Moving

According to random websites, the top 5 most stressful events are (a) death of a loved one, (b) divorce, (c) moving, (d) major illness, and (e) job loss.

I’m reflecting on all the major “moves” in my life.

December 1983
I do not remember this move from KL to Penang. I do however remember the first days of school in Penang — how lost and lonely I felt. Back in KL, the teachers spoke in BM more, and the school in Penang, most of the teachers spoke in English.

December 1992
Moved from grandparents’ place to new flat in Farlim. I have some memories of this move. It’s nice to finally have a bedroom of my own. I remember the friends from church coming by to help out.

July 1995
Moved to university dorm to start undergraduate studies. I remember my parents, uncle and aunt, all helping out with this move. It was a proud moment for the family to have a young family member attend university. I moved in with 2 buckets (for laundry) and some clothing, shoes, etc. I also remember feeling very lost and lonely when my parents left.

June 1996
Moved from university dorm to share a room with two sisters in the housing estate near the university.

June 1997
Moved from this house to an uncle’s (dad’s cousin) place in another housing estate near the university.

June 1998
Moved to an aunt’s (mom’s brother’s wife’s sister) place in another housing estate near the university. This house was the richest and fanciest house in that housing estate.

November 1999
Moved back to Penang after completing undergraduate degree. I remember discarding all my university notes and photocopied textbooks.

June 2000
Moved back to KL to stay with big brother and cousin. Started work at a center for students with autism and then started master degree.

March 2003
Moved back to Penang after finishing master degree and quitting job as a teacher in a center for children with down syndrome. By then I had applied to do PhD in the US and waiting for the results.

August 2003
Moved to the US to start PhD studies. I remember the 3 luggage bags that went with me. One extra large, one medium, and a small rolling carry-on. This was a stressful move because I was leaving family and going into the unknown. I remember the farewell meal that mom cooked, and she had made watercress soup but I could hardly stomach the soup while trying very hard not to cry during the meal.

August 2005
Moved from private rental apartment to university’s graduate student housing. My friends from Ghana and Cameroon helped me with the move. After 2 years, I’ve already gathered a lot more stuff than 3 bags full.

November 2009
Moved from graduate student apartment to share apartment with Marcelita. Roommate from South Korea graduated and I couldn’t afford to pay the full rental for the 2-bedroom apartment. This time it was Clare and Mike that helped me move. I even had a twin bed, a desk, a drawer unit and an Ikea Poang chair to move.

August 2010

Drove with Natalie from PA to TX with all my earthly belonging in the Pontiac Vibe. I had to sell and donate a lot of stuff. Only the Ikea Poang chair went to TX. I shipped two boxes of books via USPS.

November 2011

Moved from TX to SG to start new job. This has got to be my toughest move, both logistically and emotionally, so far. Even with the new university paying for the move, I still had to give away a lot of my stuff. But it was nice to have full service move where the moving company packed all my stuff. However, when I finally flew to SG, I still had 3 large bags and had to pay extra for the third bag. There was also a lot of goodbyes to make, both in TX and PA.

January 2013

Moved from off-campus staff housing to on-campus staff housing. Still not so much stuff yet in SG, except for my treadmill. Moving that through every single doorway gave the moving company workers a nightmare.

September 2018 (Upcoming move)

I’m now packing for my next move to another place on campus. Definitely the most stuff so far. This time I will be discarding the treadmill and the dangerously heavy glass cabinets.

How many moves have you made in your lifetime?

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