Reasons Why I Love Living in a Share House

During my fresher year at my university, I stayed in a flat. We had a common room in which we used to hang out whenever there was any event. We also had a shared laundry room. I managed to get to know a lot of people in my first week. It was all nice chatting with people from different countries but this blissful experience did not last until the second week of my stay. The common room had become so dirty that I had to lift my foot for each step I walked in the room. The laundry room was so full that I had to dry my clothes in my room. Worse, bottles of milk in the refrigerators leaked, releasing unbearable odour each time I opened the refrigerator door(s). For the rest of my stay, my fresh groceries spent most of their time with rotten food. When I moved out in September 2017, I could even find food which had already expired in November 2016.

First month living in my hall, I had already decided that I had to move out in the upcoming semester. I simply couldn’t stand this anymore. All those nights of my indirect marijuana intake due to flatmates smoking them in the corridor have to come to an end. At that time, little did I know that my future housemates were the most awesome people I could have ever meet in my whole life. Below are a few reasons why I prefer living in a share house:

  • Develop your sense of responsibility

When I first moved into a share house from a flat, there was no longer someone to take care of the cleanliness of my kitchen and bathrooms. No one will replace all those used toilet paper rolls for us. We had to make an inventory list for our share house. It might sound a little bit intimidating at first, but in the long run, you are going to become more self-reliant and responsible. Personally, I feel that living in a share house is the first step towards adulthood.

  • Build a family-like friendship with your housemates

Living far away from my country, it feels good to have a group of people celebrating festivals such as Chinese New Year, Christmas and Mid-Autumn Festival together with me in a foreign country. My share house also has a really cool dining area in which we always invite our guests over to have dinner together. It also helps me to broaden my network of people, helping me to get to know all those people who I would have never met throughout my university life. Occasionally, we’ll organize a trip to visit other places in the United Kingdom.

  • You’ll be more motivated to try on different things

Throughout my stay in my share house in the UK, I was more willing to try out different kinds of dishes to impress my housemates. They also gave me the motivation to do things which I would not have done otherwise, such as going as far as Tokyo to have my internship. They were always there to give me support whenever I felt lost. Having them around me gives me the energy to take on more difficult challenges.

  • I loved the diversity

Since we were all studying different courses at our university, our skill was one of the things that I enjoyed the most. We had an architect, an electrical engineer, two chemical engineers and a pharmacist. For a curious person like me,  there was always someone who could answer my questions, though my pharmacist-to-be always returned my question with 10 more questions. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed talking to every single one of them and if you’re reading this, I want to thank you for being with me in 2017-2018.

  • Greater exposure to different cultures

Let me be honest with you, sometimes it can be quite difficult for you to blend yourself into a group of people with a similar cultural background. Guess what, staying together in a share house could very possibly solve this problem for you! Ideally, you wouldn’t want to stay with a large group of people who have already known each other for a long time because you might be left out in conversations and group activities. A group of 5-6 is ideal because it offers diversity and also leaves everyone plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with each other.

BUT there is still something that I want to tell you. My experience could be highly unique and you might or might not experience the same thing when you move into a share house. Despite that, you should open yourself to other people. I wouldn’t say I’m an introvert by birth, but I am definitely not the kind of people who talk much. But, I’m willing to take the first step to approach other people when deemed necessary. I wouldn’t have known my best mate at the university if I didn’t initiate a conversation with him when he was alone. It still saddens me whenever I think of my graduation next year because we’ll be separated. Nonetheless, I wish you all the best if you’re moving into a share house! It’s going to be exciting despite occasional tiffs 😉

 

 

 

First Solo Adventure to Tokyo

14/06/2018 marks the first day I’m travelling alone to Japan for my summer internship. I had a long list of the essentials ready a few days ago so after making sure that everything was ready, I set off. After checking in my luggage and going through the security check, I sat down and started reading a book that I had recently bought. About an hour before my gate opened, I went to Gate 43 to meet my best friend, Jason, as he was also travelling back to China on the same day. We had a short chat and I reached for my bag once again to make sure that I have my Japanese Yen with me. “I might have left something.” “Is that something important?” “Very important.” I started calling my housemates to check my room for the money and luckily, one of them picked up. To my surprise, I actually left my money at home (what a blunder, Abel). “Can you bring the money to the airport for me?” “You have to pay for my Uber I tell you (thicc Malaysian accent).” Heartbroken, I agreed. To make the matter even worse, I was not allowed to go out of the boarding area. Apparently, if you want to exit the boarding area at Manchester International Airport, you have to be escorted outside by the staff in charge of your flight and get a new boarding pass. I knew I could survive without the money, but I definitely won’t be able to survive if I missed my flight (my parents will definitely kill me). While I had my credit cards with me, my mum had deactivated my Malaysia phone number months ago so I won’t be able to use them without the code sent to my phone (yet another blunder). Left with no choice, I chose to board the plane. While I was on the plane, I figured out I still had some money left in the saving account that I had set up to pay for my rent. What a relief.

While landing in Tokyo Haneda International Airport, I experienced yet another traumatic event. As I was looking out of the window the whole time, I could tell that right after my plane had touched the ground, the side of the track got closer and closer to me. My plane was skidding. Although the whole event didn’t last for more than 5 seconds, I could see my life flashing before my eyes. That’s how scary it was. I suspect that the wheels at the front weren’t properly aligned when they were being retracted so this might have caused the brief skidding moment right after touching the ground. Pretty sure I was going to be on the headlines if the pilots handling my flight weren’t proficient enough.

Hit by a big loss (mostly due to the exchange rates), I’ve also learnt important lessons, and these lessons may come in handy in the future. First, if you are travelling to Tokyo, don’t turn all the money that you’re going to spend into Japanese Yen. Having some Yen is okay but since there are many ATMs that accept foreign Visa or MasterCard debit card, you can always withdraw cash by using your debit card. Local banks often compete with each other for lower exchange rate so you can rest assured that you won’t be ripped off if you withdraw money using a foreign debit card. In fact, I’ve received around 3.5% more Yen by withdrawing money through local ATMs (I was using a Natwest debit card with British Pound in my account, the rate may differ depending on your bank company or currency) than buying them from a store in the UK that offered me the best exchange rate. Just keep in mind that your bank may charge you on transaction fee but it’s normally only around £2-5 per withdrawal. Also, only ATMs with Visa or Mastercard logo can be used. They are available in the crowded area such as the airports and also the convenience stores. Only when you’re travelling to the rural area then you’re better off with more Yen since this type of ATM is more uncommon there.

I was never the kind of person who is very well-organized and yet I have never really faced any problem with it. This time when I tried to be organized and made a list of things that I have to prepare before coming over to Japan, I made a blunder. I guess it’s safe to say that sometimes we just have to be ourselves. Blindly following what the other people do can sometimes be catastrophic. In fact, I was so confident that my Yen was in my bag that I did not even bother checking for it until the very last minute.

This sums up my journey and things I’ve learnt during my first day in Japan. In my next blog post, I’ll talk about ways to travel around Tokyo and also my experience staying there. Till then, take care.