Getting into the rhythm in my new home

“I forget to bring back the fruits. Will be back tomorrow to take them,” I text my mum.

Still, even if I remember, I might not have been able to stuff them into my already full backpack. A new bolster hangs on my left shoulder and I hug my ergonomics keyboard extension.

Back at my parents’ home, I make sure I tick off the items in my bag, items that I have intended to bring home. Inside my bag, there are one empty sake bottle, a glass food container, a peeler, a teaspoon, some white rice, a knob of ginger, filter, laptop, kobo forma, plaster, some ointment and a book titled Cracking The Coding Interview.

All these are eating into my shoulders like how it has been like when I first cycle to work with my bag on my back for 50 minutes.

To add onto that, it rains for the whole morning when I’m trying to get home. Close to 10am, after my iced Americano and my spring onion pancake breakfast, I start to head out. Initially I try to use the keyboard extension as a shelter for the rain, but it is slightly too heavy and with too small a surface area to effectively shield me from the rain.

I just have to push on till the bus stop. Just 15 minutes walk in the rain with a heavy backpack. This weight is perhaps nothing to me, I lift heavier stuff in the gym. But I don’t lift them for an extended period in my gym.

I finally reach home. 11am. One of my house mates is cooking. Her items are spread out across both the kitchen counters as usual. There are bags of vegetables and her cooking utensils.

Not a big deal, as long as people who use the kitchen clean up after themselves. Indeed, I have other stuff to do. I quickly unpack my pile and lay it out on the floor of my room, not unlike what the lady has done in the kitchen.

That’s when I come to a realisation that I have forgotten the fruits that I ask my mum to get for me as I am sick from eating the same fruit for a whole week. If she purchases it, at least the selection of fruits that I will be having throughout the week is rotated.

Mentally, I check off the thing that I have to do in the kitchen since it is now occupied.

  • Transfer the sake to smaller bottles so that other people can use that section of the fridge
  • Heat up my lunch in my pressure cooker and make sure the pressure cooker is working
  • Place all the kitchen items into their respective places

It will take me about 15-20 minutes to heat up my food in my pressure cooker. It needs to heat up first for about 10 to 15 minutes. Cooking in the rice setting takes about 9 minutes. I’m planning to take something that is more of a mui-fan, rice with some liquid sauce. I can’t put dry rice into my pressure cooker anyway.

Still some time, I plan out my day with a list of to do and books to finish. I’m left with 45 minutes on Shoe Dog (audio book) and about 2 hours for the book on futures. Audio book can be easily listen to when I moving around places, I stick to reading on my Kobo Forma.

Options trading, and it moves to 50 Tips On Risk Management. Then in the appendix, it is a brief introduction to statistics. Ok, that’s when I need a break.

It’s about 1pm. I’m hungry. I look into the kitchen. No one is there and the lights are off. I guess the lady is done, it has been almost 2 hours.

Well, I did peek out from time to time, in hope that she will be done. But she is taking quite a while. Her cuisine probably need some real dedication to cook well. As my room is just opposite to the kitchen, I could hear the sound of her blender and door opening and closing.

I take out my 1.8 litre bottle of sake and start to transfer it out to the empty sake bottle.

Shoot, there are still bits left. No choice, I have to use my flask even though I don’t really want to.

I am pouring my sake into my flask when the lady comes out of her room. She starts to shift her equipment beside me on the counter top. I guess she is not that done. I quickly finish up what I have been transferring, satisfy that I have cleared out a space for another house mate, grab a snack that my friend has given me on her visit and go back to my room.

Perhaps just another 15 minutes.

My room is small but I could still pace my room. I sit on my box, then sit on my chair. I look at the kitchen items still on the floor. Oh gosh, this hunger. Then I hear the sound of her anklet and the door closing.

I open my door slightly. Once again, the kitchen lights are off. Now, I could finally cook my meal. I pour half of the portion of my brown rice into the pressure cooker, add my frozen peas that freezes beautifully in the new working fridge and add water.

Now I wait.

I stand over the pressure cooker to notice how the steam is escaping the floating valve while it is heating out. The floating valve slowly rises up and it spews up the two tiny bubbles. And the machine beep loudly to indicate that it has heated up sufficiently and is now transiting to cooking mode. It is going to cook for 9 minutes.

My long beans and red bell pepper are screaming to be eaten quickly. The bell pepper threatens to ooze more liquid and the long beans, deflating further, pumping out more of it’s plump moisture. While waiting for my lunch, I cut off the inedible parts and cut the vegetables so that I could use them for dinner and lunch tomorrow. I have to finish them by tomorrow.

1 minute left on my pressure cooker. And unlike the day before, no steam could be seem escaping the pressure cooker.

Moment of truth will come when I try to depressurise it. My pressure cooker makes a few loud beeps before indicating that it is keeping my food warm. And it’s time. I cancelled the function of keeping warm. I try to open the lid, it’s not bulging. It seems like it is working. I press the button to depressurise it. Steam starts to sizzle out. It’s working.

I have my lunch at the kitchen countertop as usual. And one of my house mates arrives. We talk bout the future, work, pay, fairness of work, negotiation, independence, mid-career change, relationship and boys (yes, the prevalence of man-child). Just got to say, we are still hopeful for our future despite the unknown.

The later part of the day, I did a quick trip to the supermarket and buy the bubble tea that I have been thinking about.

It has been drizzling for the whole day.

On the way back, I encounter a grab food dispatcher walking towards his motorbike on a video call. His right bicep curl, with hand in a fist, in front of the lower part of his face. He pulls his right fist down during the call, the kind of gesture that you make when you are encouraging someone to work hard.

Yes, it’s the starting of a year. The weather could have dampen the mood a little. Regardless, let’s all start our year right and work to achieve our goals, whatever they are.

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