I said elsewhere that Su asked me to do a Christmas message or some form of a year ender, if not for any reason, to mark the anniversary of our meeting, our first. As I scrolled down my personal website, I found that the last Christmas message I wrote was in 2003, meaning that I had not written one since Rosita left, considering that I scribbled one every year since I began writing ten years ago. I said to myself, if every wish of Su were that easy and straight forward as this one, we would be destined to live many happy years together.
Su reminded me that I was sick – at least I was not well – when we met on Boxing Day 2008; and she resolved to try her best to keep me well and sickness free after we were married. That was a rather tall order, considering the sometimes punishing schedules we took on individually and often jointly. So far so good; and we are both pleased.
We did a lot of travelling together, and some separately in the past year. Su had taken pictures all the way, from the sky, on land and under water; and had put a few on Facebook so that our friends could follow where we had been and so on. I would therefore not recall or repeat here the places we had visited; suffice it to say that we were away for more than three months last year.
Even before we were married, one of our first jobs was to figure out where to live. We had been using our separate flats which fortuitously were only five minutes by car from each other. We soon concluded that it would not be practical for both of us to move into either one, for the simple reason that both were already filled up to the rim with our respective personal effects and artifacts. Now, it happened that Su had bought another flat before we met which had been left vacant all the time. It is a rather interesting flat: the front door opens up to the management office and the side door, to a garden cum sitting out area managed by the estate. It is an ideal hideout for young couples, except that it is rather small. We made an executive decision to start our new life there, taking to the flat only the things – which should not be too many – we need. The plan was to keep one of the flats for storage initially and let out the other one. It does not take a genius to predict that we have decided to keep Su’s flat, meaning that I would need to unwind and decant mine as soon as possible.
We wasted no time to ask a contractor – who is a long time friend of Su – to start work before we began our travels. We had hoped to be able to move in around Chung Yeung if not Mid-Autumn. Alas, this friendly contractor has too many friends; and by the time we came back from our travels, little was done. But the main headaches had yet to come.
Packing and unpacking has never been easy. I am actually rather experienced in moving houses. For the last 33 years, I have never stayed in one flat for more than four years, except the last one in Seymour Road where Rosita and I lived for some eight years before we moved to Baguio Villa and afterwards I stayed for a further four. One would have thought that I should be able to discard or let go personal effects with considerable ease and grace.
Despite my studies in Buddhism and house moving experiences, I have not found the last move much easier, but on balance, I have learnt to live with fewer things and to let go things that I once valued a lot. Perhaps the books are the most difficult. I did a sight reckoning survey and I believe that between Su and I, we must have more than 15,000 if not more books and growing. We can easily fill up a modest library.
Meanwhile, we consider that we have settled in our new abode; and every morning, I walk from Conduit Road to Park Road to pick up my transport to go to my morning Mass at Ricci Hall. After Mass, I would either pick up Su from Conduit Road to Park Road where the maid would prepare breakfast; or we would have breakfast at our friendly CCC, tai pai dong style, or have congee at Centre Street. We would then read the morning papers and watch TV news and compare our schedule for the day. If there are no appointments for the day, and if we are at Park Road, we would either walk or take public transport back to Conduit Road before deciding on where to go next. Sometimes, we slept overnight at Park Road, depending on the social engagement the previous evening.
Conceptually, we consider ourselves staying in an estate spanning from Conduit Road to Park Road, so that we need to go through gardens – a few – and parks before we hit our breakfast or dining table. We have set up a rather well furnished bar at Conduit Road complete with a five-headed candelabrum from Christofle – courtesy of friends who patronized the bridal registry – and a few other brand new artifacts. We can watch TV or DVD movies from the bar which overlooks the garden which can easily and conveniently receive the overflow should there be more than a couple of guests. We have also started a Visitor Book.
There are so much to do and so much to catch up. Su has resumed her studies and gym sessions, but I have yet to face my supervisor in Durham or to look up my golf instructor. Something’s got to give!
As regards my children, they are both in the United States, in separate states. Stephanie took up a new job in Tuscon, Arizona in June and I have not heard too much from her. I believe that no news is good news. Lawrence finished his fashion design course in New York City just when the financial market was at its worst and unemployment at its height. He has found a job – a rather good though temporary one – in a reputable hotel to keep him going. Both are now single and I believe unattached, so that the prospect of becoming a grand parent in the near future is rather remote.
All that is left is for Su and me to wish all of you a happy and joyful season ahead. May the year ahead be filled with pleasant surprises, may the best of your days have yet to come, may you be always surrounded by friends and families, may you enjoy your children and grandchildren wherever they may be, may you have thousands of reasons to be thankful to your God, may your God bless you keep you and guide you every day, every minute and every moment, may you and your loved ones enjoy good health, may you be able to eat all you want to eat and drink all you want to drink, may you wake up every day with your loved ones, may the sun shine on you every day wherever you go, may you find many opportunities to be of service to your fellow human being, and let Prudence direct you, Temperance chasten you, Fortitude support you and Justice be the guide of all your action. Above all, may you be happy and share your happiness with everyone you meet every day.
Have a happy Winter Solstice.