What are our dream home?

Nomadic is an adjective to describe my family and me.


While I was an undergraduate student, I moved room yearly, desiring the more expensive single room because of a traumatic experience with my first year room mate who often disturbed my night sleep during exam period.

Between 2007 and 2009, I moved many times, from a room to another, in search for the most optimal one, in terms of value (price/quality), distance to work place, and diversity of experience. I stayed in some of the rooms for as short as a month to several months. I have stayed in one of the largest rooms a student in my last alma mater can dream of as well as a lousy one.

In Winter 2008, we lived in a renovated flat in Rome, which was within a walking distance to Vatican City. The bed and bathroom were luxurious, and I appreciated location, location, location.

In Autumn 2015, I lived in ryokan styled accommodation in Kyoto. We could hear every noise (from a footstep to the sliding of the door). The place was tiny, traditional and good for socializing but not if you want to deeply rest. While I lived there, I was among the first ones to wake up and the last ones to sleep, and I got to chat with my Dutch girlfriend, who loves martial arts, cycling, and dressing up in kimono/yukata.

In Summer 2016, Honey Panda resonated with the idea that I sent him, living in diverse places globally, a place for a quarter, to satisfy his needs of diversity. Human beings need both certainty and uncertainty(variety), though they are a contrasting duality, they make our lives and experiences more meaningful.

On 20160709, Little Prince and I went to a private landed property in a country where ~80% of the population lives in public property. The 3 storey-high house was spacious, with a swing, a small garden, but many CCTVs. We were attending the first birthday party of Honey Panda’s friend’s son. We took an Uber taxi for the first time [2], because landed properties tend to be inaccessible to the relatively inexpensive public transports (BMW = bus + MRT + walk). Both Little Prince and I enjoyed the party. A big house is ideal to house parties like this, but personally I prefer a quieter birthday.

On 20160713 at ~5am, I woke up early to work and found the living room is smelly of Hong Kong foot from the shoes of a house mate [3]. Since I could open the door and windows to air the living room, I could still tolerate her smell. After all, I feel less threatened by her than by her husband who was perceived as cunning by our parents and tried to financially take advantages of us. This experience reminds me that, if sharing a house with others, I must strive not to be smelly, messy, noisy and competing for resources (washroom, washing machine, stoves, space, etc).

To allow cleaning of the rooms at the home where Little Prince’s uncle is staying now and welcome his great grandmother and maternal grandparents, on 20160720 we went to stay at Little Prince’s paternal grandparents’ home [4] some time after their toilet renovation. I am grateful that there were less clutters than before and I saw the internet banking tokens of Honey Panda, but he had paid for replacements. Thankfully, his request for the replacement fee to be waived off was approved after writing an email and perhaps being a valuable customer.

In summer 2017, papa shared with me that he aspired to live 3 months with my sister in Melbourne, 3 months with my brother and I, 3 months with mama’s mother, and 3 months at his current city of residence.


In 2015, Honey Panda and I were pretty happy living in a studio (Home@A2015).


  • We have no living room so we never hosted any guests.
  • Sometimes, odor (e.g. cigarette) from neighbors can seep through.


  • We cooked only by steaming or boiling. It is healthy, though limited in choices, but we can always eat out and enjoyed our food adventure.


In Summer 2016, after spending efforts to maintain things that I rarely use (Home@S2011), I brainstormed of an ideal home for Little Princess, Little Prince, Honey Panda and I.

  • at least 2 bedrooms [1], because I become very sensitive to the snoring of Honey Panda while pregnant with Little Princess.
  • not living with a stranger. I will never forget how a non-family male house mate suddenly kissed Little Prince while he was merely a toddler who could not talk, in the presence of me! One of my best friend, when he was five years old, was sexually harassed by his old male neighbor.
  • a living room where Honey Panda and I can work while the Little Ones are asleep.
  • a washroom (preferably two) with coarse floor to prevent slippery and possibly safety grab rails [5].
  • access to public transport.
  • near a place to buy groceries.
  • near a public library.
  • family-oriented neighbors: no smokers, no excessive drama (e.g. harassment from loan sharks).
  • Bonus: a view of greenery
  • Bonus: a shallow swimming pool


In Summer 2017, after we or I spent almost half a year living in hotel apartments, upon I returned to a tropical city that made me feel sweaty during daytime and in the constant need to express mother’s milk for Little Princess, I do not feel like going out of home.

While I am dreaming of creating my magnum opus as inspired by Gaudi and Little Prince who adores him, I dream of a cozy den of ours:

  • location, location, location: near a co-working space (e.g. a spacious library) where I can consume and create, near a supermarket.
  • not too big [6] so that I don’t have to spend too much energy to clean it, but preferably at least a 1BR so that the snoring will not disturb the one trying to sleep. We can use the living room as another bedroom, in an exchange of not hosting guests.
  • fully air-conditioned if in a tropical region.
  • not higher than 3rd floor [7]
  • affordable electricity and water bills [9]
  • not near construction sites [10]
  • not next to a busy road or even a small street [11]
  • not compulsory: cute yet elegant eating utensils like those we use on 20170506, a round hand wash basin like the one we used on 20170520 and 20170731 (at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple that Little Princess visited with her maternal grandparents and mother).


