I was at a familiar place this morning to buy something from the store. It brought back some memories. The year was 1991, I had just gotten married and moved in to live with his family in a small flat. From a carefree girl who was so used to the vast countryside, sharing a 700 sq ft apartment with 6 other adults was a brand new experience.
We lived on the 12th floor. That took alot of getting used to. Looking down from above always made my knees go weak. It was then I discovered I had a fear of heights.
I felt like a stranger living in someone else's home. No matter where I turned, I kept bumping into his family members or the furniture and four walls. The sound of traffic below and frequent Buddhist wakes (funeral customs and ceremonies) kept me awake on most nights. At the break of dawn, the deafening chirps of the numerous birds his brother kept in cages around the house greeted us or shall I say, jolted me out of bed. For once in my life, I felt like I was living in a cage.
Soon, I got pregnant with YK. With a growing girth, the little apartment became even more claustrophobic. There were only two small bedrooms. His brothers and an uncle slept on thin mattresess laid on the living room floor. I found it awkward to manoeuvre around them on my frequent nocturnal trips to the toilet.
When we brought YK home from the hospital after birth, his cries would fill the entire house. It was the hottest time of the year and the room was warm and stuffy. According to Chinese tradition, I wasn't allowed to shower after birth lest I caught a cold. His mother monitored me like a hawk each time I walked towards the bathroom. She meant well but I was hot, itchy and frustrated. Yet I complied to make peace. Four months went by very painfully until we finally moved out into our own apartment.
Then another 10 more years before I finally moved out of his life.
We lived in the block on the right. His mum sold the flat years ago.
Some new features were added to the facade during the recent upgrading.
They have a pavilion for functions and al fresco weddings now!