Monday, April 22, 2013

New Furniture

Big day tomorrow. Exam in the morning and I can be free to do other things. I think I'm going to resist the urge to make plans to meet up with people until after the exam. Shouldn't distract myself with all the planning.

More post-event entries. The weekend before flying back was a pretty busy one for me. In anticipation of guests (X and friend) arriving Thursday night, I scheduled to have all my furniture and appliances delivered on Wednesday. The place I bought my washer could only deliver to my neighborhood between the hours of noon to 3pm so I went back to my apartment around lunch time on Wednesday to receive the washer. I arrived just as the delivery guys were getting out of their truck. Perfect timing. Except when I opened the front door and found that the elevator was out of service. It turned out that it was routine maintenance and there supposedly had been notices posted. I really doubt there were notices though because I take the elevator every day and I don't think I could have missed them. Anyway, the security guy wasn't around so I had to wait around for him to come back to ask him whether the elevator would be in service in the evening. The rest of my furniture was arriving between 6-8pm.

Luckily, the elevator was back in service just before the furniture delivery. I bought a loft bed, dresser, and study table from IKEA. I remember putting together Ikea furniture before and didn't think they would be too bad so I didn't pay extra for the furniture assembly service. This turned out to be a mistake. I asked a friend to help out with the loft bed that night and I really thought we would be able to finish it with no problems. I think we would have been able to put it together but due to some technical difficulties with the height of the loft bed and a deep beam on the underside of my ceiling, we decided that it wasn't possible to put the bed together with the same steps as the instructions. After thinking it over, we decided that we needed a ladder and more people. Luckily, my friend has other friends in the area and called them to come help the next day. The loft bed is all finished now but it sways when I move around. I think it's supposed to though due to the lack of diagonal bracing. Maybe I'll add some in my spare time. I even checked the model bed at the store and that one sways too.

Anyway, the loft bed seems custom made for my room and me. It fits exactly right. I can sit up when on the bed and walk underneath without slouching. It definitely freed up a lot of room. The rest of the furniture was not so much of a pain to put together but still took a while. Next time I would definitely opt for the assembly service. It's just less hassle.

I hope my roommate will have an easy time moving in. I cleaned up the apartment before leaving. She claims that she has a lot of stuff. I guess we'll see what the situation is after she moves in. I think our place will be quite nice after she has all her furniture moved in. Right now, it's still kind of empty.

I find that some things are better done alone. People seem to be nice to a girl by herself. For example, I had no hassles when returning the keys to my old apartment. I swept up the place a bit beforehand but didn't do that much cleaning. The guy came in and was like, wow, very clean. The only thing I was worried about was that I had left some mirrors taped to the back of the door. You can't see them with the door opened and I thought he wasn't going to find them. But then at one point, he closed the door and took pictures inside the place. I was outside at that point but I'm sure he found them. He didn't say anything to me though and even helped me take my other mirror to the agency where he returned all my deposit money.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Giant rubber duck!!

This giant rubber duck is coming to Hong Kong! It's being inflated right now and will be in HK until early June. I'm so excited!!

Parents visiting (post event entry)

Taking breaks between studying to update the blog. There are some things I just haven't had time to write about. Right after I moved to the new place, my parents and brother flew into HK. Their flight arrived early morning and they booked ferry tickets to go back to Zhongshan. This ferry starts at the Sheung Wan ferry terminal and then at the airport before going to Zhongshan. So I got on the ferry in Sheung Wan and met them on the ferry. The ferry was really empty so everything worked out. I stayed in Zhongshan for the day and we had dinner with the whole family. I guess we didn't do too much that day. Glad I have a multiple entry visa for China. The visa expires in June so I should really take advantage of it before it expires again.

That next week was a short week as we get Good Friday and Easter Monday off. I had planned to get on an early morning ferry that Friday to go to Zhongshan again. I got to the ferry terminal and found a madhouse. Forgot how HK people tend to move around a lot during public holidays. I still managed to get on a morning ferry but had to buy first class, which wasn't exciting at all. They served snacks and I think the seats were a little bit bigger. I would have rather slept the entire way than to be woken up for the snacks. I don't know why people always think they are doing me a favor by waking me up. Anyhow, I hung out with family again that day and my mom and brother came back to HK with me the next day.

