|Our teal living room wall and Stupidface|
Yesterday we had "Company" for the first time since the move - well, Joseph and my sister had been over, but we know Joseph so well and my sister's my sister so that almost doesn't feel like company - we baked Christmas cookies, or at least started to. I should have kept it to one or two kinds and had the icing pre-made so we could complete an entire batch before people had to go. They all turned out great - some of the sugar cookies burned but we got a decent batch of decorated sugar cookies anyway, a phenomenal batch of gingerbread, some double chocolate candy cane chip, and I will probably make almond jam cookies tonight so we'll have a big Christmas batch.
|Updated! Our living room, still lacking curtains.|
I figured that after beginning so many posts with faffing about my new apartment, that you all deserved some pictures (especially those who know us personally but who can't make it over to see due to being thousands of miles away and all). It's not totally done, no curtains yet, not everything is hung up, but the living room is 99% there.
What it made me realize - well, I already knew this, but what made me want to actually post it on my blog - is that for years I kind of ignored, or willfully refused to acknowledge, how important your living space is in your overall happiness. I thought I was perfectly happy in my old apartment. Don't get me wrong, I was satisfied with life, and generally happy, and I do still miss that neighborhood, which was like a slice of living-outside-Taipei. It felt like a back alley neighborhood in Miaoli, Puli or some other small city. I miss Old Wu and my other obasan friends, and Little Gao will probably forget me.
|Brendan, Hui and Sasha decorating Christmas cookies|
at our new place
|Vintage postcards in the hall|
All in all it's made me realize that living somewhere nicer has truly improved not just my quality of life, but my general happiness. Quality of life improvement was to be expected, but I didn't think that moving would make me happier in such a fundamental way - because I was happy...but in a "fulfilled life" way, not in a "feel comfortable in my own home" way. Sunlight! Chores that, when done, actually make your place look better! Furniture that doesn't look sad and decrepit!
|And finally a nice place to display this fairly expensive batik door curtain!|
And I no longer have to wear a sweater over my sweater just to not be freezing!
I've had fewer headaches, been generally more upbeat, been more punctual, done more housework voluntarily and with something approaching happy acceptance (not joy - it's still not *fun*), more energetic, and less generally anxious and uncomfortable since we moved.
I had thought that these things were fine - I was punctual, so what if I took more taxis than strictly necessary to maintain that? I was upbeat, being that unusual combination of a cynic with a sunny disposition (it's true) - I didn't realize I could be that way on a deeper level. I did housework, I just thought reviling it was normal and that I was not past the point of a typical dislike. I was wrong. Life is better.
|Our home office isn't that exciting, and it's not quite done yet, but I thought you'd all enjoy the Happy Beer.|
Best rent increase we ever spent money on!
As one of the friends who came today said, "this is an apartment for a couple. The old one was for a poor guy or a student. This is like a real home."
|I really do make tea this way.|
It does make me feel bad - there are so many out there who can't afford something nicer than where they live, or who don't live anywhere at all. There are people without the means we have whose homes probably do make them less happy, less productive, less healthy - but who don't have the finances to find something better. We're very lucky. Plenty of people in crappy homes can't make that jump. I don't believe that not having money should condemn one to a crappier existence - a simpler one, maybe, one lacking in luxuries, but not one that actually drags down your overall happiness. Maybe that makes me a socialist, but that's fine. Everyone deserves basic comfort, if you ask me.
Yet as the same friend said, when I said "we're not rich", she replied - "you are not rich but by Taiwan standards you are very upper middle class." I can live with that, but I am also acutely aware that this has made it possible for us to live comfortably when others can't.
|The cat approves of the new place, too.|