We got our housing assignment for Guangzhou on Thursday. It was great to find out where we'll definitely be living, to know it's 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms (well, 2.5 bathrooms, but I don't think we need 3 showers/tubs). Of course, in the email from the housing FSN, she says that this 3br/3bath apartment is 996 square feet in size. When Aaron told me that I basically blurted out "You're f***ing kidding me. Tell me that's a joke. You're kidding." In Northern VA right now we currently live in a 1046 sqft apartment. It's size has served us very well, but in finding out we were moving to a 25% hardship post, the very least I expected was that we'd get an apartment that was more than 1000sqft in size (in all honesty I was okay with 1200 or more, but less than that seems like we're getting shafted). I would expect us to get a 996sqft apartment in Europe or somewhere with little to no hardship pay, but China? So yea. 996sqft = me no happy.
So I took a look at the layout. Everything looks so huge! How could it possibly be only 996 sqft?? The bedrooms don't look like they are the size of closets, and there is even a laundry room in the apartment. The dining room looks to be bigger than the one we have now, and it's way more separated off from the living room than our current apartment. I don't get it, how is it so small, it looks like it could be twice the size of our current apartment! All night I was honestly pretty upset thinking about how tiny our apartment was going to be.
So Aaron sent an email to the actual apartment complex in Guangzhou where we'll be living, and inquired about the size of the 3-bedroom apartments, wondering if maybe the FSN got something wrong. He received a response the next day saying that the 3-bedroom apartments are 185 square meters in size. 185 square meters. That translates into about 1996 sqft! We realized that the housing FSN must have left the 1 off in front of that 996. That is a pretty important 1, that makes the apartment over twice as large as we thought it was going to be! So in realizing that, my slight depression changed into exuberance, I don't know if I've ever really lived anywhere so big! Definitely not since moving out of my parents' house. And it makes much more sense too, the layout couldn't possibly fit into less than 1000sqft unless everything is the size of closets or something.
So when our friends who are also going to Guangzhou found out they, too, were getting a 3br/3bath apartment, the same FSN told them 996 sqft. So another email has gone off to the apartment complex in Guangzhou to make sure that US Gov employees are not getting "special" apartments that are 1/2 the size of their normal 3br/3baths. It is China, after all. But I'm pretty confident we will be getting the 2000sqft apartments. I'm not quite sure why the FSN hasn't fixed this typo yet, but I'm pretty sure either Aaron or our friends will be correcting her on this once we have confirmation on the size. Maybe she is used to dealing with square meters and doesn't realize just how much of a difference 996 sqft and 1996 sqft is. Either way, since I'm pretty sure it's 1996sqft, I'd just like to get there!