Once you have found The One, the Chinese woman you want to make your wife and spend your remaining days with, you will feel like you can do anything, even move the earth and sky for her. Once you land back on earth from your dreamy heights, the reality may be more like your beloved wanting you to move so the two of you can be closer. This will likely be true whether you are living in your foreign home or already an Expat living in China. This is certainly one good reason to have a change of address, especially if it will make your cross-cultural relationship go more smoothly. Other reasons, which are just as valid, may include a career change or simply a need to have a change in environment.
In any case, the language barrier and the various cross cultural challenges in China can make relocating a stressful experience for an expat. If you’re already living in China, you should also take the lessons you learned when you first hunted for an apartment in China and use them to make your task of finding a new home a lot easier. If you’re lucky enough and already have a special Chinese woman as your girlfriend/fiancée, let her help you. Additionally, there are certain obligations and concerns you will have to address prior to your move; you will need adequate time for these, so make sure you know what these are and you won’t be blindsided by something you should’ve expected and taken care of in a timely manner. Here are the most important considerations you should take into account.
If your move will also mean a change in employment, have you fulfilled your contractual obligations to your current employer? Do you have a new job lined up or will you need more time to secure one first?
Is the apartment lease under your name or the company who hired you? If it’s under your name, you may need some time to settle some bills, work out and wait for necessary repairs (whether or not you caused any damage; some landlords can be difficult and crafty), and to get back some of or your full deposit. The special Chinese woman in your life will be able to make your discussion with your landlord go easier, especially if your Chinese communication skills and his English skills are both not good.
Do you know if your bank allows access to funds outside the city where you opened your account? If yes, are there service charges and how much? You should find out early what type of bank account you have and if you might need to close your account and simply open a new one after you move. In fact, you may need to do this anyway when you start a new job and if the company requires that you open an account with their bank; so, you might as well go ahead and close your current account.
The same goes for your phone service; do you know what your plan is, if you will be charged roaming fees once you move out of your current city, and how much these fees will be? Contact your service provider for the information. It might be easier for you to just change your SIM card or your mobile phone service provider after moving.
If you are moving to another city, have you cancelled your current residency permit? You need to do this before you can apply for a new one for your move to a new city. You may also need to apply for a tourist visa if you will still be looking for a job in your new location. You may go through the same process of application for the necessary paperwork that will allow you to move and work in a different city as you did the first time you moved to China, so have all the important papers you will need handy. You may also need to submit new forms before you can even apply for another work visa; find out everything you will need to process when planning a move.
Have you decided how you will move your belongings? The actual move itself can be a real pain in the rear, not to mention all the packing you have to do prior to your move, and then the unpacking after. Depending on how far you will be moving and how much stuff you will be taking with you, you can take the train (you may have to pay for an extra seat for your stuff); fly (it’ll be faster but will also be more expensive especially if you will also be paying for excess luggage); or use a freight-moving company or the China rail (if you will be moving a lot of stuff that you can’t take with you while travelling to your new home). Research all these options and make all the necessary inquiries ahead of time. Perhaps your Chinese woman or her family or friends can help you find a trustworthy and affordable moving service.
Have you familiarized yourself with the procedures that are required for foreigners who have just moved to a new city? The law requires newly arrived expats to register at the Public Security Bureau, or PBS, in the area with 10 days of their arrival. You will have to provide your passport, a photograph, and proof of your temporary/permanent accommodation. Make sure to keep the official registration certificate that the PBS will give you because you will need this when you apply for a new residence and foreign expert certificates.
If you will only start apartment hunting after you arrive at the new city, do you know if the terms of rental are the same as those in your current location? Don’t let yourself be caught unawares by a hefty expenditure when apartments in your new city require new tenants to pay six months’ worth of rent. If you are relocating to be closer to your Chinese woman, then she will be able to tell you how the terms of rental in the new city go and you will be able to prepare yourself financially. If there is no special woman as of yet, make calls to apartments in the new city to find out.
Whether you are moving to a new city for your Chinese woman and for the success of your relationship, for a new job opportunity, or just because you need the big change in your life, it can prove to be an exciting and stressful experience. Do yourself a favor and reduce the stress so there will be more excitement by making all the necessary preparations and completing all the necessary steps for your big move.
Dating a Chinese woman can be as challenging as it is rewarding, but it is definitely worth the time and effort. Understanding not only Chinese history and culture, but also the issues that expats in China have to face will prove very helpful as they face the challenges of Chinese dating and being in a cross-cultural relationship. One can find invaluable information on the blogs, forums, and magazine of ChinaLoveMatch.net, the home of trusted Chinese online dating and where foreign men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.