Moving is an emotional workout too

The first time I viewed the apartment back in November 2012. I moved in January 2013.

The last time I looked at the apartment on 20 September 2018.

You grow accustomed to things. I remember really disliking the location of this unit because everyone who walked into the apartment block can look into the laundry and kitchen area. But once I put up the bamboo blind, it wasn’t that bad anymore. I only fully appreciated all the closet space when I saw that my new place has less than half the closet space. At the same time, maybe it’s good to not have so much space so that I won’t indiscriminately accumulate a lot of junk. The old place was also really quiet and I did not share any walls with any neighbours.

The move really zapped all my physical and mental energy in September. I only managed to squeeze out 4 workouts.

September 2018 Fitness Tracker
~ 5 Sep 9:37pm 35:00 FBStrong D15 Total body strength — At least squeezed one in to start the month
~ 23 Sep 6:35pm 27:00 FB Build a better booty workout — First workout in new home, the floor is noisier, the lights are brighter, without any beds this room feels like a dedicated workout gym.
~ 26 Sep 5:05pm 31:00 FB 3 Day Flexibility Challenge Day 1 — Need a nap
~ 30 Sep 6:15pm 35:00 FB Upper body + Abs workout

Isn’t it ironic?!!

The ventilation hose for my dryer broke over 2 years ago. The original ventilation hose is over 2 meter long, when it broke it was only less than 1 meter long. Since my dryer was located in the laundry area, which is kind of outside the apartment, I didn’t bother changing it. However, when I realised I was going to move I knew I had to get a new ventilation hose or else I would not be able to use the dryer at my new place where the dryer will be placed inside the apartment. I went to a few hardware stores and checked out on the internet but couldn’t find one.

Once I moved to the new place, the urgency to get the ventilation hose increased. I contacted the manufacturer online but no reply after waiting 48 hours, so I ended up calling their customer care center and they have the ventilation hose at their retail office. It would cost $55. That office wasn’t near my place and I had to make plans to squeeze time out of my busy schedule to go there.

I scheduled a quick side trip while on my way to a school meeting to get the ventilation hose. But I left work slightly late and ended up would not even make it to the meeting on time without the side trip, but I was kinda desperate so continued on to the retail office to get the ventilation hose but sent a message to tell the others that I would be 20 minutes late. Finally, I got my hands on the ventilation hose and I was so happy I can finally wash and dry my laundry. That night, I figured out how to fix the hose to the dryer and carefully arranged the hose to vent out the window. I did my first load of laundry drying in over a week.

The next morning, I did another load. When the load was almost dry, the apartment experienced a power trip and I detected a burnt smell. I had to call campus security for campus maintenance number. Waited for the electrician to un-trip the power to the apartment (needed to save the Haagen Dazs ice-cream in the freezer). According to the electrician, the power socket is ok but something broke in my dryer. Now I have to call a repair person to come check out the dryer. As if I do not have enough things on my to-do list already!

I was just thinking – Isn’t it Ironic?!! I spent so much time fussing over the dryer ventilation hose. Yesterday, I thought my dryer issue is all over and I can get on with my normal laundry routine. Then this morning, it was like I dropped down a snake in a snake-and-ladder game and fell even further behind. Now I have a broken dryer and a $55 nice shiny flexible aluminium almost brand new “useless” ventilation hose.

Moving is a strength and endurance workout

Just packed and sealed 8 boxes of books. Quite a workout — hulling, pulling and pushing the boxes of books around. This is just the first hill of the moving marathon.

Here is August 2018 Fitness Tracker:
~ 1 Aug 9:57pm 38:00 *249cal Ave119 Max155 FB30R3 D11 Upper body burnout — First workout to start a busy month
~ 5 Aug 5:30pm 40:00 FBStrong Day 1 lower body — Trying a mostly strength training program, and not using the heart rate monitor. The lunges kept my heart pumping.
~ 6 Aug 8:15pm 41:00 FBStrong D2 upper body burnout — cheated a little, skipped burnout round of pullover and hammer curl.
~ 8 Aug 6:17pm 34:00 FBStrong D3 Core
~ 11 Aug 5:52pm 41:00 FBStrong D4 lower body — right knee iffy
~ 12 Aug 4:42pm 40:00 FBStrong D5 functional upper body workout — good one
~ 14 Aug 9:18pm 35:00 FBStrong D6 Relaxing stretching workout ๐Ÿ™‚
~ 15 Aug 8:47pm 45:00 FBStrong D8 HIIT cardio butt and thigh — stressful day ๐Ÿ™
~ 18 Aug 6:10pm 40:00 FBStrong D9 Upper body workout bored easily
~ 19 Aug 6:20pm 30:00 FBStrong D10 HIIT + Abs — I think my abs are a tat stronger, not shaking as much during planks
~ 20 Aug 10:30pm 31:00 FB fluid full body stretch — I should always schedule a stretching session after every evening class.
~ 22 Aug 9:15pm 31:00 FBStrong D11 Strong lean toned arms
~ 26 Aug 8:40pm 27:00 FB Stretching pilates yoga blend — good stretch after a 6-hr bus ride
~ 27 Aug 11:59pm 15:00 FB Restorative yoga pilates workout — video hung in the middle, so did some freestyling stretches instead
~ 31 Aug 6:18pm 41:00 FBStrong D12 Lower body workout — last one for August
Not too bad considering the hecticness of a new semester teaching 3 courses a week.


