I’ve been in Perth for a little over a week now. I’m now staying out of hostel (I used to stay in Currie Hall), renting a place not far away with two of my best friends here (one of whom I am in a romantic relationship with (it’s Wei Hao of course! Would I go into a relationship with Li Shya??))
Staying out has been a real different experience. I guess you could say that studying prepares you (however minimally) for the working world, while staying out, I believe, prepares you for the real-world home environment (you don’t get much chance to move out in Singapore, with its high property prices and tolerance (maybe even pursuit) of the nuclear family living under one roof).
It has been fun thus far. But alas, it has only been a week since I’ve been back. Much as I have been enjoying the independence (or to a greater extent interdependence) moving out has given me, I have had my fair share of warnings.
I was warned (not for the first time) last night that living with a girlfriend may not be the best idea (“many couples I know had big quarrels when staying together. It’s got to do with seeing the same face day in, day out.”)
These warnings are not meant to dampen my fun and enjoyment of the home, but rather, as a way of lowering my expectations and toughening me up lest I am caught unprepared for a big fight.
But I think that the terrible way living with someone else went last year (with Martin, whom might be a nice friend and a great acquaintance, but far from my ideal roommate) have allowed me a glimpse into the world that could (go wrong).
I gained much from that experience. And here’s a list of lessons I learnt:
- Things can go wrong. It’s almost impossible to prepare yourself for the difficulties unless you’ve had experience staying with someone else (and difficulties arose, and you managed to solve them).
- Autonomy is very often needed. You can’t always know when the other would rather be alone, with his or her own friends, doing his or her own things. It’s better to err on the side of caution and give that person more space than you think he or she needs.
- There will always be bad days. Everyone goes through a bad patch once in a while. Sometimes all it takes is a stubbed toe to ignite a huge fight. What you need to do is to understand this fact, knowing that everyone can’t be cheery all the time, and let the bad feelings go as soon as possible. Forgive; don’t forget.
- Tolerance is key. But everyone has their limit. When someone does something you don’t like, and it irks the hell out of you, tolerate it, first. When you’ve calmed down and feeling more objective, approach that person and tell him or her why you were feeling like you were. Any decent person would attempt to change his or her behaviour.
There are probably more things I have learnt, but I can’t quite recall them all now. I will extend this list when I do.
I shall be going back to reading now. Books teach good.