|The four-storey mansion where I live.|
My next-door neighbour is O-san, a young Chinese girl from Anhui. I first met O-san in early April after I had just moved in. From her, I gathered where I could buy furniture and other household items at good prices, and where the nearest 100 Yen shop is. When O-san came over to look at my place that day, I was very glad to have her look around the spartanly furnished apartment, and to hear her suggestions on how to optimise space use in the 15-square-metre apartment. The following day, she knocked on my door with an almond pudding in hand as a welcome gift.
|Neighbours know best. Top: A recycle shop recommended by neighbours, |
which sells second-hand furniture and household items.
Bottom: Kohnan, a department store recommended by neighbours as well.
It sells new furniture and household items at good prices.
Besides O-san, I also got to know the rest of the non-local neighbours by knocking on their doors and introducing myself. Staying across from me are D-san and H-san. Through these gentlemen, I learnt that there was actually free wireless internet I could tap on if I stood near the entrance of my mansion! They also taught me how to tap on a LAN internet connection by the use of a flat LAN cable. In fact, they offered to let me tap on their internet but unfortunately, it was not feasible to run a cable between our apartments. So they advised that I brought this idea to O-san. O-san graciously agreed to let me run a cable through her window to tap on her internet. So instead of paying about 4000 Yen (SGD 64) of subscription per month if I had applied to the service provider, I am paying half the amount sharing the cost with O-san.
|Hikkoshi soba prepared by J-san. I contributed the Xiao Long Bao and the tofu.|
I was glad to experience the "kampong spirit" with the few neighbours whom I got to know in this foreign land. I had the good fortune of receiving some mooncakes in the mail from two really amazing friends from home. I shared these with O-san and J-san, who were thrilled to see the mooncakes. O-san said she had not tasted a mooncake in ages.
The loneliness would have been unbearable if not for the warmth I experienced from my neighbours' kindness. From O-san's easy-going nature, to D-san and H-san's willingness to dispense advice. And now, J-san's interesting culinary adventures.
O-san, D-san and H-san would be returning to their countries soon as their 2-year Masters Programme had ended. Once the summer heat had become more bearable, I shall attempt to whip up some