28.8.18

Not here, not there

Hey, that’s no duck ... • #latergram #BostonPublicGarden

I've been in Boston for two weeks and in my apartment for one. It's been a little unreal, living between identities: no more in work-writing mode, not quite in tourist/traveller mode, not yet an MFA student proper; away from Singapore, yet not familiar enough with Boston to avoid mixing up Beacon, Brookline and Boylston Streets. Living in interstitial spaces: a comfortable but soulless Airbnb room for a week (add that to your list of non-places, Marc Augé), then a small apartment that I spent the last week pulling together--diligently, deliberately making it over into a place where I can live and write.

Morning light. • #latergram

How to ease entry into Boston when moving on one's own:
  • Move a couple of weeks before the annual hellish moving extravaganza (because the vast majority of Boston apartments turn over on September 1)---before the Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond stores are overrun with anxious parents and their antagonistic freshman-offspring, before the internet installation services are all booked out, before the banks and mobile phone service shops are tied up with international students needing new accounts.
  • Walk everywhere. If nothing else, one soon figures out which road is which and which road leads to where (I quite like the fact that Boston isn't on a perfect grid).
  • Have a helpful property manager who has a stockpile of Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons and other handy neighbourhood tips.
  • Price things by going to shops and taking notes---which confirmed, for instance, that when it comes to Asian groceries, H Mart is indeed more expensive than Super 88, which is more expensive than C Mart (which also sells refrigerated ma lai gou that one can re-steam at home, be still my beating heart!).
  • Have a friend who's lived in Boston for years, and is helpful with money-saving/dollar-stretching tips and adept at karang guni'ing stuff.
  • Also have a friend-of-a-friend who generously handed down a kitchen's worth of barely used household items even though we've never met.
  • Trawl Facebook Marketplace obsessively every few hours for apartment stuff. Buy only what one needs, not all the cute/unusual/quirky/amazing stuff that's out there.

The most amazing #lamppost, and a purple house. • #latergram #Boston #JamaicaPond

Unexpectedly, what I've often thought of as the Singapore-honed skill of spotting where the shade is and sticking to it has come in handy in Boston. It's been fiercely sunny almost every day, and this week it's been 30ºC and up, with a heat index of 37ºC to 40ºC, according to the National Weather Service. I even had to buy sunscreen.

I know it won't last, the weather, this limbo. University stuff starts on Thursday, classes start on Monday, I have to write a complete short story for one class by next Thursday. But tonight I watched the moon climb above the horizon outside my window, and I wondered how high it would go.

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