It rained a lot that Saturday. We still managed to walk around Sham Shui Po a bit, bought a few things, and even had snake soup at the old place. We stuck to the Island side on Sunday and did more shopping and eating before seeing them off to the airport at night. Apparently taking a taxi from the new place to the airport is more expensive since we have to go through a tunnel. There are three tunnels connecting Kowloon and HK Island. The West tunnel is usually free of traffic but costs a lot to go through. The Hung Hom tunnel is cheap but almost always has traffic. The East tunnel is just too much out of the way that I've only gone through it once. Anyway, there is an airport bus from Tin Hau station for a more cost efficient option.

I had a weekend to myself before more craziness began. I think I'll write about that in a later post. Need to get on with studying.

Back in Oakland

Back in Oakland! I got back Friday night and slept for many, many hours due to a mix of being tired, jetlagged, and motion sickness pills. It's such a weird feeling to be half a world away from everything in such a short amount of time.

I've been really busy lately trying to settle into my new place, clear out my old place, entertain guests, and finding time to study. Clearing out my old place was quite epic towards the end. I wanted to sell off my closet but there were no takers. So I managed to enlist the help of a friend to help me take it apart. I thought about moving it to the new place but then decided against it at the last minute. There were a couple of people who came to look at it but they didn't want it either. I think they missed out on a really good deal because I doubt they will find exactly what they were looking for. They wanted something taller! Anyway, the morning after, I went back and moved all the pieces to the dumpster. Getting the big pieces down was difficult but wasn't too bad since the actual distance is not far. I borrowed a dolly from a neighbor and got the pieces to the dumpster in two runs. The first round was rough because I didn't know how to load the pieces on properly. Someone showed me how to put the boards on so that they are secure, which made everything so much easier. Anyway, glad to get rid of that big thing. I kept a mirror and a drawer from it.

I also finished putting together the pieces of my new furniture. So now I have a desk and drawers underneath my loft bed. I got an exercise ball instead of a proper chair. I might have to get a proper chair unless I can manage to get used to sitting on the ball. Anyway, feels good to have everything finally in place. I still have a lot of junk that I need to store properly but that can wait.

Work has been interesting this past week as well. We finally, finally got a real Resident Engineer (RE) at the site and the transition has been rough. It is taking a while for the guy to catch on but that is expected. He has his own ideas of how things should be done, which involves a lot of paperwork. I guess he has been doing mostly government jobs where there is a lot of manpower and resources, which just doesn't exists for a private job. The other guy at my site has just about had it with all the new paperwork. I hope they don't end up fighting while I am gone. My initial feeling is that this new guy doesn't have a whole lot of leadership presence. There were several times where I felt like I was still taking the lead and making decisions on behalf of our team. It is one thing to listen to everyone's opinions but at some point, you need to make a decision and carry it forward. Anyway, I am glad that I have a week of overlap with the guy and then giving him space for the next 3.5 weeks. Hopefully things will be running smoothly by the time I get back.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pacman tiles

Thought these were cool.


Sold my fridge and oven last night. I think I underpriced it by a good amount so there were a few people interested. Like you cannot get a fridge for that price. I think I will have to do the same to sell my closet which may be even harder because you can get something really cheap that will do the same job. Anyway the fridge selling was really easy and quick. The guy just picked it up and took it down the stairs. Glad that went well. He even recommended a website for me to sell my closet. I can do some cleaning of the old place after that is gone.

I bought a bunch of furniture from IKEA on Tuesday. Well, a loft bed, set of drawers, and a desk. Didn't get the desk color I wanted though. Delivery date is set for the 10th, which is later than I would like. All the stuff is available and it is just a matter of finding a suitable delivery time and date.

I went back to the office last night and it felt strange to see so many people at work after 5:30pm. I talked to my supervisor about this research project that we are doing. I left to sell my fridge and then remembered that I promised someone else something. So I went back and had dinner with some of the guys who were still around. There is definitely a different pace of life between site and the office.