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?


โ€œCelebratingโ€ my birthday in an eclectic manner. Now Iโ€™m journeying along the North-South highway from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Earlier I attended Annโ€™s wedding and met up with several uni friends of more than 20 years.

Baskin Robbins at Pagoh highway stop

The last time I had a traveling birthday, I think, was in 2010 when I flew back to Bethlehem from Dallas after my job interview at Texas A&M-Commerce. The flight was supposed to be on the 24th but was canceled due to bad weather and I ended up spending part of my birthday at Holiday Inn Express DFW.

Wintery wetland

I don’t remember it ever been so cold for so long in Singapore – below 22C for several days now. It’s nice, I like it.

One of my new year goals was to — Not do any office work during the weekend, and not feel guilty about it. Unfortunately, this weekend I had planned to do some work but ended not doing it anyway, and felt a lot of guilt because of that. Pretty much spoiled my weekend…blah ๐Ÿ™

I love books!


Today I moved the bookshelf from the living room to my “dry” room (room with dehumidifier). The pages of some of the books are beginning to stick together in this humid weather.


Based on my collection of cookbooks, I must be a domestic goddess! Or a domestic book collecting goddess ๐Ÿ˜› I really like the Culinaria series of “coffee table” cookbooks. The most used cookbook is probably Momofuku for the kimchi and ginger-scallion sauce recipe. Some books like the French Laundry and Bouchon Bakery are nice to read but I will never attempt to use those recipes. Good as occasional bedtime reading material.


Some books are directly relevant to my work, like my books on writing. I think that copy of the Elements of Style was from the time I was working at MPH.


And some books are somewhat relevant to my work – books that inspire creativity or productivity.



Then there are those fun books. I like reading graphic novels. Over and over again.


Or books in the things that I’m currently interested in. I’m a firm believer that you can learn pretty much anything via books. You can even learn to train to run a marathon from a book. Or learn to be a semi-expert in taking care of pets. I forgot to take a picture of my ukulele books. I think that’s one of few areas that I didn’t learn to do well via reading ๐Ÿ˜€



And books in areas that I was once interested in. One time I was interested in making my own clothes. I think I have the capacity to be good in that. But I would need to get a sewing machine which I wasn’t prepared to invest in one. The interest died down soon after that.

I was also interested in movie making and photography. But those interests did not last long. Probably these are areas that you can only get better at from deliberate practice.

Anyway, all the books have been moved into the dry room.


Keeping Duhville alive!

One day will earn me a lot of money. I foresee a movie, possibly an animated movie or a comedy, with that name coming out in the next 10 years. And I’ll share the hundreds of thousands with my brother.

Meanwhile I just need to keep this alive.

I want a nice office chair

I’ve had this office chair since May 2006. A student was moving out and I bought it from her for $10. It was alright initially but soon the cushion wore off. It also never supported my back well. Lately, my back has been feeling strained and tired. Time for a new chair but good office chairs are not cheap.

I was attracted to this Staples Vocazo (mesh back with lumbar support), but it costs $99. Even with the $25 discount coupon that I received from Staples, it’s still more than what I’m willing to pay.

Then this week, the Staples store offered this nice microfiber task chair called Mullen for $69 (original price $129). The cushion looks so thick and comfy. But still too expensive.

There’s also this Staples Manilo leather manager chair for $39. But the reviews were really bad for this particular chair.

I decided my back comfort will have to wait a little longer till I’m in a better financial position.

Anyway I finally got verbal permission from the Salvation Army thrift store (YAY!!), so now I could start working on my research. Today, I went to the thrift store to get some research work done and guess what I saw?

This nice used office chair for $16! The tag said that it has been sanitized but I actually saw a big piece of cracker/biscuit in one of the crevices. Even so, $16 is a good deal. So now I am sitting comfortably in my “new” office chair….aahhhh….

I guess waiting pays.

Maybe I’ll donate the old chair back to the thrift store…

Deep Freeze

It’s been really cold the past few days. The temperature dropped to -17C but because of the windchill, it felt like -24C.

I normally turn off the heater in my room when I sleep. I do that because:
1) to save electricity, save money
2) the air gets really dry when the heater is turned on
3) since my bed is near the heater, I’m afraid my blanket might fall on the heater and catch fire.

But because the heater is off, it gets really cold in the room especially when the temperature is -17C outside.

From Cha-plang photos

For those really cold nights, in order to sleep comfortably and “warmly,” I use:
a) a cotton blanket folded in half (2 layers)
b) a fleece blanket (1 layer)
c) a polyester fiber-filled comforter in a flannel comforter cover (3 layers).

By the way, I was also wearing three t-shirts.

From Cha-plang photos

Whenever it is cold outside, water vapor will condense on the cold window inside the apartment…like the water droplets on the outside of an ice-cold glass of water.

From Cha-plang photos

The past two mornings when I woke up, I found ice on the window….not ice outside the apartment but ice on the window inside my room!

From Cha-plang photos

Thankfully, the deep freeze is coming to an end.