When a Welsh couple moved to China for a temporary job they did not expect to remain as Expats for a lengthy period. Two and a half years later they are established with a household full of rescued pets and are posting ads saying housesitters needed to care for our pets. They are seeking pet lovers to care for their fur babies in their home, in order to travel back to Britain for holidays. This is a story of pet lovers and their search for housesitters with a thirst for travel and adventure. Could that housesitter be you?
Housesitters needed in Qingdao, China
My husband and I are originally from Swansea in Wales, UK. However, all of our furbabies are from Shanghai, China. We have actually been living in China for two and a half years, here’s the story of how we came here. I am a teacher and I was finding it difficult to find a job in my local area in Wales. Moreover, I have always loved traveling so we decided to take a chance on an adventure when I was offered a job in Shanghai. We initially came to China with the idea of only staying for one year but as you can tell, that didn’t quite go to plan. Now we are settled in Qingdao for a while and find ourselves with a fur family and posting adverts on housesitting websites saying ‘housesitters needed in China’!
Great lifestyle and hidden treasures
Shopping choices abound
We really enjoy our local area. Everything we need is within walking distance, and buses and taxis are cheap if we need to go further afield. Within a 15-minute walk there are more than three supermarkets, two cinemas, countless convenience stores, bakeries, numerous restaurants and of course a few bars. More recently a new mall has opened about a 10-minute drive away and right next to it is an outlet mall. The choice for all our shopping needs continues to surprise us.
A breath of sea air
We are one block away from the sea and in the morning, I enjoy looking out of the window between the buildings to see the water and sometimes a passing boat. If we take a walk along the promenade, many of the hotels and buildings are lit up in different colours or with giant screens which I really enjoy. It’s bright and cheerful ,and the locals are quite relaxed and patient if you struggle with speaking or understanding their Mandarin. We haven’t found our lack of proficiency in Chinese to be a handicap at all.
Living like locals
We feel safe in China and no matter what time of day we’re out and about, we don’t feel nervous or insecure at all, we feel safe as part of this community. And I am sure that whomever responds to our ‘housesitters needed’ advert will feel the same. The compound where we live has lots of trees so it is surprisingly rather green and there are pathways to walk around the buildings which makes walking the dogs convenient while also enjoyable. Among the other advantages of living in China is that many things can be inexpensive, actually really cheap, especially local food and drinks (such as Tsingtao beer – you can even visit the brewery which is in Qingdao!).
Housesitters needed for our fur family
All of our pets had been rescued. We were in Shanghai for one week before we adopted our oldest cats. They had been found as kittens in a dumpster. We planned to just go and see one of them but we ended up going home with the two that were left. They were so small and required a lot of care. They made it feel like home. Then we had Maple, our oldest dog, who had been found abandoned on a construction site. When I first saw a photo of her, I fell in love with her eyes and couldn’t get her out of my head. The same happened with our youngest pet – Ophelia. She was so gorgeous that I couldn’t stop thinking about her. Odin, the only male pet we have, had been found wandering the streets. We went to a pet adoption day when we were considering adopting another dog to keep Maple company during the day. My husband held Odin who promptly licked him on the chin and the rest is history.
Five animals sounds like a lot, and I completely understand people thinking we are crazy but they have made living in China so much happier for us, we are a family unit together. When we come home after a day at work and they greet us at the door excited to see us, it makes it worthwhile. The dogs are fairly easy care and only require short walks three times a day and the cats are mostly independent. Although they enjoy attention – but only when it suits them.
Dispelling a few myths about China
When we talk to family and friends about our life in China, we try to describe the reality of our daily lives here. Many people have preconceptions from yesteryear, yet in many ways China is forward looking, vibrant and a fascinating place to live, work and visit, especially right now. So when we post our housesit adverts saying ‘Housesitters needed’ we think what an excellent opportunity it would be to housesit for some friendly pets, in an established Expat home discovering what China has to offer the world today. We certainly think it would be a wonderful experience, but then we might be a little biased.
I think that there are many ideas of what China is like. Some people don’t realise how big it actually is. Many people don’t realise just how progressive and technologically advanced the cities are with super fast broadband enabled and accessible. I know there are a lot of broad generalisations and stereotypes that still exist about life in China. Our own experience on first arriving and the main worry was that we had no idea what China would really be like to live in and get used to. We thought it might be a very alien experience. We were worried it would be hard to get things we were used to in the UK. However, in all honesty we really didn’t need to worry. Apart from a few things, we are able to find nearly everything we need and could possibly want and life is remarkably affordable.
Getting about is easy. Transport is pretty convenient and very reasonably priced. I actually found that some things are more advanced here than at home in Britain which I think surprises some of my family. Secondly, we didn’t speak any Mandarin before moving here. Thankfully, there are a lot of apps you can download to your mobile phone that can be used to translate real time – we can show you the best ones. The locals also appreciate any efforts you make to speak to them in their language. To this day, I speak hardly any Mandarin and yet they are really impressed when I say a phrase or two. Many signs and restaurants also have English on them which is useful. I would say that it’s easy to be put off coming to China because it seems so different, but if you come with an open mind and accept that some things are just done differently here, then you’ll have an interesting experience.
So we say again – housesitters needed in China to care for family pets!
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