The screeching of packing tape fills the apartment as the cat and dog join me on the bed as if it were a life-raft that will bring us all safe passage to our next destination. A team of packers bundle all of our belongings, room by room, into cardboard boxes custom constructed on the spot to fit oddly shaped furniture. The bed eventually gets dismantled as well and after two days of chaos, the boxes and packing materials are hauled out and into a moving van to eventually be transported by sea to our next country of residence, Singapore.
In the empty apartment, we sleep badly on an air mattress our last night in Hong Kong and wake grumpy as a result. I take the dog out earlier than usual for one last romp off leash in the doggy heaven that is Discovery Bay before the pet relocation service comes at 7:30am to bring both Boo and George to the airport for export. Boo, every the classy jet-setting cat, takes the whole thing in stride and to my delight George hops in the cargo pet carrier without struggle. We still worry until we are reunited with them about ten hours later when they are dropped off at our temporary apartment near Scotts Road in Singapore.
A N T I C I P A T I N G the move and inspired by a bargain at the Four Seasons we somewhat impulsively decided to take off to Bangkok for a long weekend ten days before the relocation. We had an wonderful time but when we came back to Hong Kong it felt like the moving date jumped out of no where and after a second look at the calendar it appeared that we had just one full week left, during which we needed to pack what we would be carrying with us, cancel utilities, get deposits back, organize transport on both sides of the move, hire a cleaner, handover the keys, and occasionally let real estate agents in to show the apartment to prospective tenants. I guess the last moments living in a place are never as graceful as we wish them to be. Nevertheless, during that last week I managed to say farewell to the teachers at the Iyengar Centre where I’ve been practicing yoga, shop-keepers we’ve gotten to know, and friends. The doggy-parent community even threw George a going away party and gave him a big poster with photos of the wolf-pack and signed with over a dozen colorful paw prints.
There is a strong urge to understand and process that it will be your last opportunity for a while to experience certain things. Just as I had when moving out of New York City, it was the experiences of the senses that I wished to hold a memory of. Sharing lunch with that friend, smelling that very Hong Kong combination of Chinese incense and dried fish as you walk the uneven streets, or taking in the view of Victoria Harbour from the ferry with the skyscrapers and sloping mountains behind it. In those moments I tried to wash away all the frustrations I’ve had with living here and take on the true romantic’s perspective on nostalgia, “Ah, wasn’t it a wonderfully exotic time- that year I spent in Hong Kong!”
N O W we have been in Singapore for one week and comparatively this transition was so much simpler than the last; physically, emotionally, and energetically. Back in August we took a week-long trip here to get oriented and go house hunting. After days of looking at modern high-rises we finally came upon something refreshingly different: a renovated 1920’s colonial Conservation Home with spacious rooms, private outdoor space for the animals to play and prowl in, exposed wood beams, a tiny yard in the front surrounded by a fence, and lots of old world charm. They were once the homes of former British officers but now are occupied mostly by expats. I might just start smoking cigars on the patio with a pith helmet on (though probably not). We will move in there once our things arrive by ship. Till then we are in luxury limbo otherwise known as Orchard Scott Residences.
I’ve had a handful of interviews with Yoga spaces since arriving and I’ve even found a good place to practice as well. Anxious to get back to teaching after a few months off and was happy to fill in a class this past Monday- just five days after arriving. Eric began work at his new office the day after we arrived. George and I spent a day walking through the Botanic Gardens which are dog-friendly, beautiful, and full of Fern Gully magic and Eric and I were charmed by the neighborhoods of Little India and Tiong Bahru this past weekend. While we weren’t sure if Singapore was going to be too sterile, conservative, or restrictive for us we are both finding it to be a nice place to be.