This And That: New Home, New Quirks
In my head, I'm Eloise living in the Plaza. In real life, I'm Rebecca living in corporate housing.
While my set-up is far from an authentic Hong Kong living experience, there are peculiar things about my apartment worth pointing out.
1. There is no oven.
This is typical for Hong Kong apartments. Because Chinese cooking is mainly performed on a stovetop, and Hong Kongers eat out regularly, many apartments are equipped with a burner or two, and that's it. So there will be no bread-baking, no pizza-making and certainly no slow-roasting tomatoes to sweet perfection. But there will be stir-frying, steaming and simmering.
2. There is no freezer.
Technically there's a small "freezer area," but it's about as cold as a standard refrigerator in the U.S. You are now probably wondering how we make ice. We don't.
3. Even New York City would consider this "one bedroom" a studio.
Only a partial, sliding glass door separates the "living room" from the "bedroom," meaning that my husband and I are residing in a studio with about 400 square feet of living space. For one whole year. Both of us. Two humans. This is not a joke.
Prior to this move, I declared that we had outgrown our 700-square foot apartment on the Upper West Side, and would have to move to New Jersey. And then we moved to Hong Kong, where apartments are even smaller. BUT! This place knows how to maximize closet space in ways that make New Yorkers look like neanderthals.
4. Someone who isn't me cleans the apartment twice a week.
I will go this entire year without changing my sheets, washing my towels, scrubbing my bathroom or vacuuming the floors. This is incredibly strange, awkward but a reality for some living in Hong Kong.
While my situation stems from the fact that I'm basically living in a hotel for the year, many individuals and families here employ helpers who cook, clean, grocery shop and babysit each and every day. The majority of helpers are women from the Philippines and Indonesia, and they are sponsored on domestic work visas by the families that employ them. In some cases, the relationship between domestic workers and their employers is tense. Earlier this month, domestic workers marched in protest for better pay, more rights and protection, following deaths of helpers who fell from high-rise buildings while cleaning windows.
5. I still have Fox News.
File this under faces you never want to see in the morning.
Because of the time difference, Bill O'Reilly is basically my morning news host, and these fools play in prime time.