Friday, September 11, 2015

My Virtual China Home Tour

My family asks about what my house and neighborhood look like while here in China. Disclaimer: this home tour isn't like the usual blog posts of amazing houses that are comparable to those straight out of Crate and Barrel. This post won't be like my friend Shawni Pothiers (my dream home!)

Shawni's blog   < Follow her. You really should.

Anyways, this tour is mainly to show you what an apartment in China looks like. Yes we have toilets and yes we have running water. BUT you can't drink the water because it is not safe...Oh, thats a blog post for another day.

I thought it was a little comical when my Mom first came to visit me ...she walked in my home and said, "Oh wow! This is A LOT nicer than I thought it would be. I like your house, Cat." So, apparently she thought I lived a little rougher than I do. I admit I was a little worried about what we would be living like while here in China but I have come to love our home and it truly feels like ours.

We live in the city of Shanghai, in an area called Lujiazui. It is also known as the "Financial district". I absolutely love our destination. It is right in the middle of the city and all the action. It is a relatively newer part of Shanghai and the whole city has been built up in skyscrapers only since the 1990s! It is very new and there is always a new building or high-rise being built.  Another great perk for where we live is the view from our living room window. We can see the 2nd tallest building in the world about a block from our home and the iconic "pearl tower" that is in all of the shanghai skyline pictures. I think it is so fun to live in the city because it is very different from where we would live in the states. Our house is close to the subway stop, some markets, and a very huge mall. Some of our good friends live in the building across the street from us. They are our city neighbors! Our apartment compound is huge with 15 buildings in total, a pool, clubhouse, gym, market, preschool, and a health center.  Its pretty convenient. 

Heres our building! We live on the 7th floor and have a great view of the lower grassy area but tall enough to see the surrounding buildings. 

I really love our compound and the landscaping is nicely done. It gets really beautiful here in the spring. It is one of my favorite times in Shanghai.

Samantha enjoys spending lots of her time looking down on the cars and people below. She could spend hours just looking our her window. 

Our travel wall is one of my favorite personal touches. It has been fun to get some good pictures from all over the world. It was actually pretty hard to narrow down our top picks. This wall is in our guest room which I don't have another picture of. BUT do not fear. We DO have one. And you SHOULD come visit us. Except you...creepy person from Moldova that keeps looking at my blog. 

Here is the view from our kitchen balcony.

So how does city living differ from the suburbs? Well, I don't have a yard, and I take an elevator up to my door, and I also have people drop in unannounced to clean my windows about once every other month. (This was my shower window, by the way...)

Another difference in city living in China is that I have maintenance people. They sure are creative!

Here is our kitchen. In China the kitchens are typically very small. Let's remember, this is a high-rise. I have shown pictures of my kitchen back home to some Chinese friends and they have said, "Why do you need that much room?! What are you doing in there?!" Chinese people also don't use ovens. They do not bake at all.  But when we were negotiating our apartment we asked them to put one in. A lot of people just use toaster ovens.  

Here is our refrigerator. Lets be honest, its more like a mini fridge. I have seen hotels that have ones that are bigger than this. It has been really hard to only keep necessary things in there. 2 nights of leftovers and we have no more room left. I told Peyton when we move back to the States I want a double door. 

Only enough room for the necessities...caramel sauce and ranch dressing. (Stop, your judging!) But really though, thats boxed milk. The only option here. It can last on the shelf for years before you open it and have to refrigerate it. But,  I don't want to talk about it...

Here is our guest bathroom. Nothing special, but I did want to point out that nice towel warmer. We actually keep it on constantly in the winter and it keeps the bathroom nice and toasty. There's nothing like a warm towel! It gets pretty cold here in the winter, so it has been nice. I would also like to report that we do not have squatty potties in our home. We have toilets, which I did not post a picture of. You're welcome. 

Samanthas room is my absolute favorite place in our house. I wanted to decorate the nursery and have it be very peaceful, bright and girly. (Peaceful, for all those nights where she stayed up crying) 

Our room is pretty plain but we have really loved having a King sized bed. I don't think we will ever go back. It is funny how you don't know the difference until you have more room, and then you get spoiled.

Our office/workout room has gotten smaller by the second! Peyton keeps adding new equipment and I am worried that soon we will need to take out our computer to make way for a full on studio. 

Our living room is neutral and pretty standard. I really liked picking out our furniture and finding things that made it feel like home. It made such a difference to even just put pictures up on the wall! 

Our dining area is simple  and I really like that we have included a few "Chinese" touches in our decoration. There is a fine line between simple Chinese decor and it being too obnoxious. 

So there you have it. This is what an apartment in China looks like. I miss having a yard and having a place where Samantha can go run around in. I often feel couped up without a lot of place to let her go crazy. Luckily there have been a few places where she can go explore. 

I know one day I will miss the craziness of city living and a suburban neighborhood will seem a bit boring at times but there are pros and cons to both. I feel fortunate to experience both.