Tag Archives: WMAF

Plans for the new apartment

Following my last article about the new apartment I have some new developments to write about. First of all I am sorry that I didn’t manage to do so last weekend but some basic company related mess kept me away from writing anything. For everyone who doesn’t know about this apartment and does not want to read through the whole blog post from two weeks ago called “This and that” I will give you a quick summary.

My parents in-law are about to buy a new apartment in Xi’an. This apartment is roughly 25% cheaper for them through some reason I still don’t really understand, it involves somehow them being former workers at that factory which used to be on the grounds of that new apartment block. Two weeks ago I wrote that I am not too happy about them buying that apartment as it is first of all far away from the city center and second of all it would also mess up their daily lives as they need to commute everywhere by bus and thus making everything harder and more expensive.

Those lovely buildings in the background is where my in-laws are living right now

For the past twenty’ish years they have been living right in the city center of Xi’an within the old city walls. Sure the area is not the prettiest around as the buildings haven’t been taken care of at all ever since their existence but it had some certain feeling to it as most neighbours know  each other, on the streets in front of the buildings you can have all kind of delicious food, all kind of stores are all around there and it feels just real. In short it is for me the real Chinese city life, not those fancy malls or new skyscraper apartment blocks. My parents joked when they first saw the area that it looks like Germany after WWII (which my father even witnessed so there must be some truth to it). My in-laws apartment is in stark contrast to the outside of the building as everything was nicely renovated six years ago and everything inside is more “western” orientated with the basic Chinese kitsch to top it off.

Yeah this is me with long hairs eating an apple in my in-laws old apartment

The new apartment they want is in another area of the city which used to be an old industrial site. Apparently both of my in-laws used to work there (also the entire rest of the family as far as I know) and now they all got some nice discount on buying apartments there. My in-laws are planning to buy a 98m² (1055f²) apartment which would be about 1/3 bigger than their old one. Of course in China those 98m² are not actually the entire living space you buy as some of those m² are counted into the stairway and what not all so I believe the new apartment will be 85m² at most. Next to the new apartment buildings are the old buildings of the factory workers which are also in a terrible condition. There crazy granny still lives with crazy Uncle and his family (they already purchased the biggest available apartment in the new building). All around there is actually not much to do. There are not even many street kitchens, during daytime you can by only some watermelons from one vendor and there are some car repair place, nothing more. The nearest supermarket is 20 minutes away by walking so all in all it is not really a dream location.

Now to the apartment itself. The apartment is right now pretty much bare brickwork (okay it is concrete) without anything but some windows and the piping done. This means after you purchase such apartment you still have to invest tons of money. What else is not that great is the layout of the apartment which is in my opinion (everyone we asked) really bad, especially the kitchen is the size of a small storage room and I do not know how they will fit anything inside there. As they have installed already windows you can’t purchase yourself proper windows. In China the basic windows you get are some kind of “sliding” windows and they have as much insulation as a sheet of paper. All in all it is a real mess.

What is the new development when it comes to the apartment? You see my wife and I already convinced them to keep the old apartment as its value will increase a lot once plans are made for tearing it down and building a new apartment block there (not one of those ugly skyscrapers but something more traditional looking and not that high as it is within the city walls). After we brought our concerns forward regarding how hard life would be for them when living there they started to think about it themselves. MIL quickly realized that there would be no shopping for her any longer and that she would have to travel for over half hour to her dancing lessons and classes (half hour in case there is no traffic so it is more like one hour for a normal day). Also FIL would not be able to go to his table tennis sessions everyday as it would be the same as with his wife too: much traveling.

This is just 10 minutes away from the old apartment…

Right now they still want to buy that apartment but no longer want to live in it. They also do not plan on renting it out at all! They just want to buy it and leave it in its current condition. As they can get the apartment 25% cheaper they want to wait for a few years and then sell it with a nice profit. I must admit that I kind of like the idea especially as 300k RMB (~45k$) are not from their own pocket but from another source located in another country…

Would you move to such new location? What do you think about my in-laws new plan?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

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This and that

Once again more than two weeks have passed since my last blog post. No I did not lose motivation when it comes to blogging nor do I have a writer’s block. It is just that way too much is happening in our everyday life that I find only very limited time to invest into my blog/ following other blogs on a regular basis. In my last blog post I talked about our Life with two kids and how hard it can be to balance raising them and running a company besides trying to find some spare time in the end of the day.

Half the papers for 2017

Back then I did not imagine that things could get much harder for us but I was so wrong. Just two days after that article was published I got a call from the local tax office that they want to check out our company tax paper. Even though we always did all of the tax work properly we had to double-check everything. I think I might have nightmares about those two weeks of double checking for the rest of my life. We finished with everything at 4.30 am last thursday and the person from the tax office came at 9am! For the last few days I have been trying to just recover from this madness as there was nothing else each day than working, taking care of the kids and going through the tax papers till very late night. Now that this is mostly taken care of (still one small visit next week but nothing we can prepare anymore) I can finally start doing other things in life again such as going to do some sports in the morning before work, reading and thinking about my blog again.

