On House

Every one in the cities dream of a house (Fang zi) and is striving for it by varied means. However, we may have not learned much about what a house really is, or in the deep sense, can we buy a house with our own economic status?  Talking about “house” can be a method of greeting for friends who separate for years, why this happens? I guess it would be that every one cares too much on “House”. A “House” can be proud of. Let us learn something about house today. In this article, let make English house as an example. Generally speaking, we, common people, can’t afford a house other than a flat for many Chinese citizens in a very difficult manner. Let us following the latter introduction on English types of homes, then, I believe we can know house is just a dream, not a reality for most of us. Broadly divided, there are four main types of homes in England. Clearly, the most common building materials is brick, in rare cases stone is used. I will introduce the four types in the order of cost and status. The first type is flat (公寓),comes in with multiple sizes, located in modern multi-storey purpose –built buildings. They differ much in sizes. Moreover, most people do not see flat as a desirable kind of home to live. Usually the people with low income or no income will live in flat. For Instance, in the TV “Desperate Housewife”, Carlos move to flat after he encounters bankruptcy while their former home is a big house. As we may see, in most case, unmarried people live in flat and they will move out once they married or get wealthy. The second one is “terraced” houses (联立房屋), which is individual two storey houses built  joining on to each other at each side in a terrace or row. Usually, the structure is “two up, two down", meaning there are two rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs, plus a small kitchen and bathroom in the projection at the back. Typically, this kind of terraced house has a small attached concrete “yard”, instead of garden. Most of these kinds of houses are originated from 19th century. Even though they are modernized, house factory workers built them. Such houses can be seen in inner-city districts. The third kind, maybe the common British home, is called as “semi” (semi-detached), stands for that this kind of house is joined to another house only in one side; in this case, semis stand together in pairs. This is usually a two storey house where kitchen, living rooms and dinning room on the ground floor, and three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. Larger and smaller styles are not so unusual. As a typical style, it would have a small garden at the front dividing it from the road and a larger one at the back, together with a garage for a car at the side. This kind of houses first become popular in the 1920s and 30s. The above three houses are very common, while some people will desire to live in the fourth type of house: a detached house, standing alone with garden on all sides separating it a little from its neighbors. It might be one storey or two storeys. This kind of houses and semi are usual in suburban areas. Well, when we say suburban areas in Britain, it does not mean a small settlement separate from the main town or city, as this word is used to describe Beijing’s surrounding towns as an instance. Instead it means the edge of the city, where land is mainly for residential purposes, less busy, roads are lined with trees and each house has more rooms, and larger gardens. Sometimes, we are joking that we can not afford to buy a house, but just a flat. Well, it might be not a joke but a reality in China, especially in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. Even for flat, some people can’t afford them. Let alone the house. Only wealthy families can afford to buy a house. Nowadays, if someone announces that she/she got married, then the people around will wonder or gossip “do they buy a house? (Specific meaning flat here)”, as a flat is a emblem of your economic status in the cities in most cases. Single young man will not think too much about a house (flat) here, but after marriage or before marriage, house or flat is the big thing biting them.

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