Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Home at last!

Wow. So much to say. After a 16 hour flight of restless sleep, countless meals and 4 movies, I arrived at HK airport and flung myself into Matt's arms, bliss.

He then told me we had to go immediately to the new apartment because the landlord was waiting for us there to go over some forms. I was a bit disappointed because i wanted him (Matt, that is) all to myself but when we stepped into the door, amongst the bare walls and floors, a beautiful surprise awaited me.

Matt, who had just returned from training and orientation in Hamburg the previous day, had rushed around that morning to buy some flowers, champagne, fruit and a new mattress, to welcome me home.

This was the wonderful start to our busy week of setting up our first home.Neo Horizon is the name of our building (which is quite fitting for us), a ten minute walk to the beach, a bus stop right at the entrance, and a 15 minute walk to DB plaza (shops and restaurants).

We are living in the penthouse of the building, the 26th floor with a great ocean/harbour view in the front, and a scenic mountain view in the back.

Since Matt will be working from home for the first few months, we decided to get a 3 bedroom place, which also means our living/dining area is a bit bigger. Typical to Hong Kong style, our kitchen is tiny, but we're determined to make the best of it.

Most people in HK have a live-in maid who does most of the cooking, hence the sealed-off kitchen setup. Further in the back of the kitchen is the maid's room with a simple toilet, sink, showerhead and enough space to fit a single bed. We'll be using that space for storage which we desperately need for our 48 pairs of shoes. No joke, and most of them aren't even mine! :)

Discovery Bay is the area where we live on Lantau Island, home of the giant outdoor Buddha, a 20 minute journey to the airport and access to plenty of hiking/biking trails. It's a little self contained community of 20,000 people, with a grocery store, bookstore, health clinics, post office, flowershop, furniture shop, hardware store, computer store, hair salon, etc. It really has everything you need. For me, as long as there is a wide selection of cheeses and breads i'm happy. There is, in exponential amounts.

Here in DB, cars are banned and everyone gets around by bus, privately owned golf carts (expensive), and bikes. You can probably walk the entire length in an hour, so it gives you an idea of how small it really is.

Tennis seems to be the big social sport here, oh and there is a boat club where people have their own kayaks, canoes, sailing boats which they store on the beach. It's unbelievably community focused and i swear the average age of the population is about 8. Every other adult i see is pushing a stroller or holding the hand of a toddler - or both.

It's great to see kids being able to run around freely without their parents worrying too much. Like Matt said, we'll learn a lot from just observing parents and their kids, useful info for future reference.

This week we spent more money than i've ever spent in my life. A lot of first buys for me, such as a bed, dining table and chairs, couches, tv, BBQ, and a coat rack although who knows why we bought a coat rack since nobody here wears coats! I think we were just into the flow of things and got carried away. Oh well, maybe we can hang a few shoes from it.

We have yet to buy an office desk and chair, a few more shelves, a shoe rack and some hooks for the kitchen. It's starting to come together and feel like home.

We had our first guests the other night, YK and Tomoe. They also attended our Xinjiang wedding and before that, they came to visit us in Urumqi last May where they tagged along during the first few days of the desert rally.

It was great to see them again and it gave us an excuse to try out our BBQ for the first time. Our furniture had arrived that same morning so we spent the day assembling tables and chairs but by the time they arrived, we were still making the chairs for them to sit on!

After they left we assembled our bed frame and tired, still jet-lagged, and a bit drunk as we were, it took a lot longer than necessary. I was holding some bars in place while Matt was drilling and i actually managed to fall asleep sitting up.

I've always found great joy in playing 'house' with my girl friends when i was a kid, making pretend meals and serving them to guests in my 'dining room'. Even during the dead of winter, i'd love to go outside and build snow forts, making little passageways to various 'rooms' and building a 'snow bed' and 'snow toilet'.

When i step back to think about it, i'm no longer playing house, i'm actually living it. It's unreal and unbelievably fantastic. But it isn't all perfect as i realized, when we tried to draw the curtains in our bedroom the first day and the railing came off. The tap in the maid's room is leaking and already we've collected several buckets of water. Also, after only an hour of use, our main air conditioner in the living room began to leak, conitnuing to do so even three days after! It was so bad, the ceiling was coming apart and now we have a 2 feet x 1 foot gaping hole.

The landlord, an energetic fellow, came by yesterday with the air-con people to fix it, and will be back on Friday to have the hole resealed and painted. The curtain rail and leaky tap will also be fixed on Friday.

I've noticed this week how people who say they'll come by to install something, move something or fix something, will actually come BEFORE the agreed time. Is this a Hong Kong thing or have i been in China too long so as not to expect these kind of promises to be kept?

My maternal grandfather is in HK for the duration of Canada's winter, we went to pick him up last Thursday at the airport. It will be nice to see him on a regular basis, he is still quite fit and since he's arrived, has been out with other relatives and friends everyday. We have a lunch date in about 2 hours.

Our stuff from Urumqi arrived yesterday in 54 big cardboard boxes. I am currently sitting amongst books, paper, clothes, camping gear, wedding presents, kitchen stuff, etc. It will be nice when everything is in place but i'm quite enjoying the process of getting there.

No comments: