Friday, July 12, 2019

Dear Apartment, We'll Miss You

This was the photo of us that we used on our initial offer letter to the seller of our new house.  Wes dug it up from one of our Fourth of July family barbecues that we hosted, a Wong/Chiu family tradition that we started right here in our apartment.  We thought that this picture, if not a little silly, captured us for who we were, and showed the seller that we would use and love the house well.  I think it worked!

Now with the big move (and major "adulting") on the horizon, it is with a bittersweet sentiment that I write this ode to our first home.  With every change comes mixed emotions.  Moving out is sad, but we are so thankful to this apartment for everything that it had been for us, and looking forward to what's next.


It was February 14, 2013 when we signed our lease together.  We recall that we could hardly wait to move in.  It was so exciting to pack our things from our separate lives to become one unit.  Eating Zankou Chicken takeout on the empty floor right after we signed the lease was one of the most memorable Valentine's Days.  Everything felt fresh, new, and incredibly exciting.  As time went on, the freshness wore off, but we continued to do things that made the place feel homier and homier.  It's hard to think about leaving, with all of the good times that we've had here.  But, taking a moment to reminisce about them will definitely help us move forward into the next chapter of our lives.

The space was small, but it served as a boundless gathering place for so many memorable events.  We were always somehow able to squeeze in our extended families and large groups of friends into the living room for holiday feasts that we sometimes spent days preparing for.  Just when I thought that there would not be any more space, the apartment proved me wrong.  There was always room for one more.  This apartment has literally seen everyone who has ever mattered to us in our lives.  Our friends have been here for birthdays, last-minute game-watching parties, random dinners cooked by Wes, and heartfelt sobfests.   Our parents have also slept over on our air mattress in the living room on New Years' Eve to watch the Rose Parade the next morning.  It was amazingly easy for anyone, no matter what age, and no matter what occasion, to be comfortable here.

Before we moved in, we were self-declared food enthusiasts, but our level of exploration with cooking was pretty shallow.  Here, we cooked hundreds, if not a thousand meals together in the little kitchen that somehow never felt too small for our big ideas.  We started off with a Kitchenaid and some pots and pans, but Wes added things little by little: first a grill, then a smoker, a countertop oven, a juicer, a blender, cast iron pans, a blow torch, an Instant Pot, sous vide machines, an industrial vacuum sealer, a coffee grinder, and more thingamabobs.  We loved the built-in revolving spice rack, and we added wooden shelving to accommodate for all of the new gadgets.  Looking back on the photos, I can see how our love of cooking (and photo resolution) has evolved, and this apartment was no better test kitchen for different techniques and ingredients.  The one thing that we could not master




In addition to Thanksgiving and Fourth of July, we also had large groups of family members over for other fun holidays.  This year, we were able to cook nine traditional dishes for the Lunar New Year this year, and we made many test batches of mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Our other hobbies and interests aside from cooking also expanded a great deal during our time here.  We crafted wedding decorations on the living room floor, we turned the second bedroom into a backpacking gear room, and we waxed our snowboards out on the patio.  Also, woodworking, editing sports photos, playing the piano, doing yoga headstands, and binge-watching Game of Thrones were a few other things that neither of us saw coming.  The apartment somehow adapted and provided for our needs and interests in every way - we never truly felt limited by the space to go after what we wanted to try.  There was always room for another idea, another activity, and another change.  We traveled a lot more too, but we always took back bits and pieces from our trips to hang up or place around, and attempted to recreate the meals that we enjoyed eating while abroad.  Our home was always a welcoming place to return to after being gone.

Just wanted to take this last section to glorify our day-to-day silly moments, some of which were somehow caught on camera.  Although fleeting and frivolous, these times were what made daily life so fun.  Wes had always found an infinite number of hiding spots to tease me--I would come home from being out and it'll be dead quiet, but I know that he's in there somewhere.  And I always found ways to secretly record Wes during embarrassing moments - I won't post them because he would probably kill me, but it's always priceless when he realizes that he was being recorded.  We were really weird sometimes.  We had a ton of fun here, and we will look back on all of those hilarious memories and roll our eyes.  When we think of our time here, we feel lighthearted--just two kids with no obligations or responsibilities.  And like normal couples, we had our fair share of conflicts here, too.  This place has seen it all and it has provided a safe place for us to let it all out.

Our first home has brought us together and held us together.  We were merely paying rent here, but we felt like this place was ours.  The past five years went by in the blink of an eye, and the next few days will drag on as we box things up and throw things away.  It's sad, but they say that home is where the heart is.  As our apartment turns into a husk of a unit, I'll know that our memories are held here in our hearts, and not within these walls.  Responsibilities will increase and moving in will be a longer process this time, but we'll discover new things and have more adventures--different kinds.  We are lucky to be moving into a very charming, renovated home in Altadena, that we can see ourselves growing into and continuing to make memories just the same as here.  It feels sudden, but at least it feels right.  We will truly miss this ole apartment where we started our life together, but we still have the rest of it left to live.  We can't wait to see what's in store at the new place, and we'll take all of the lessons we have learned here over to there.  And we plan to stay there for a very long time, if not for the rest of our lives!

1 comment:

  1. Aww, hugs!! It's definitely bittersweet to leave your first place (where you both went from relationship to fiance to newlyweds!) but the next step will build its own set of memories too. Your first house together! It's exciting.

    Looking forward to all of the new posts, photos and recipes to come in the new place! <3