Whenever I travel and I get a wee bit homesick for my family, I call them. When I miss my coccoon of personal space, I look at photos of my favorite corners of my apartment and instantly feel soothed.
A corner of my living room dedicated to me and my punching bag. I hug it first when I come in after a long day, and it’s where I practice my punches and kicks when I need to work off some steam. I wish it has arms so that I can get hugged back sometimes.
It’s been a long time coming, but I really am happy with how things turn out. I finally dont feel too empty, lethargic and ill after coming home from my business trips. I’ve also started feeling the extra value of my weekends and I look forward to coming home after work.
Before this, my bed was out in the living room, along with my working desk, armchair and bedside tables. It felt more stark than any no-star no-moon hotel room. Maybe that was how I cushioned myself to make work traveling more tolerable. Sure, the 5- and 4-star hotels are lovely. Being the program manager, I always am given the higher end rooms, the club floors, the executive harborview rooms etc. In fact, the Kowloon Shangri-La one that I was in during the Hong Kong workshop in 2004 was half the size of my apartment. The bathroom alone was bigger than my bedroom! I didnt dare talk to anyone about how disconcerted I felt. To my ears even, I sounded ungrateful. I didnt dare to have my friends tell me that they’d give anything to have a job like mine. I sound like I’m whining if I tell them how lonely it gets. How I need to be on top of things all the time and it’s not ethical for me to just take off during the day and plan a trip to Lantau Island to see the big Buddha statue. How wandering alone by myself was just not doing it for me. And how calling up friends or colleagues in a foreign city just doesnt work for me anymore because I feel uneasy having them feel that they need to plan some weekend agenda for me since I was in the country.
The last 2 weeks of 2006 was spent on vacation from work. I rearranged my furniture, got rid of a ot of clutter, put a rug in the living room with throw cushions, added a table lamp or two, and claimed my own personal space again. I dont need that much stuff, it turned out. No added furniture. No clutter. What I have is enough.
Yeah – things are not too bad at all 🙂