Thursday, August 14, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Perspective is a funny thing. Before my husband and I were married, we lived in a large one-bedroom flat in the city centre. He walked to work, I worked from home, the shopping mall was about 50 steps away and so were many of the happening nightspots. It was the perfect place for a young couple to live.

As soon as we were engaged, my parents suggested we move into a bigger flat in the newest residential/commercial area of the metropolis. Right outside the financial district, it is like a suburb in the city. There's a shopping centre nearby, but no skyscrapers and less noise pollution and smog. The flat is in a building overlooking a golf course, guaranteeing plenty of fresh air. It was the perfect place for a young family to live.

This flat had been purchased by my dad a few years ago as part of a business transaction and took longer than expected to finish, but it was done by late 2005. With our wedding date set for January, 2006, Big A and I went to see the place to consider the move, as we knew it would be a better place to live in once we had a child.

My first impression was that, for a two bedroom flat, it was awfully tight. Despite having another bedroom, a study, bigger kitchen, utility area and a maid's room, the total floor area was only double that of the one-bedroom apartment we were currently renting.

Still, since there would be bills to pay (relatively steep monthly association dues which on top of our rent would mean no money left to pay for anything else, like food or electricity) we decided to move. After some minor renovations and going into credit card debt to furnish the place, (as the one-bedroom had come fully furnished) we moved in.

Strangely enough, once it was furnished, the new flat seemed bigger somehow. Except for the lack of storage space that is common to most apartments, (which we tried to solve by having more closets and shelves built and disposing of as many unnecessary possessions as we could) the flat was big enough to lose each other in. We were no longer within shouting distance of one other - if I was in the kitchen with the door closed and the exhaust fan on, there was no way I would hear my husband calling me from the bedroom.

When Little A came along, we were glad to have the fresh air, outdoor podium area with swimming pools and playground and the second room to put all his toys in. While he does get cabin fever at times (don't most babies?), he has more than enough room to crawl and walk and throw his balls about. When he runs from one room to another and I'm busy picking up after him, it sometimes takes 2 or 3 minutes to find him again. Just last night I was searching the different rooms and found him standing in the back corner of the shower in a dark bathroom.

My husband is currently being interviewed for a potential job in Hong Kong. If that happens, we pack up and move to what is likely to be a much smaller apartment, Hong Kong being the 6th most expensive city to live in in the world, from what I've read lately.

Suddenly, what once seemed like a too-tight apartment with not enough space for all our belongings is like an oasis, and it makes me sad to think of leaving it. Truly, home is what you make of it, and there really is no place better.

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