I am thankful for the followings at our home for autumn 2017:

  1. a fridge/freezer to keep Little Princess’ frozen mother’s milk
  2. a washing machine (I have lived in places where I need to hand wash my clothes)
  3. electricity (for mobile phones, laptop, rice cooker, slow cooker, hair dryer)
  4. internet at acceptable speed
  5. hot water at the hand-washing basin so that I can have warm water in the cold mornings or at night. The warm water feels comfortable for washing the hands of Little Princess, Little Prince, and mine. Home@S2011 only has hot water for showering.
  6. housekeeping services (rubbish throwing, making our bed, cleaning our bathroom). Yes, it’s included in our rental, but it saves me time and gives me comfort. I only have to wash and hang our clothes, wash our dishes.
  7. morning call services.
  8. a magnifying mirror at the bathroom so I can brush my teeth properly and apply make up well.
  9. a kitchen countertop of a just right height that reached my waist (this is better than our kitchen top at Home@S2011 where I have to bend my body while washing dishes)


What are the desirable attributes of a dream home, in general?

  • safe [12], we don’t want a home that is prone to the wolf’s attack as in the story of The Three Little Pigs.
  • nice environment: fresh air (i.e. greenery), considerate neighbors, not next to a road/street.
  • location: proximity to school/work sites

[1] A 3-bedroom flat is also nice for our parents to stay when they visit, but that’s mean we need to spend more efforts cleaning. Alternatively, we can design our living room as a convertable bedroom, shall a need arises.

[2] The driver generously shared information on how to be an Uber driver. See Asia2016/20160709_uber.png

[3] Little Prince’s maternal grandparents once put her shoes outside the house because they could not tolerate the smelly foot odor. I felt like telling her to try dipping her feet in warm salt water solutions, using lemon-based foot scrub and anti-bacterial soaps, drying/rotating her shoes, wearing socks, applying deodorants for her feet and consuming zinc, yet Honey Panda may prefer me to endure (吃得苦中苦,方为人上人) and count down. Never reveal our negative emotions (anger, unhappiness, disappointment), unless such an action can lead to a positive outcome.

[4] Since 20160720, I have started climbing the staircases, two steps at a time, as a form of exercising in the third trimester. I will do this exercise at least once a day, while simultaneously listen to my motivating voice notes. Hopefully, Little Princess will rotate to optimal position for natural birth.

[5] From 20160720 onward, I appreciate the grab bars that Little Prince can hold on to while washing his feet at the toilets of Little Prince’s paternal grandparents’ home. Sharing the toilet with multiple people, some may not bother to dry it after usage, the safety grab bars are also helpful for #pregnantHappyGreenPanda.

[6] But not too small like nano flats in Hong Kong.

[7] While we endured some unpleasant circumstances while living in our 2nd floor first home owned under our own name (cigarette smokes, noises of people walking by, exhausts of buses in the early mornings), we decided that peace of mind is more important than the views associated with high level.

In desperate moments, people had thrown their babies and little children, at least a four-year-old girl was caught safely. Flooding the bathroom might help keep a flat damp and delay the inferno from reaching the flat.

I remember when I was a primary school goer, my paranoid [8] father taught me to use emergency stairs (made of ropes and wooden planks) that can be thrown out of our bedroom’s windows) and bring my younger siblings to safety, in the event of fire.

[8] My mother lost many things, including her childhood photos, due to a big fire.

[9] On 20170801 at Home@S2011, I observed that cooking with natural gas, which is cheaper than electricity, has emitted unpleasant and unsafe gas smell. For our future home, I plan to cook with electricity only. Meanwhile, we need to turn on the fan while we cook now.

[10] On 20170803, the pollution (unpleasant smell) from the nearby construction really annoyed me who was trying to feed Little Princess at our living room of Home@S2011. On 20170808 at 6 pm (I thought that construction work has stopped, but I was wrong), I brought Little Princess for a walk and a play at the opposite park, where she had her first monkey climbing there. The air and noise pollution from the constructions on both sides prompted me to reduce the time our park visit. Clean environment matters!

[11] Our Home@S2011 is next to a small road but it got busy, especially with buses, during peak hours (6am-9am, 5pm-8pm) and I could smell the pollutants coming to our living room and kitchen, as reminded on 20170807.

On 20180331 and few days before, the toxic fume of asphalt entered our Home@S2011 as there was a road repair going on! It suffocated Honey Panda, our little children and me.  “There is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of extracts of steam-refined bitumens, air-refined bitumens and pooled mixtures of steam- and air-refined bitumens in experimental animals.”

[12] In Summer 2018, while I am thankful for our Home@S2011, there were some safety concerns:

  1. I wish not to live with non-family members. While our housemate tend to stay outside home for most time, I don’t feel safe to make a call to a bank as I would reveal my personal particulars and she might hear it. In early June 2018, I had a nightmare that she brought her man-like girlfriend, and I found Little Princess inside her room; Little Prince was panic. Thankfully, it’s just a nightmare.
  2. On 20180610 at ~ 6 am when one was supposed to get fresh air, at our living room, I suffered from cigarette smell from the down stair neighbor. We also dry our clothes there at the living room as the fan was the strongest in the house. Some smokers who sit at the pavilion or walk near our block have also caused air pollution into our home! At the peak hours in the mornings, the exhausts from the weekdays vehicles (public buses) also enter our house. I pray for safer home with fresh air for our health.


One comment

  1. […] sleep, even though I climbed 20-storey high of staircases on 20160720. Perhaps, my thought went to where I will be staying in late Autumn 2016, in a city where accommodation costs highly, but thankfully public […]


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