Saturday, May 10, 2014

How to move a lot without going nuts

I am not a big fan of moving. You would think that I would be used to it by now, seeing that in the last five years, I've moved six times. Or maybe I didn't mind at first and now it is just getting old. Originally it was kind of exciting, going to a new place! -- but now it is just a hassle. It makes me feel sort of unsettled. I don't know where the market is, or the cool hangout spots, my bike is probably left somewhere else, I don't have furniture again, etc.

But now, after move number six, I'm sort of getting the hang out it. These are some of the things that I have found really important.

>>Don't get caught in the short-term thinking<<
Sometime you move somewhere for just a short time, maybe like 3-5 months. You think to yourself, well I shouldn't buy a lot of stuff for my place, because I won't get the money's worth in such a short time. While setting up your sad apartment with no furniture, you start skimping on the things that you really shouldn't skimp on. Like a mop. Or a garbage can. A laundry basket, or enough hangers. These are things that you really do need!
As time goes by, your place gets messier and messier, you become more and more miserable, and start really longing for this items that you really should have purchased in the first place. Yet you are caught in this trap in which, now, your stay is already shorter than it was before, and you are really not going to get the money's worth now, so you are definitely not going to buy it! Even though you are totally miserable!
This sort of thinking is totally unnecessary. A messy place brings you down, and can make you less productive. Don't pinch pennies unless you are totally broke: buy the stuff you need in the first place and save yourself the misery of a cluttered messy home.

>>Get your workout/activity situation in order<<
I am so happy that I did this for myself in Kunming. A lot of times when you are packing your bags, you only consider things like clothing and toiletries. If you are moving somewhere for a substantial length of time, you should also consider bringing some active gear, like a yoga mat, running shoes, or any gear you want. Being able to get active is really beneficial for your sleep and for relieving stress, which, couldn't we all use that. If you really can't fit it, just fork out some cash and buy your gear again. A lot of this stuff you can buy for minimal dollars online, especially on Taobao. I got my yoga mat for 10RMB plus shipping. Purchasing a gym membership can also be wonderful. College campuses usually have great deals for students, and private gyms usually let you try it out for free, so you can see which one you like best.
I really went crazy on this one personally, and got a gym membership, a yoga mat, and a bike. I spent a fair amount of money, but I think it has really been fun, and worth it in terms of my mental wellbeing.

>>Figure out where natural recreation areas are<<
Being in a city environment can be really stressful, and being in nature is something that can counter that worn-out, pavement-y type feeling. See if there is an area near you like a park, or a lake, that is easily accessible, where you can just go and hang out and look the trees or water. After starting at a computer screen all week long, it can really bring your spirits up.
On some dark days in Nanjing, Xuanwu Lake 玄武湖 really cheered me up. I liked to go jogging there. The lily pads and quaint bridges and pagodas are lovely. Kunming's Green Lake 翠湖 is also great to walk around, eat some pineapple on a stick and look at the swaying willow branches.

>>Don't live alone<<
Living alone sucks because its lonely. Also your place will be messy because no one else is there for you to be considerate of. That is all.

>>Get a smart phone<<
I was probably one of the last people on the planet to realize that smart phone are actually a good thing, but they really are. If you have a dinky old phone with buttons on it, I would really advise you to get any smart phone. I would say also you should get one that you like and think works well, to make sure that you actually use it and don't "forget it" at home.
There are some really cool apps for holding group chats and things (in China we like WeChat and QQ). Especially in Flagship, being part of the group chats really keep you in the loop--news, what up to, activities, questions that might help you, all really good stuff. I felt like if I wasn't connected via my phone, I would have probably missed out on a lot of group activities. It makes meeting people and making friendships so much easier. And it also makes it really easy to keep in touch with the people you moved away from as well.
I used to think that getting a smartphone would turn me into a zombie that plays mobile games as they are walking around in real life, but lo and behold, it did not! Turns out its just a useful piece of machinery that can help you out with tasks that might be overly laborious without one. If you are worried like I was, calm down and embrace the technology. It's a good thing.

>>Remember the things that you used to like to do<<
This is my final and most important tip. When you move, you are bombarded with so much minutiae about bills and money, and you feel disoriented, like, "where the hell am I, even?" Once all of those things begin to subside, you can start to get back to normal life. With all of the excitement died down, you might even start to feel bored. It's really weird, but when I moved to Kunming, I was so spun around, I forgot what sort of things I liked to do for fun, and I did started to feel bored. But boredom is clearly not to proper reaction: what I needed do to is go get out there and have fun and do the things that inspire me! I literally sat down and made a list of things that I used to like to do, but haven't done in a while. Things like hiking, going to museums, seeing movies, listening to music and concerts, having dinner with friends, and writing my blog. This has brought my life a needed shot of excitement, and I feel much happier and more energetic. So if boredom sets in for you, if you feel hazy, or that your life is lacking excitement, definitely nip that in the bud, get creative, and go have some fun.

Moving is tough, takes a lot of effort, and is kind of an emotional roller coaster. That pretty much covers it for my best tips on moving, and I hope that they are useful to you! Peace and love from Kunming,

-Rachel