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