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England, August 21, 2000

You Want £400 a Month For That!

Flat shopping in London wears out your shoes and wears down your resistance to dirt

Exactly, honey, that place was poopie!
Jingmei's view of flat shopping
The amazingly picturesque Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford
Tough life in Oxford dorms
Its 11am on a Saturday and I've just woken up a house full of serious party people. I didn't plan on disturbing such fun kids, but I'm on a mission. I'm on a mission from Jingmei to find a place for us to live between the time she arrives at the end of this month and when her University dorms open on the 22nd of September.

Since my arrival, I've been living on my very generous friend's spare bed, and looking for a place to live every day I can. It's a lot harder here than I remember it being in DC. There, I was able to find a place pretty quick, within a week or two, and in the cool & central Adams-Morgan neighborhood.

This time around, London is proving to be a bit more difficult. I tried to look in Oxford first, so I could be near Jingmei while she was studying, but the high housing prices and low job opportunities drove me south to London. Only here are there enough cheap places and high paying jobs for me to survive.

Still, places are not cheap. The party house, where dirty clothes and pot bongs littered the floor and beer cans formed odd statues in the yard, a small room was going for £400 a month, which is $600 USD! Certainly a bit more than a similar spot in Moscow or Beijing and near the maximum, I can bear to pay with my current bum status.

Jingmei is shocked at the whole flat shopping process. Living at home and then alone in her brother's apartment, she never really looked for place in Beijing. Also, with such strong family bonds, Chinese in general don't live outside their home unless they're already married. She did do a stint in a dorm at university though the swank yet cheap Oxford dorms don't help her understand my plight at all.

Here in the West, group living is normal, especially by us crazy youth in urban centers, due to our independent ways and high housing costs. Men and women, straight and gay, black and white, all doing our best to get along and get ahead in the super-competitive life we live.

One look around the party pad, and I knew I wasn't living there. I'm still looking for a place, and Jingmei is still in shock. Maybe she'll understand better when she's sharing a kitchen and a bathroom in her dorms. Then again, maybe she will not.

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My name is jenniferyour room for 6months so that I can
stay there for the momment i came for a concertin the
uk. I will like you to give me the cost of renting the
room for 6months and all the bill I have to pay when i
stay there. Waiting to hear from asap.and I will like
you to know that the agency in-charge of the concert I
am comming will be the one paying for the room. I will
like you to also know that they will include my flight
fee & feeding allowance with payment that will be sent
to you. I will like you to give me the total amount I
will pay for the 6months with the name that will
endorse on the payment & your full mailing address so
that they can send the payment to you immeditely. I
will beglad if you can mail soonest.


This is either a new kind of Nigerian 419 scam that hasn't made it to my Lottery page or the most foolish woman (and concert agency) on the planet. I have half a mind to tell her to send the check to Jingmei Liu and see what happens...

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