Friday, March 23, 2012

Settling In

I write this while sitting in my Tai Wai apartment (precisely here), nearly three weeks into my tenancy. March has really sped by and it doesn’t feel like it’s already spring, though the weather is indeed starting to warm up. In fact, this last weekend concluded winter with some of the nicest weather I’ve seen in Hong Kong—warm, clear and promising.

In a sense, I’d like this to be a ‘First Impressions’ kind of post, like when I first came to Hong Kong. Obviously, this is on a much smaller scale, but nonetheless, I live in a completely different place than I had before.

Earlier, I explained why I chose Tai Wai as my new locale. Most of the reasons had to do with closeness to work, but also, I wanted to live in a quiet place that still wasn’t as isolated as my last flat was. So far, the area has lived up to my expectations in these regards. I’ve managed to find a bus that takes me to work in 10-15 minutes that stops 5 minutes from my apartment. As convenient and consistent as the MTR is, I’ve found that using the bus every morning helps me stay sane. I can have a comfortable seat, enjoy my iPod or a book and view the scenery before starting work. The MTR is more like a crowded cattle transport in a dark tunnel for roughly the same price and the same time interval.

Outside exit A of the MTR station (10 minutes from my flat) lies the Tai Wai village. I haven’t explored it too much yet, but it seems that you can find just about any daily necessities in this area. There’s a grocery store, pharmacy, home appliance store, clinic and hundreds of other little shops. So far, I’ve only found a couple Western restaurants as it is very local, but I think I’ll start forcing myself to try some of the dozens of Chinese places and try out my Cantonese chops.

Most of my time in Tai Wai has been spent in my apartment enjoying my precious free time totally alone. I don’t know if it has to do with my being an only child but I absolutely relish being alone for a short period; it’s often the only way to really collect one’s thoughts. Overall, the apartment itself has worked out fairly nicely. One annoyance has been that some people occasionally throw trash that lands on my balcony. Being on the first floor I’m one of the only people who has a small balcony, though it’s not quite as attractive when littered with used tissues and cigarettes. Another problem has been that my upstairs neighbor occasionally decides to seemingly rearrange his/her apartment at four in the morning, making bangs and scrapes to wake me up.

But these two problems are minor compared to the fact that I’m quite comfortable here and have all my utilities/furniture/appliances taken care of. Six weeks ago, I was anxious about where I would be living after moving out of Chan Uk. I’ve now lived in seven places in my life: two on Bainbridge Island, three in Tacoma and now, two in Hong Kong. I expect good memories to come from this one just as the previous six provided. 

The awesome door knocker on my flat

The apartment, after three weeks of inhabitation

The massive MTR station that serves as my gateway to the rest of Hong Kong

The bike path and sidewalk of Chui Tin Street just outside my complex

Tai Wai
And as an aside, I was happy to host my hometown friend and neighbor Henry Atkinson this last weekend. He's now my neighbor again in a sense, teaching English in Guangzhou only 100 miles away! You can check out his blog as well and what he wrote about his time here in Hong Kong. 

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