Home, used to be Singapore. As Tampines, as that little 3-room flat I spent my childhood in, squashed in a single bedroom with the brother. Of nights spent reading in the light from the corridor lights (I didn’t want to let my parents know I was still up), of countless days mugging at the desk, playing PC games on the good old 486.
Home, later on became that 4-room flat down the road, where I spent countless days and nights gaming in my own room. The room that I actually had a say in the furnishings, where I was allowed some freedom. Where I would draw the curtains and snooze after night shifts. Where friends stayed over to chat. Where I actually had girlfriends over. That was where I had a chin-up bar installed in the living area, and where the rest of the house was mostly unused because I have an extremely house-proud father.
Home, became Melbourne in 2007. It was that tiny studio apartment in the city, where V and I spent our first year. It was awesomely small, but self-sufficient. The double bed took up the bulk of the room, there was a desk tucked away in a corner and a dining table at the foot of the bed. The kitchen took another corner, there was a bathroom next to the door, and that was it. I remember it fondly, because it was the first place I actually “owned”, and we really had fun there.
Home, turned into a two bedder a year later. A spankingly awesome apartment with a high ceiling and lots of space for the two of us. It was the apartment with a sofabed, and the place Cookie grew up in. It was the place a lot of our friends flew over and stayed at. It was the place where the garbage truck would come trundling in at 0500hrs in the morning, and the place where hot delicious brekkie (NZ calls it HOTS – Hot Off The Skillet) was right downstairs. My favourite place by far, to say the least.
Home, became another two bedder the year after. It would be home for another three years. It had fittings falling apart here and there, it was an oven in summer, a refrigerator in winter. But it had the best facilities, the best location, the best concierges, and the best rental rate ever. It was never the best apartment, but one got used to all the little annoyances and inconveniences. And it was here that Elly spent the first six months of her life.
Home, just became the ground floor two bedder this year. It looks like it was designed by an architect who made stylish plans on paper without ever understanding practicality. It has terrible storage, and we hear the hot water system running in Stan’s room when someone uses the hot water in the shower. The first time I took a shower, I had to frantically mop up water from the splashback. It is the first suburb home we have. It is the first home we own. It can never comfortably accommodate guests. But it looks to be home for a while longer, and that’s all I need to know.
Home, is such a transitionary term in my dictionary. Many lucky friends move out of their family homes, settle into a new place and that is it. Having moved so many times, the term “home” no longer has any relevance in terms of ownership or permanence.
Home, is simply where I am at right now.
And of course – home is where my family is. Happy National Day to all those in Singapore – six years of not celebrating, makes me forget.