Tag Apartment

Moving Home in 2016

People used to move to another country once in a generation if at all. It’s never fun to move. Never easy. And moving overseas is even worse. The tight baggage limits on airplanes make me dream for the days of steamer trunks and make me hate things that are essential but take up too much space. Like winter coats.

But I’ll do what it takes to sort and give and trash and squeeze what’s left into as small a space as possible.

It’s kind of stupid to take anything with me at all. I’ll be moving back to Montana where I already have an attic full of stuff waiting for me since I moved out of my place 5 or so years ago. An apartment’s worth of stuff waiting up there for me, baking in the summers and freezing in the winters. Soon enough I’ll be sorting through it all again seeing how I probably didn’t need to sweat about fitting three sweaters into my luggage when there are four waiting for me at home.


What’s up in the attic?

  • Books, three shelves worth
  • Some dresser from Common Market
  • I think a table, Sara and Chris gave me
  • A couch? Don’t know
  • Kitchen stuff? I think my juicer is at my parent’s house
  • My old desk I got from a crazy person when I turned 13? I think so, but maybe not.
  • Raccoon skin. For sure.

Ilgaz and I were talking about what kind of things I have in that attic and what we might need when she joins me in Montana in December.

I think I’ll need a couch for instance. But I don’t want to have to think about buying a couch. First of all I don’t really need a couch. Maslow never mentions sofas in his hierarchy of needs. (Food, shelter, belonging, pull out couch bed, self actualization.) Plus most couches look terrible. In catalog photos most are flabby leather monsters surrounded by fake plants or huge ‘L’ shaped sectionals that look too heavy to move.

Of course I know I’m getting ahead of myself by thinking about a couch. But here I am, thinking about a couch anyway.


“What about Ikea?” Ilgaz innocently asks.

I had to look it up, but the nearest Ikea to Helena is 460 miles away. (That’s 740 kilometers for the metric among us.) I learned in High School reading Fight Club that I’m supposed to hate Ikea because it makes me the same as everyone else. But there is a utility to Ikea stuff that I appreciate. Good dish racks for instance. Good mixing bowls. Good bedside lamps. Good duvets. It’s not that bad but it’s probably out of the question for furnishing a Montana apartment.

I looked up the 2017 Ikea catalog anyway. Just out of curiosity, and found this article Ikea’s 2017 Catalog Is A Terrifying Glimpse Into The Tiny Apartments Of The Future

It’s a commentary on the new catalog, and the ideal apartments Ikea is presenting. Unlike the faux-sophisticated Scandinavian sameness Fight Club criticized, the new ideal is micro living. Not far from the fold away functionality of the YouTube famous tiny houses, or RV/van life, a gerbil cage or a prison cell.

Moving back to my apartment in Montana represents some security for me. Over time I want to build it up into some place comfortable. And that might mean getting a couch. But seeing tiny Ikea apartments idealized then criticized makes me think the most luxurious thing about my apartment might be the open space. Maybe I don’t need a couch after all.

The Apartment

The post introducing my little apartment lacked a photo of the exterior. Well, here it is in all of it’s glory. I live three floors up, behind the third door. Previously I had the floor all to myself, but as of a few days ago a neighbor moved in to the apartment to the right of mine. Except for some wall-quaking electric grinding/drilling sounds a few mornings ago, she’s been great.

Also for those of you who have asked for more photos, have you been checking my Picasa Web Albums? A lot of the photos I’ve taken are there along with many that didn’t fit into a post. So check ’em out.


Tomorrow PJ and I are doing the unthinkable, the unrecommended, the expressly forbidden. We are determined to visit… (Deep breath) Forbidden* Island**.

In preparation we have consulted a dizzy shaman who divined the island’s location and drew a map for us. According to the few decipherable scribbles, the journey will take us down a “dirt road” around a “mountain” to the treacherous stretch known only as “Forbidden Island Road.” From there, no man has returned [without having seen Forbidden* Island**].

When we return, nay, IF we return, I will make a post about it. An epic, forbidden* post.

* Island may not actually be forbidden.
** Also the island may not be an island.

My Tiny Studio

Here are a few shots of my little palace in downtown Garapan. As far as I’m concerned this white washed, 10′ x 18′, concrete, kitchen-less studio is the Taj Mahal. It’s comfortable, close to everything, it even has a balcony and a bath tub. It’s handy to shops the internet and best of all I have access to turquoise water and a postcard beach just two blocks west. I’ll brag just a little bit more: rent is less than $10 a night.

Finding the place was fun too. The day after Pete, Mary Ann, and Alyx left, Peter dropped me off downtown and I began the hunt. Starting at Micro Beach Hotel and Food Court (fourth floor unfurnished kitchen-less studio, $250) I criss-crossed the small central area dialing every “For Rent” number and calling up to balconies, “Any vacancies here? Where’s the office?” There are a lot of vacant apartments in downtown Garapan. One I looked at and liked (unfurnished, one bedroom, with kitchen, $300) had been tenant-less from the day it was finished years ago. (Finished as in work stopped on it, it was without A/C, fixtures, appliances. There wasn’t even a power meter installed yet.)

I happily settled for my apartment when I saw it. There were “For Rent” signs all over, but no one answered the phone. A woman in an adjoining shop shook her head saying “for Japanese only,” when I asked about it. Fortunately I loitered long enough to meet Edgar the caretaker who told me these apartments are no good and too expensive. I disagreed with him and meet with the manager later that night, negotiated rent down $40, signed a month to month lease and moved in.

This place suits me fine. The bed’s a little hard, tiny ants march to an from left out food and there’s no wi-fi to steal but the positives far outweigh the negatives here in this numberless apartment in it’s nameless building.