Sunday, September 25, 2005


My latest housemate has just gone home. As in back to his home country. I've had so many housemates that I've lost count. So here's an attempt to put a number to it:

The apartment initially had three rooms (to be elaborated upon), with the largest room a double room (but sometimes rented out as a single) and the other two singles. When I first moved in, there was two other people staying in the apartment.

i) The first was a guy from Shanghai (not Dan) whom I never really got to know. Within a week or so of my moving in, I flew back for my winter break. Upon returning, he was already within a week of moving out.

ii) The other was a Taiwanese gal who kept to herself a lot. Actually, I thought she was quite a paranoid person. She seemed to be fearing for her own safety a lot, from US, her housemates. So after a while, to lay her mind at rest, I stopped trying to talk to her and stayed in my room whenever she is out of hers. As a result, I didn't really get to know her well, if at all. All I knew was she was doing some course here and seemed to have quite a lot of free time on her hands.

iii) After the Shanghai guy moved out, a Singaporean couple moved in. Students in the same uni as I am. I was initially really happy to have more Singaporeans in the same apartment, but my optimism seemed misplaced. They too preferred to keep to themselves and after a while, I stopped trying to talk to them as well.

iv) Then the Taiwanese girl moved out and in came a Sri Lankan guy. He was the first housemate I got to know rather well. He had studied and graduated here and was working. We still meet up now occasionally, for yum cha. And I still receive and keep his mail on his behalf. Funny how his mail still gets directed here after moving out for more than a year now.

v) Then the Singaporean couple moved out. They had found another place. I suppose they wanted more privacy. In came another Singaporean guy, Mo. Not only is he a Singaporean, he is a Man Utd fan as well! He was doing his honours year in the same uni as I but seemed busy most of the time. But whenever we had the time, we would talk football and Man Utd. Later, I found out that his home in Singapore was rather near to mine! Small world, this. Now, I help keep his mail as well, in addition to the Sri Lankan's. I will then pass it back to him whenever I fly back. We still shoot some pool together occasionally.

vi) After the Sri Lankan moved out, in came Dan from Shanghai. Yes, that Dan. At that time (which should be middle to late of last year), Stef wasn't here yet. In fact, they weren't married yet. Dan later moved out to fly back to Shanghai to get married. They then returned to Sydney together and rented their own apartment near to where I stay.

vii) Then Mo graduated and went home. He has since found a job. In came a German guy. Jim was initially reluctant to rent it out to him, because he much preferred Asians. But it was the slow season (summer), so he relented. I thought the German guy was ok and that Jim had over-reacted. But I was soon to be proved wrong...

viii) In the meantime, Dan flew home and Jim rented his vacated room to an Australian girl. But I didn't have the chance to get to know her because I flew home a week before she moved in. It was my summer break. When I came back, she was within a week of moving out.

ix) A friend of mine had come over to study and needed a room, so I played "matchmaker" between Jim and her. This is the same friend I mentioned in a previous post about her intolerance of being alone and silence.

Now this is when things took a real weird turn. The German guy, who had been respectful to his housemates before, seemed like a changed person after I came back from my summer break (over 2 months). He started bringing friends overnight. Female friends. DIFFERENT ones. This, despite Jim having explicitly stated to all of us, no outsiders allowed overnight, before renting us the rooms. Indeed, the German did not even bother informing both of us when he had those "friends" stay over. It was also rather disconcerting and shocking when we would wake up in the morning to bump into strangers in the apartment. Both my friend and I tried to be tolerant but after a few times of this, we threw in the towel and informed Jim.

Jim was incensed and gave him immediate notice to move out. Then shortly after he moved out, my friend decided to drop out from her course and flew home. To top it all off, the town council ordered Jim to tear down a room (he had converted the living room to another room by putting up wood-based walls) because it was deemed illegal. All these happened within a month (May) I think.

Shortly after all this, I flew home for my winter break.

x) Whilst I was back in Singapore, Jim found a Chinese couple for the other remaining room. But they moved out within that same month. So I had two housemates whom I've never even met. Jim later told me he suspected those two were having an affair and needed a love nest. Fwah... so happening, and I wasn't around to er... witness it. :P

xi) Finally, just before my coming back, Jim found another tenant for the room. He is from China, hometown near to Beijing, and was a visiting professor to the same uni that I'm at. He was that "latest housemate" I mentioned at the start of this post. When I came back, his wife and son was here as well. They stayed for a couple of weeks before flying back. He flew back last Thursday after completing his work here. Now the room is empty and Jim is advertising again.

Wow, I didn't realise I have had SO MANY housemates in the two and a half years I've been staying here. All in, the housemates count is 15, including the two I've never met, including the Shanghai guy and Australian girl whom I knew for less than two weeks and including the family of the visiting professor.

I have to admit getting to know and adjusting to new housemates is quite tiring after a while. Fortunately, the end of my stay here is near.

187 days to go.


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