The old area where my in-laws live

So what has happened to us in the past months besides tax office madness, too much work and being all the time ill due to Nathan bringing all possible diseases from kindergarten? Not too much as that is already enough but we also won’t be able to go to Poland this year even though we still had plans for that this summer. Reason for this is a surgery my father had recently and he needs to recover from it so the trip will hopefully happen next spring or latest next autumn. Apparently we are also buying an apartment in Xi’an but that is not 100% certain as of now. No we won’t be buying it for living there ourselves but it will be for my in-laws. There is this new apartment block and it is on the property of the old factory the whole family used to work. Because of this (I actually don’t understand why) they get some discount on the price so the apartments are roughly 25% cheaper for them. In fact the whole crazy family is getting apartments there so they can live together.

The new tower…

I am myself not convinced about that area as it is first of all more in the outskirts of Xi’an and then there is also nothing really close by. No supermarkets or anything so my in-laws would need to take bus everywhere compared to their current prime location right in the historical old town of Xi’an where everything is just a short walking distance away. Another problem is that they renovated their current apartment few years ago entirely so in case they want to rent it out it will be trashed within short time. Personally I just hope they decide to stay in their old apartment. Not only because I have zero interest in living in that new area when visiting them and needing to go everywhere by bus but also because it would be probably better for them to stay there. I mean they are also not the youngest people around any longer and then moving from a place they have lived for over 25 years to another area where nothing is close by and they don’t know any of the neighbours?

 

What is your opinion about my in-laws moving to a new apartment?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.instagram.com/Crazychinesefamily

Life with two kids

It has been now nearly five months since little Nathalie joined our family. Our everyday life changed a lot ever since then when it comes to organizing daily tasks. We knew from the beginning that life would certainly not get any easier with a second child and many friends even “warned us”. The thing is that each child is different and needs a different approach when growing up. In our case Nathalie proved to be the exact opposite of our first-born Nathan.

Our little Nathan back in 2015

When Nathan was born we still lived in Finland in our tiny 40 sqm apartment (~430ft²). Our neighbours were surprised how quiet Nathan was as they never heard him cry. Sure he was crying sometimes but that was very rare. Friends of us with children were always wondering how calm Nathan was and how easy it seemed to take care of him. I am not saying that everything was golden with him but we were blessed with a pretty easy-going child. Later we moved to Germany and even had my parents to help taking care of him. First because I was working and my wife was going to a six month integration course and later because we both started our own business so my parents where taking care of Nathan in between.

We always wanted two children and in the case of my wife she always wanted a boy and a girl. Even though we were very busy starting our own business we decided to have a second child. The timing seemed perfect for us as Nathan would be by the time Nathalie is born over three years old and starting kindergarten, giving us more time to raise the baby girl. Though the timing was indeed perfect everything developed a bit different than hoped for. First of all Nathan started kindergarten half-year later than planned as the city had messed up some paperwork in between for his registration. Then our business suddenly developed a bit too well and gave us (especially my wife) extreme work load which had to be dealt with until Nathalie was born. In fact my wife worked until a few hours before Nathalie’s birth and starting again three days later to finish some leftover orders.

Having help from the family is always wonderful (even with MIL)

Now I come again to the beginning when I mentioned that every child is different when growing up and needs a different approach. For us Nathalie was so very unlike her brother. Sure she looked very similar to him when born, to be precise she was more like copy paste of Nathan except of having more hair. Her temperament however was very different. By now she is going by the names “Demon”, “Gewitterziege” (German for “Thunderstorm Goat” and according to dict.cc means sour old hag…) and “Devil”. These are certainly not the nicest names to give to a baby but they are kind of accurate. Little Nathalie pretty much controls the family, not only us but also her grandparents. This all took time to get used to, especially when trying to combine taking care of her and starting work again.

Now five months after her birth we developed a more or less working daily schedule. Despite the many hardships when trying to balance raising two kids and running your own business we do not regret anything. We love our two kids, no matter what trouble our demon girl brings  because in the end she brings us more happiness each day than exhausting crying time. We also love to have our own business as it allows us to work from home and gives us much more time with our kids. The downside of being your own boss are the unregulated working hours, no paid holidays, no maternity allowance (my wife still got 80% of her income when Nathan was born in Finland) and higher health insurance costs.

My parents who have helped us so much since we moved to Germany

Life with two kids is very different to having just one child. It is nothing like “Oh I know by now how to take care of a baby and raising a kid, so it will be very easy”. My cousin who has four children told me once “Having one child is very easy but when the second one comes the real challenge starts, it is a huge difference. After that it is not such a big difference anymore when you have a third or even a fourth child”. I did not really believe her back then but now I agree at least with the part about the challenges when having a second child. I am also really thankful to my parents as they are tremendous help for us as they live so close by. Without them everything would have been much harder and I believe we would have never managed it without them past the initial stage when starting our business as they helped to take care of Nathan.

What is your take on having one child compared to have two (or even more!)?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.instagram.com/Crazychinesefamily