Sunday, July 27, 2014

new home, new blessings

Our landlady likes Ikea (okay, we do too).

It's been over a month now that we've moved into our new home. It's taken me this long to write about it because 1) it took forever to unpack and 2) I am very lazy about getting pictures to illustrate. But I do want to share with you the blessing that God has given us at this new place.

We didn't have much time (or energy) for apartment searching, but we had hoped we would have a place set by April. April came and went, however, and still no apartment. Some places we inquired into fell through, but B kept looking for online listings. He came across this one (I don't know why it's still up), among others, and we went to look at it after church one day. After comparing with different ones we'd seen, we decided to make an offer to rent. The lady was very accommodating (actually, she agreed to give us the month of May without cost) and soon, before the first week of May was over, we had the keys in our hands.

Later we found out that a brother from our church also lives in the same building. After mentioning it to him, he offered us his parking space to use (since he doesn't have a car). This is a HUGE blessing since it saves us a good fraction of expenses to not have to pay a monthly parking space rental fee!

B and I were stressed about our upcoming move. We didn't know how it would work to haul all our stuff down 5 flights of stairs, or if we had enough friends with vehicle space to help, or how many friends could actually come and help. But the day of our move, God continued to bless us by sending reinforcements when others suddenly couldn't make it, and one of them even brought a small SUV that carried a good portion of our boxes over! And while it rained pretty steadily in the morning, we prayed for it to stop for our move, and it did--just at the right times for the guys to load up our stuff in the vehicles and to unload at the new building.

Bookshelf full of a portion of B's notes

B's study (with my sticky notes of verses)

Living here has been, as my friend C likes to say, "nice times ten." Although we still dealt with broken or unusable appliances (we were in laundry limbo for a few weeks and had to borrow friends' washing machines), there are a lot of things I don't miss about our old apartment (and hence am grateful for their absence in our new one). No more springtails eating away the grout between the vintage counter tiles in the kitchen. (If you don't know what a springtail is, be warned before you look them up: although they are tiny, they look kind of scary in close-up pics). Better yet, no tiles on the kitchen counter at all. No more walking past decades-old peeling paint in the stairwell or ignoring the cracks and chips perpetuating the apartment. No more feeling beaten by the unconquerable dust and grime that came with living next to the oil refinery. No more being confined to one bedroom for the whole evening where the only working AC unit is.

I know, I make it sound like it was an awful place, don't I? But actually it was a blessing in itself. I'd been asked several times what I'd miss about the old apartment, and at first it was hard to say. But I know I DO miss a few things:

1) Being on the top floor, having complete access to the roof to sun-dry freshly laundered bedding (it would only take a couple hours of good sunlight!)

2) The space. We had tons of it. We started our Friendsgiving tradition there with a big group of classmates who were comfortably accommodated in our large living room. I could stuff random junk into a far-away drawer and forget about it until I needed it again. Now our stuff battles each other for prime real-estate in our much smaller apartment. I also had my own work-out space, which doubled as our guestroom.

3) Being in a quiet, old-timey neighborhood. Many of the residents in our former place had lived there for at least two generations. One grandma especially befriended us and brought us traditional food for the winter solstice. It's a different feel now that we live in the city.

4) The morning market down the street. Even though I never learned enough Taiwanese to bargain, I learned to look for my preferred vendors and expect how much to pay for what I wanted. Now that we're in the city, it's been hard to find a suitable equivalent that's both inexpensive and convenient.

5) When all's said and done, it was our first home we made together.

guest bed
B and I are excited to be starting this new chapter of our lives in another new environment. It's going to be a challenge to make this apartment the most space-efficient (especially after baby comes!), but we are definitely grateful for the clean, cozy feel we get to have here, even if we are truly living the "city life" now.

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