When I arrived in China many years ago I deliberately decided not to live in one of the compounds in Shunyi (close to Beijing airport) where most of my colleagues had their villas. I took an apartment close to the Second Ring Road (at the then brand-new East Gate Plaza) and have lived in the city center of Beijing and later Shanghai during my whole stay in China. I never thought I would ever move to the suburbs, it’s just too convenient to be able to have shopping malls and restaurants within walking distance.
But having a baby boy changes everything: with an additional full-time nanny, a 6-days a week ayi plus more longer-staying family members suddenly our 4-bedroom apartment is getting too small. And with a child we want to have a garden instead of just a balcony. So about two months ago we started looking for a villa and found a suitable one quite quickly. It was a 400+ sqm villa in the Hongqiao Golf Villas compound, and we planned to move in two weeks ago.
But a few days before moving there were some complications: the house was not renovated yet, the landlord was avoiding us for unknown reasons and when we managed to get in touch with her she was extremely arrogant, hang up on my wife and seemed to be looking for a way out of the contract. Eventually we decided this would not work, so we canceled the house contract, informed our moving company, and were lucky to be able to stay a few more weeks in our current apartment.
We went looking for houses again like crazy, and last week finally found a nice villa where we could move in quickly (see picture). A bit more expensive than originally planned, but I was so fed up with the time it takes to look at houses plus we really liked this house and compound, so we decided to go for it. We will move in this Friday already.
From then on I will be living in Suburbia, something I always dreaded. But now I am actually looking forward to it. It will be very quiet, I will be able to have breakfast outside in the garden and I will also have my own gym at home. The commute to work will be longer however, which is the biggest downside. All in all I look forward to living in the suburbs, I suppose I am getting older…