Search and rescue

Come sit down, let's watch the stars

Come sit down, let’s watch the stars

I am so excited I am beside myself. So is Ike. We just made an offer to rent an apartment together and we are desperately hoping that it comes through. The apartment is old and I don’t mean pimped-out-loft-in-old-walkup-old. I mean literally an old apartment in a 55-year old walkup. After five years, I may live in an apartment without an air conditioned lobby, elevator or most importantly a bathtub. But I guess at least some of those things have never been that important.

I love my current apartment – it’s in a great neighborhood, it’s well kept, it has a balcony and a bathtub and gas hobs. Believe you me it is hard to find an apartment with the proverbial “everything” and in Hong Kong the expectations are already pretty low. But like a dusty town in a western, this sheung wan pad ain’t big enough for the two of us (and the furniture and my extensive wardrobe and my shoe collection and Ike’s shoe collection).

So we know we have to move. Continue reading

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Moving and muscle pains (and sardines)

“There are pickpockets on the tram you know… What’s the point of stuffing yourselves in like sardines? I am taking the MRT.”

If the accent wasn’t already a dead giveaway, the word “MRT” for “MTR” certainly was. But even the grumpy morning rant (and friendly warning about pickpockets) from an old-ish man at the tram stop was really a pleasant morning event compared to living on Robinson Road where people steal your cabs. A young man in a suit smiled at me soon after. Buses come every minute, trams every other minute and there are cabs too – empty ones with light on, not empty ones that whiz past you rudely during your hour of need – but ironically you wouldn’t need them anyway. Sheung Wan is clearly a bustling (get it, bus-tling) neighbourhood.

But I didn”t really want to take public transport anyway, the bus ride to work was short but I was, in fact, a little sardine in a big tin can. No, I intended to walk like I always do, it would only take me 15 minutes. I just couldn’t today, not with every muscle in my body screaming for a respite. I think it’s the good kind of pain that hits you after intense physical activity like a hike or wakeboarding or not-lazy sex (ha!) so I don’t want to complain about it. I am merely stating the facts: My arms are sore, the balls of my feet are pretty much flat and I seem to have sprained a muscle behind my rib cage, or at least that’s what it feels like. Who knows, maybe I’ll lose something more undesirable during this move than just old clothes and stale makeup!

Is it just me or are movers the nicest people? The ones in New York, the ones that helped me in 2010, the ones yesterday – big strong men, punctual, polite and smiling. The fellas who came over yesterday were so quick. My stuff was taken out, my furniture packed and everything loaded into a massive truck in one hour and 5 minutes. I rode in the truck with them over to my new place. The ride and the search for a parking spot actually took longer than the actual move.

The next few hours went by quickly and very productively as I cleared several bins and boxes. In between, I’d wriggle through the bins and into my breezy balcony and eat Korean seaweed. Kitchen and Bathroom, nearly done. I took a break at nearly 4pm to eat my lunch of pasta on a paper plate (the gas only started working then). The walk-in closet was already going to be challenging what with all the boxes piled on on top of the other with no room for maneuverability. Sardines come to mind again. The rod for hanging clothes collapsing under the weight of my skirts did not help, especially not after I’d spent effort unscrewing it and readjusting its position. IKEA, how I love and loathe in equal measure your honest, cheap carbohydrate furniture. While the wardrobe is massive, I cannot rely on it supporting the weight of all my dresses and coats so I need to haul my behind to IKEA to get a free standing clothes rack. Thank heavens there is space in the room for it because lord knows that out of sight out of mind really holds true for me and my wardrobe. I would have done so much more that evening I hadn’t had to go back to the old place to have it cleaned and handed over to my landlord. And then I chilled on Shimpy’s rooftop with spicy wings and beer and ended up quite drunk. Needless to say, I slept like a baby last night.

Despite being painful, messy and really hard work, unpacking is in fact, deeply gratifying. Sometimes one needs a fresh start, the opportunity to rearrange, refocus and time and (budget-permitting) redecorate. I can’t wait to see what my new apartment will look like when I am through with it.

P.S. Apparently the movers went and reported to the boss that I was very nice and organised and they couldn’t believe how little they had to do. They have asked for repeat business! One did say to me “will you move again in 6 months?”. My response was a NO in the most incredulous tone I could muster.

P.P.S. Another pleasant event from this morning: One of the boys I went on a date with recently texted me to wish me good morning, ask me how my move went and say “Goodbye amazing apartment, Hello Sai Ying Pun”. I thought it all sorts of cute.