An American in Chengdu

New apartment | October 5, 2010

I moved about a week and a half ago. My first two apartments were provided by my employer, and since I’m no longer employed, I had to strike out on my own. This isn’t such a bad thing, since my new place is nicer than the old one and closer to the university where I’m taking classes.

For the last year I could get help from my school with just about anything: getting things fixed in the apartment, setting up Internet, registering with the police. Now I instead have Mr. Wang, my landlord. I’ve seen Mr. Wang every day or two since moving in. He’s over 60 but knows quite a few English nouns. Occasionally he’ll try piecing together an English sentence, like “Turn off, wait three minutes, open,” but mostly we communicate–or don’t–in Chinese. He drops by with things for the apartment, like a phone, or two impressively ugly bedside tables, or, more strangely, a picture (“I’ll hang this when I have time,” he told me). He’s taken me on little tours of the neighborhood so that I know where to pay the building management fee, the gas bill, and the Internet fee. After the washing machine repairman came by yesterday, Mr. Wang stopped by today just to make sure the machine was really fixed. In short, he’s wildly enthusiastic about being a landlord, which is new and different for me.



  1. Hi!
    I just found your blog in my search for information about Chengdu and surroundings. My husband is Tibetan, and we’ve spent quite a bit of time in Chengdu/Kangding/Barkham in the past few years. We’re coming back in late February with our two kidlets in tow (aged 3.5 and 6 mos) and are planning to stay for 1-2 years (so my husband can work). I love your blog entries and would really enjoy meeting you if you are still in Chengdu. Your blog seems to have ended in Oct 2010, so perhaps you are back in the States. Regardless, it would be fun to be in touch.
    Happy New Year!
    Warmest wishes,
    Heidi Nevin

    Comment by Heidi Nevin — January 4, 2011 @ 2:48 am

    • Thanks, Heidi. I actually am still in Chengdu; I’ve just gotten very lazy as far as the blog is concerned. I’d be happy to meet up. Happy New Year to you too!

      Comment by americaninchengdu — January 4, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

  2. Hi, I’m doing a little research about Chengdu since I am considering taking a teaching job there at SWUFE. Your blog is great. I wonder what the expat community is like there. I speak no Chinese and would be teaching (economics) in English. And I’ve never been to China, so this whole idea is rather daunting. Let me know how you’re doing it, what possessed you do this, and if a typical American could possibly make it work. Thanks!

    Comment by Will — January 24, 2011 @ 6:29 am

  3. Your apartment looks beautiful.

    Comment by yogiramsuratkumar — July 10, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

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    About me

    I've come to Sichuan in search of adventure, fluency in Chinese, and awesome vegetarian food. I have to concede that the baby pandas are very cute.
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