All Tea No Shade with Andrea Lo.
After relocating to Hong Kong some years back and living at home, I’ve finally done the impossible and moved out on my own.
I have been longing for my own space for as long as I can remember. These feelings were particularly intensified during certain periods: while sharing a bedroom with nine other girls at boarding school (yes, R, I remember when you smeared my makeup on a sanitary pad as a prank); when a university housemate brought two guys home one night (one of them didn’t make it into her bed and crashed outside the bathroom, scaring the crap out of me at 3am); and closer to home, when my brother’s ex decided to steal all of his underwear the night before he was due to fly back to London for a new semester (luckily, I happen to mostly have my own door locked to prevent my mom from busting in to have a conversation about food/laundry/my career/who I’m dating).
Finally, I’m free!
Little did I know that living on my own presents a whole new set of challenges.
I once wrote about the perils of living at home as a young adult in Hong Kong and the first thing that I felt, as I packed up to move into my 304-square-foot box, was that I was finally able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I could come home at random hours without first informing my mom. I could sleep in until noon. I could walk around in my underwear. I could have a bowl of noodles at midnight. The possibilities were endless!
But then reality started sinking in. I needed to come home to have someone install the lights and wifi, because I was too dumb to realize you really should get this stuff set up before you move in. I couldn’t sleep in until noon or walk around naked because I didn’t have curtains (!). I needed to go buy food. The washing machine is attached to a water pipe that you’re supposed to turn on before you can actually use it (thanks, N). And you shouldn’t call your friend at midnight screaming about a cockroach (sorry, N). Friends were asking me if I was actually going to survive.
In my first week living alone, there were a few moments as I tethered my iPhone to my laptop and waited for Chrome to load, that I wondered if I was really equipped for adulthood. And I think that maybe I complained too much when I was living at home.
It’s annoying for mom to ask you when you’re coming home and throw you shade when you snack on microwave dim sum while hungover — but that’s only because she’s worried, and has put on a bowl of double-boiled soup on the stove.
I wasn’t a total slob at home, but there were so many things a person has to do behind the scenes to run a household smoothly. I’m only learning that now.
And of course, living at home saves you money. Rent and bills are another reality altogether.
I don’t miss living with housemates who refused to contribute to toilet paper costs, stole all my socks or left wet hair extensions dangling in the shower. But I do miss my mom.
Still, nothing felt more gratifying to have lights, wifi and curtains installed — in my own space. I’m okay, guys!
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