Living With Space

It’s been a week since we moved into our new home
But our place remains unfurnished
The 2 living halls are bare and empty
We do have beds to sleep on but without bedframes

I thought there was no real rush to dress up the space
It could be just a matter of parting with our money at a furniture store
Or we could have fun hunting for the right stuff

It’s summer break and school is out
I had checked out some summer camps here but wasn’t too impressed with what I saw
and thus decided not to dump the kids there
So the kids are stuck with me most days at home

Here’s them in the backyard, planning a water pistol shootout

We haven’t gotten a TV and they haven’t been playing the iPad
They have their Lego Duplo from back home though and lots of space both indoors and outdoors

Initially they just ran around the house playing catch
Then they started playing hide and seek at night, in complete darkness, with just the light from the new torches that I bought for them
With a couple of dollar water pistols they had a great shoot out in the backyard

The neighbours hit over some balls the other day while we were out
An old bat managed to make its way into our backyard as well
Don’t ask me how, but the kids had a chance to try out a favorite American sport

Few days ago, they started learning how to fold the best paper planes and started flying them around
They tried throwing them at the ceiling fan in the empty hall
The planes were sent flying around like rockets and I thought it was pretty cool

Then they took the planes to the backyard and one got stuck in the neighbour’s tree
They spent some time trying to figure out how to get the plane down

Boredom is the devil’s playground
Or Necessity is the mother of all invention

Whichever the case, it was heartening to see them inventing their own games out of boredom
I was tempted to leave the house empty as it was and wasn’t eager to have the cable guy in

Then last Saturday, I went to my first yard sale around the neighbourhood
Boy, I was glad

I had almost forgotten how much fun it was
The thrill and excitement of seeing an open garage strewn with things

I swerved the car towards where the commotion was, stepped on the accelerator, eye balled the perfect slot to illegal park, zoomed in and the hunt began

In less than an hour, I lugged home
a Britax Roundabout car seat at 10 bucks (the exact same model as the one we are using but newer)
2 almost brand new outdoor chairs at 7 bucks
and a set of soccer goal posts at a dollar

The kids were happy, the Dad was happy, I was happy

I am thinking now, perhaps I should just fill up the house with ‘junk’ from someone else’s yard
And test out the truth behind Thomas Edison’s wisdom
‘To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk’

Living with space or filling with junk
Whichever way, I think it’s gonna be fun



Settling In

So here we are in Montgomery, capital of the State of Alabama
It isn’t the safest place to be, we were told (then again, no place on earth can be quite as safe as Singapore)
Its public school system isn’t quite the best in America
There are places where we wouldn’t want to hang out at especially with kids
And there are neighborhoods where many of us wouldn’t want to live in
And then there are the tornadoes that touch down annually in the vicinity
Sounds pretty scary to me

We arrived and for a week we lived in a hotel room with an antique red carpet, no kitchen and no living area
I squirmed every time the kids played on the floor
They would crawl on the carpet in their pajamas and then climb into bed
Here, nobody takes off their shoes at home, much less in a hotel room
You can imagine what lives in the carpet, and how they have now migrated into our bed

So there we were, 2 kids, 8 luggages, living in a cramped up hotel room for an unknown period of time
It was a good thing that we were so busy that we were out most of the time and only came back to the room after dinner
There were a couple of days when we were stuck in the room while the Dad ran errands
In times like those, the dollar bubble sword from Target was a life saver

Within a week, we ate more pizza and Popeye’s chicken than we had eaten in a year
I couldn’t imagine doing that for another week
I knew we had to find a place fast

It was like running against time
There weren’t many choices, especially when we need a place to stay urgently
Within a couple of days, we managed to arrange to view 3 houses
We narrowed our choices down to 2 and finally decided on the one in a safer neighbourhood

It was a red brick house with a chimney; one that reminded me of The 3 Little Pigs
Even so, I wasn’t sure as we signed on the dotted line

I felt that we should have spent more time hunting for that perfect place
Yet I know delaying any further would be stressful for everyone in the family

We met the owner of the place, a very nice retired African American couple
who cleaned the house so well that I was put to shame
I had to steal some tips from them on how to get the shine on the stainless steel faucets all round the house

We moved in on Sunday, a week after we arrived
This place is about 3 times the size of our house back home
And it feels even bigger when it is totally empty
I foresee myself becoming enslaved to this space, cleaning and mopping all the time
But I shall deal with that later

Meanwhile, the kids are loving the yard that is big enough for a soccer match
And they had been very curious about what went on behind those fences

As for myself
I went for my first jog on Monday morning at 6.30 am
Took this with my phone at 7.00 am
Reached home safe

Okay, I think it isn’t too difficult to like this place





Heylo Good Ol’ Friend

It was the first place we ran to
It was like seeing a good ol’ friend
Everything still looks the same

I used to love the red, especially when it said ‘Clearance’ or ‘Sales’
that made me go on a hysteric rampant shopping spree
Yet this time I was mindful
I am still repenting

So we badly needed something to drink
It took us 15 minutes to walk
Under the blazing sun, badly jet lagged
It was just across the hotel we were staying

And I remember why nobody walks here
Everything is near by car but far by foot

Everything is huge
The buildings, the parking lot, the houses, the food servings
even the windows in our hotel were humungous

It was different from where we came from
And it took some getting used to

Yet as I looked back my life for the past decade
This was where I spent some of my happiest days

And I finally figured out why
Because this place has what we don’t have back home

Land is wide
Space is in abundance
Even the sky looks bigger and bluer

And I think for once, I am on the side where the grass is greener



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