It is not easy to find Robert Parkinson’s apartment, which is carefully hidden in a cluster of recently completed compounds and winding cobble roads. And that is exactly what he was looking for: something “a little bit out of the city”.
Upper East Side, located in the East Fourth Ring Road area, is a location of choice for many expats in Beijing as it is only 15 minutes drive to the Beijing Capital International Airport and 10 minutes drive to the city’s Central Business District. Robert Parkinson is now enjoying his fourth year in the compound.
“Before we moved here from the previous company apartment, we looked at 30 to 40 places in this compound. And this is the third apartment that we have lived here,” said Parkinson, managing director of RMG Business Consulting Beijing Company.
The first impression is that the apartment is spacious. The living room, covering about 50 sq m, is divided into a dining area and a reception area. Even the kitchen, covering about 20 sq m, is big enough for a family of three to dine comfortably.
“The kitchen is very nice, and a big fridge is very important, both my girlfriend and I cook a lot. It’s a nice thing to eat healthily,” said Parkinson. “And as I am from Britain, English food is my favorite of course. And we cook every Sunday.”
The house also looks spacious because every room of the apartment – the living room, the bedroom and even the kitchen – is bright.
“It’s nice to have sun coming in. It makes sure you get up in the morning. If there is no sun, I can stay in bed all day,” laughed Parkinson. But the dcor also helps, as it is mostly black and white, a lesson that Parkinson learned the hard way from experience.
“I do quite like black and white but it is much more than that. I didn’t want to make any mistakes, and black and white are easy to get right,” said Parkinson. “I bought a house in UK and I decorated it red. And I got it really bright, just right I thought, and then in the end, it was awful and we had to redo it. So this time I thought I’d play interesting with the features but be kind of safe at the same time.”
Parkinson said that he intends to personalize the dcor by putting up pictures that he has collected from all the countries he has visited around the globe.
Although Parkinson said jokingly that the bed is his favorite part of the house, it is obvious that the young man is also very proud of the TV stand in the living room, which he is impatient to show visitors upon arrival. The TV stand is a perfect combination of bookcase and TV stand, with the TV screen incorporated in the unit so that it can slide to any position across the width of the unit.
“This is quite cool,” he said. “but it was really expensive, about 25,000 yuan. Normally I wouldn’t spend so much on a TV stand. But we saw it and we just thought we’ve got to have this, it’s so cool. You can move it around.”
Parkinson moved to China five years ago and was starting his own business. To help business grow, he did not spend too much on the refurbishment.
“When I came to China five years ago, I took over a tiny office from the company I worked for, which was then only three people there. My company has now grown it into a large business of about 120 people, with two big offices in Beijing and Shanghai and a small office in Hong Kong. The aim is have five offices in China by the end of next year,” the 31-year-old said ambitiously.
However, Parkinson, unlike many other expats, said he did not want to live anywhere else in China apart from Beijing.
“A lot of expats say they like Shanghai. But I don’t. I much prefer Beijing as a place to live. I also think Beijing is a very interesting place to bring up children, because they live such an international life. I think it teaches people a lot at a young age.”
Of course there are some things that Parkinson dislikes about Beijing such as the pollution, but he said there is much more to like.
“I like Beijing because it’s ancient. I don’t think Beijing is a perfect place, but I do see a lot of energy here.”
Read the whole article: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2010-04/07/content_9693536.htm