Growing up in the 70s, I fondly remember our first moving day experience. It was exciting and sad all at the same time as we were moving out of our neighbourhood and leaving behind friends who became family as we shared our home, food and all our celebrations together.
Even on our tiny island in Singapore, where everything is pretty close. It was not about the distance but rather the proximity and having connections that were just next door.
Sorting, clearing and collecting
Having only known our apartment for 8 years, I was very apprehensive about the move and the changes to come. Changing schools was definitely not something on my wish list. But according to THE PARENTS, we were moving from one end of the island to another.
The days that led up to MOVING DAY were filled with sorting, clearing and collecting used boxes. I was tasked with reducing my treasure of soft toys, clothes I had grown out of, and shoes with holes in them. Yes, in those days, we only changed or bought new things when needed.
Every day after school, friends came over, and we played with the empty boxes Mum was collecting. They became our castles, carriages and hot air balloons as they would for a couple of 8-year-old “princesses”.
Moving Day: Packing with pillows and bedsheets
MOVING DAY came around too soon, and the house was filled with uncles, aunts and my grandparents. They were our “moving crew”; everything was packed before you knew it. However, packing then was not even close to what we understand it to be today. It was challenging to get enough used boxes, and buying boxes was not something you did then. Instead, books, clothes and toys were piled into pillows and bedsheets. Ornaments were wrapped in towels and clothes. It was a blur of activity and definitely one of those days when you were grateful for big families.
In a couple of hours, what was left of my childhood home was just bare walls and empty floors. My father took my hand and said, “Let’s go, I have a surprise for you”. Armed with my favorite soft toy and my little Shitz Tzu, Pei, on his leash, we marched forward and never looked back.
I remember the ride to our new home being really long. And it made sense why I had to change schools, but I also realized that I would really never see my friends and neighbors again.
My father wanted to surprise us. So, we all had no clue about where we were moving to or what we were even moving into.
New home, refreshing start
Arriving at the gate, my eyes lit up like lights on a Christmas Tree. Pei could sense my excitement and could not wait to explore. Together, we dashed out of the car into the garden, and what stood before me was what seemed like a small castle.
While we explored room after room, everyone else was busy unpacking and putting things away. Grandpa went straight to the kitchen and started cooking with the things he had brought. He looked at me knowingly and said, “The best way to bless a new home is with food and family”.
Amazingly, nothing broke or got damaged, maybe because it was handled by loving hands.
Homes are about people
By the end of the day, we were moved in and ready to spend our first night in what was going to be what I called my “growing–up home”.
While I missed my childhood home, I knew that I would make some great memories here, and it was already happening. Watching everyone pitching in to help with the move, then sitting on the floor and eating together because our new table had not arrived yet, taught me that homes are not about what we hang on the wall or the furniture we eat and sleep on; it is about people. It did not matter where we moved to as long we had our “people” with us.
Years later - moving out of Singapore
Years after that, I'm reminded yet again of that moving day. There I was planning
a big move out of Singapore. For months, I was so consumed with getting quotes, talking to movers and panicking about my China collection and how they will be packed.
I literally spent sleepless nights worrying about my Christmas tree ornaments as they come from the many countries I have travelled to. I researched all the movers, checked their reviews and double-checked.
As the memories come rushing back of the move that “changed” me. As, I watch the kids play with their own little “Pei”, I realized that one day, I would still love back at that first move. Those positive memories from my 8-year-old self that still grounds me till date.
“Embrace Uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later”. – Bob Goff